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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Extract,’ ‘An Education,’ ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,’ ‘All About Steve,’ ‘Disgrace,’ ‘Gamer’

UPDATED: It’s turning out to be a much busier screening week than I expected. I’ve added two movies: The Boys Are Back (opens in the U.S. on September 25, and in the U.K. on January 15, 2010), starring Clive Owen as an Australian single dad, and Broken Embraces (opened in the U.K. on August 28; opens in the U.S. on November 20), Pedro Almodovar’s latest, starring Penelope Cruz as, I’m assuming, a woman on the edge.

I gotta say, I’m not gettin’ that Mike Judge buzz off of anything I’ve seen connected to Extract (opens in the U.S. on September 4; no U.K. date has been announced yet). I see a poster that informs me that this is “a comedy that hits you where it hurts” under a phallic image of a bottle and two walnuts, one of which is broken, which I can only take to mean that this is a movie that believes it has nothing to say to people who don’t have testicles. I see TV ads in which sexually frustrated Jason Bateman complains about his wife, who refuses to have sex with him if he arrives home after 8pm (why would a guy stay married to someone who didn’t want to have sex with him?), but hey, there’s a new tramp at work who’ll surely be delighted to help him with his frustration. Maybe that’s not how the story works out, but it’s how Miramax wants us to think the story works out. And that annoys the shit out of me. Because it means Miramax thinks that Mike Judge appeals only to sexually frustrated men. It means Miramax thinks we’re already living in the Idiocracy Mike Judge warned us about. And maybe we are.

I don’t know much about An Education (opens in the U.S. on October 9, and in the U.K. on October 30), except that star Carey Mulligan is getting a lot of Oscar buzz for what is her first prominent role in a feature film. Which doesn’t surprise me at all, because she had a magic about her that made Sally Sparrow — one of the best Doctor Who shoulda-been-companions — an absolute joy to watch in “Blink.” Also, the film is from Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig, who is totally awesome: she wrote and directed the waaay underrated Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself a few years ago.

I just don’t see how a movie about food falling from the sky can go wrong. I hope Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (opens in the U.S. and the U.K. on September 18) bears me out on this.

I just don’t see how a movie about Sandra Bullock being cutesy and falling in love — again — can go right. I hope All About Steve (opens in the U.S. on September 4, and in the U.K. on January 15, 2010) proves me wrong. At least her costar, Bradley Cooper, is easy on the eyes.

John Malkovich is a college prof who has an affair with a student in Disgrace (opens in the U.S. on September 18; no U.K. release date has been announced). *yawn* Let’s have a movie about a guy who’s able to keep it in his pants: now that would be dramatic and unexpected. The movie is based on a Nobel Prize-winning novel, cuz, you know, anything men do, even if it’s the most ordinary, least surprising thing in the world — like bed younger women — is the stuff of myth and grandeur.

Gamer (opens in the U.S. and the U.K. on September 4) — the Gerard Butler-as-a-bloodsporting-convict flick — won’t screen for critics, but Lionsgate is nice enough to hold a courtesy screening on Friday afternoon, so at least I won’t have to pay for it. It should be a hoot, actually, because 4pm on the Friday of Labor Day weekend in New York City is sure to be like something out of a postapocalyptic movie, all deserted streets and one lone dog barking in the distance. Why, I might actually have the screening room all to myself…

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  • Accounting Ninja

    Office Space is one of my favorite movies. When I saw the preview for this one, I was like, “aw…this doesn’t seem to capture any of the same spirit.” No quirkiness, no insider-ribbing of the workplace (it was amazing how accurate Judge got the soul-numbing of an office job right), no Jennifer Aniston (instead we get an Apatovian “Because…Um” girl)…Maybe Extract does have more than that and the previews are just really shitty. I dunno.

    Pretty sure Office Space didn’t need any Football To The Groin to be funny, though.

  • MaryAnn

    I’m hoping the trailer — which Judge wouldn’t have had anything to do with — wildly misrepresents the film, and that it is, in fact, not too removed from the likes of *Office Space* and *Idiocracy.*

  • Ally

    I think Sandra Bullock’s new movie looks just awful. Saw the previews and girl is getting too old to keep doing that ridiculous laugh.

    On the other hand, I can’t wait for Gamer. Looks really crazy.

  • Here’s one of the original trailers for Office Space, if you wanna compare… though I’m finding it difficult to judge the trailer as a separate thing, since I’ve seen the movie so many times. It seems to capture the spirit of Office Space pretty well…

    You be the judge: http://www.clipser.com/watch_video/61530

  • Aw man… pun NOT intended. Ugh! :)

  • John Malkovich is a college prof who has an affair with a student in Disgrace (opens in the U.S. on September 18; no U.K. release date has been announced).

    Sorry for the triple post, but I gotta say that this is NOT what Disgrace is “about”. At all. I saw this in Toronto last September, and here’s my one-sentence (and wholehearted) recommendation:

    ***very mild SPOILER***
    It’s a lot like No Country for Old Men, but without the happy ending.
    ***end spoiler***

    Unless I miss my guess, MaryAnn, you’re really going to love Disgrace. I’m very interested to see if I’m right.

  • MaSch

    You know, MaryAnn, for me it sure wouldn’t be ordinary but *very* surprising to find myself bedding younger women.

    On a side note, the guy in “Obsessed” did keep his parts in his pants, didn’t he, but you didn’t like that movie either.

  • Kathy A

    The weekend evening host on WGN radio here in Chicago has already seen Extract, and he says that the trailer is way off, and he calls it one of the funniest movies he’s seen in months. It has nothing to do with the Dude-bro style films, according to him.

  • Jason

    If I were a betting man, I would wager large sums of money that you are going to HATE “All About Steve”

  • Lola

    Where did you get the description of the movie Disgrace? I’m just wondering if that is really how it is being marketed, because the novel is not really *about* that – it’s more about post colonialism and power politics. If the movie is focused on ‘this old guy has an affair with this young nubile thing’ then they’ve completed perverted the book. If it is like the book and done well – then I think (like Newbs) that you might like it a lot.

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