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Fatwah / November 3, 2008

Here’s a friendly warning for you: don’t count on the movies to get you through the holidays, any more than they got you through the Wall Street seizures or this gut-wrencher of an election. As bad as the movies have been recently, that’s how bad they’re going to be right through to 2009. Maybe even a tad worse, if that’s possible. Just to give you an idea, the title of one of them, a big fat one with stars and a major budget and everything, is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Just chew on that a minute while I check the polls. (Oh jeez, it’s tightening up, Obama’s only up by 5.4 nationally, 7 in Pennsylvania, 4 in Virginia. I swear, if we lose this one…!)

You know what movie I’m looking forward to? The Quantum of Solace. The Quantum of Fucking Solace! How’s that for a title, while we’re title-mocking? But that’s the bottom of the barrel we’re scraping these days. I just want to see something that passes for a movie, i.e., something that contains THE ILLUSION OF MOVEMENT. If it happens to be the ten-thousandth James Bond film, I can live with that, as long as things in front of the camera move, and the camera itself moves, and the editor has fulfilled his or her basic function.

Anyway, here’s a sample of what’s coming at you. Be prepared to duck.

Role Models (11/7)
Comedy with Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott about two arrested development types who get forced to Big Brother some wayward kids. As they say in Hollywood, “the script writes itself.” If you really want to see kid-cursing and unlikely-adult-mentoring done right, just Netflix The Bad News Bears with Walter Matthau instead. You’ll thank me.

Quantum of Solace (11/14)
Admittedly, this will probably deflate like an old tire upon viewing. The preview is full of scowly dark pauses and everybody taking things awfully seriously for a movie that’s going to be all blammo, kazow, trying out gadgets, and showcasing Daniel Craig’s considerable hotitude. Not that we want the campy quips back—no, no, a thousand times, no—but there’s such a thing as overdoing the manly gloom, y’know. The director is Marc Forster, a guy who plainly revels in pretentious gunk like Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland. Can he really be trusted to pull this off? No, but alas, we’ll be there opening day anyway.

Australia (11/26)
Is it possible to laugh for two hours at Nicole Kidman’s plastic surgery and Botox fiasco? If so, this is a must-see. Personally, I don’t think I could chuckle for more than half an hour at her frozen mug. Of course, the rest of the movie looks pretty funny too, everybody striding around nobly, standing tall against the outback, with the big phony music swelling behind them. They don’t make movies like this anymore, and there’s a reason for that. Note to Baz Luhrmann: David Lean says you sicken him.

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