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Fatwah / November 3, 2008
By Eileen Jones

Milk (11/26)
Oscar-bait film with Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, the pioneering gay politican of 1970s San Francisco who was assassinated. Penn’s a great actor, no two ways about it, but what a pretentious git. Everything he touches stinks of messages. Can director Gus Van Sant de-message this thing, or will it be one long, dreary, Pennified lefty-lecture?

Frost/Nixon (12/5)
This is a movie based on a play about a TV interview. Excited yet? Plus, Ron Howard’s directing it. Now your pulses are pounding! Yeah, it’s come to this. They’re making anti-movies in Hollywood. Maybe there should be a new term for these media productions—the Stillies? The Inerties? Anyway, if you care, interviewer David Frost sat down with Richard Nixon in 1977 and got him on tape saying all sort of looney things hour after nutball hour, and you’ll get to see it re-enacted by Michael Sheen and Frank Langella in all its sitting-there-talking glory.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (12/12)
It’s a very bad idea remaking this film, of course, and we can all confidently expect it to tank. Still, there’s something sort of charming about the preview shots of Keanu Reeves playing Klaatu, standing around looking stupefied, as usual. What the hell else is Keanu going to play if not space aliens who come in peace?

Doubt (12/12)
The stage hit by John Patrick Shanley about the nun versus the priest. Did he molest a kid or is she a repressed neurotic, or both? ACK-ting with a capital A, if you like that sort of thing. Meryl Streep goes toe-to-toe with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Personally, I’d rather re-watch him play Brant in The Big Lebowski, and re-watch her play the mean fashionista in The Devil Wears Prada. But that’s just me.

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