Movies in Theaters on Friday, October 7, 2011
Robots rock and sock each other in Real Steel, George Clooney goes for the Presidency in The Ides of March, Clive Owen battles ghosts (or something) in Intruders, Sam Shepard plays a so very grizzled Butch Cassidy in Blackthorn and‚ well, for some reason, there's another Human Centipede movie. Where will you be this weekend?
It's okay to call the Battleship movie Battleship and it's okay to call the Monopoly movie Monopoly. But it's probably not okay to call a Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots movie Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots, so instead we have Real Steel (come on, you know this is the unofficial Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots movie). All we know is this is yet another example as to why Hugh Jackman needs a new agent, as Real Steel looks so godawful, it's bordering on being emotionally exhausting -- and we don't think even the 12-year-old boys to whom it's obviously catered will like it very much, either. Really, watch the trailer again (or, rather, don't) -- rarely has a piece of 2011 cinematic publicity material been so cringe-inducing (in some ways, it might be even worse than the wretched Jack and Jill trailer, as Real Steel, like some sort of dormant smashed-up robot warrior, doesn't seem to realize how horrible it actually looks). We're probably supposed to cry when Hugh's robot inevitably gets its ass kicked, or when it bonds with the little kid, or whatever, but that just does not compute.
George Clooney the Director can always be counted on for delivering a classy piece of work, and The Ides of March looks like a worthy companion piece to both Good Night, and Good Luck and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It's even got "Based on a Stage Play" (Beau Willimon's Farragut North, which is, of course, an unfilmable title) going for it, and an A-list class including man of the hour Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright and, of course, Clooney himself, once again content to give himself simply a supporting role in his own movie (again, classy). Gosling plays the campaign manager of a suave Presidential hopeful (Clooney) who gets a crash course in dirty politics on the campaign trail as secrets (and sins!) of his boss' past come to light; Giamatti plays a rival campaign manager who may have a seductive counter-offer to swap sides that the young politician just can't refuse. There's nothing like a good political thriller to get the blood pumping, and The Ides of March looks to be very, very good.
We think that Sam Shepard, America's most grizzled playwright and tireless soldier in the rugged plains of American myth itself, should star in every Western, so the fact that he plays, of all people, an elderly Butch Cassidy in Blackthorn makes it an automatic must-see in our book. In Bolivia, old Cassidy now goes as "James Blackthorn" (you know the bullet-ridden ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was a bit, uh, inaccurate, right?), and his ever-stronger sense of mortality has him pining for one last sight of his home in America, a bit of eleventh-hour wanderlust that sparks an adventure that aligns him with a young robber and makes the duo a target for gangs and lawmen alike. We can't wait to see Shepard growling and snarling and complaining and spitting and shooting at sumbitches -- if Blackthorn actually has a cool plot and supporting characters (played by Eduardo Noriega and Stephen Rea, among others) on top of all that, then it's even more awesome.
Shit just got real -- like, for real. Apparently, there are people out there who saw the schlocky, goofy The Human Centipede and wished it had been more "extreme." Or maybe those people just live inside writer-director Tom Six's head. Either way, we now have The Human Centipede II, in which we get to see all of the poop and puke and blood that was only hinted at (well, strongly hinted at, anyway) in the original heartwarming family classic. Six has a potentially interesting meta-commentary going on here -- the film's villain is a crazy mama's boy obsessed with the original Human Centipede so much that he wants to recreate the film's experiment himself but with (in true sequel fashion) more human bodies (one of which may or may not be Ashlynn Yennie, the star of the original film, playing herself) -- but his approach looks so childish (and vain) with its tiresome obsession with gross-out shocks and really going for it this time that the film might just render itself, well, kind of boring. Anyway, why listen to us? You already know if you want to see this movie or not, and you'll act accordingly.