With the film industry-at-large firmly focused on the Great White North and the first festival of the fall season-- the Toronto International Film Festival-- thoughts drift to new trailers and one-sheets coming out from those highly anticipated awards-seeking heavy hitters, not on the dismal pickins at the multiplex this weekend. Maybe TIFF weekend will become like the Februaries and Augusts of years past... a dumping ground for subpar movies. We suggest you check out "The American" (which we kind of loved) or "Machete" from last weekend (which, well, some of us loved...), or spend the weekend glued to your computer, constantly refreshing TrailerAddict. However, there's some interesting art house fare in limited release, such as the Casey Affleck directed mock?umentary "I'm Still Here" about his bro-in-law Joaquin Phoenix's rap career, as well some foreign films from favorite directors, and new festival films seeing release, so if one of these movies hits your city this weekend, now may be the time to check it out.
In the only new wide release this weekend, Milla Jovovich returns for a fourth round of post-apocalyptic, futuristic undead ass kicking (and constantly wielding two guns, because she looks pretty awesome doing it) in "Resident Evil: Afterlife," directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, who directed the first "Resident Evil" flick, as well as "Mortal Kombat," "Event Horizon," "Death Race," and "Alien vs. Predator," so make of that what you will (seriously, that guy's credit list could either make him your cinematic hero or nemesis). The flick also stars C-List thesps/pretty people, Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller and some other actors we've never heard of. They didn't screen for critics, no surprises there. Anywho, no judgments, we all need a little mindless action-y, explosion-y zombie-thing killing every now and again, eh? Temper the taste of all that Serious Art Cinema. Rotten Tomatoes: 8%
The much discussed doc- or mockumentary (no one can really figure it out) "I'm Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix" opens this weekend in limited release, depicting the maligned and disappointing "rap career" of (possibly) former actor and definite crazy beardo Joaquin Phoenix. In our review, we called the film, "a curious portrait, rough around the edges and ragged, much like its protagonist," and it "offers no easy answers," but, "cannot be labeled as worthless or totally counterfeit," hoax or not. Ultimately, the film is, "is strangely watchable, sad, entertaining and a framework that will likely linger in the mind of the media (and you the viewer) for at least a few weeks afterwards. And there's definitely something to be said for its odd resonance." Definitely check out this out if you have the chance. RT: 54% Metacritic: 61
Something called "The Virginity Hit" also opens in limited release today (so many gross puns, so little time). The Will Ferrell/Adam McKay produced comedy claims to be a "Blair Witch"/"Superbad" mash-up, following a group of friends documenting the not-long-for-this-world virginity of one of their buds, 20teens-style. We posted the Comic-Con trailer, saying it looked like pretty standard sex-obsessed teenage boy comedy fare. It at least seems like it has an interesting take on the subject matter. If nerdy teen boys are more your thing and not undead killing former models, well then here's the entertainment for you. RT: 43% Metacritic: 30
Hit French rom-com "Heartbreaker" hits American shores this week, teaching Hollywood a thing or two about the genre. Starring Romain Duris and Johnny Depp love/ French pop star Vanessa Paradis, the Pascual Chaumeilthat rare romantic comedy that can be enjoyed by both sexes." Read our review for more. Hopefully we get Chaumeil over here someday to work his magic on a Katherine Heigl vehicle. RT: 79% Metacritic: 67
From the TIFF 2008 archives, "Lovely, Still" makes its debut, starring Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, directed by Nicholas Fackler. We really wanted to like this movie, but ultimately, didn't find it to be "particularly beautiful at all," in the hands of the 24 year old director (read our review). RT: 80% Metacritic: 55
Also in theaters, "The Big Chill 2010," I mean, uh 'scuse me, "The Romantics," starring Xenu bride Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, Malin Akerman, Adam Brody, Dianna Agron, Elijah Wood, and Candace Bergen, about a group of college friends and exes reuniting for a wedding, and all the ensuing drama and grown up feelings that event entails. It's the feature debut of writer-director Galt Niederhoffer (she also wrote the book it's based on, yipes!) but Mrs. Cruise looks to be back to her old snarky-sensitive Joey Potter-ish self. RT: 18% Metacritic: 40
In the first time Patricia Clarkson and WWFer John Cena's names have shared an IMDB credit, "Legendary," opens in limited release, about a young boy who joins the high school wrestling team to reunite his shattered family. Easier than switching places with your estranged twin, we suppose... Danny Glover also costars. RT: 14% Metacritic: 38
Geoffrey Rush stars in the Australian musical/road movie "Bran Nue Dae," about the coming of age adventures of a young aboriginal boy traveling across the country to get to his home village and girlfriend. It's based on one of Australia's most popular musicals, and it looks positively charming, if you're, you know, into musicals. I bet Edgar Wright likes it. RT: 62%
On the documentary front, definitely check out "Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talking About Him)?" about the titular legendary American singer/songwriter and John Lennon pal, brought to you by the filmmakers behind "The U.S. vs. John Lennon." Music and movies? Movies about music? This is Playlist required viewing, folks. No questions, just watch it. RT: 100% Metacritic: 77
Also available in limited release, 2009 festival hit "My Suicide," about a media obsessed high schooler who announces he's going to off himself on camera; director Frankie Latina's valentine to the exploitation flick, "Modus Operandi" (look for our review shortly); and Goran Paskaljevich's latest, the Albanian-Serbian co-pro "Honeymoons" gets a weeklong run at the MOMA if you're in NYC.