Fall Movie Guide: October 2011 – Week 4

In Time

Written and Directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War, and unfortunately, S1mone)

Starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Cillian Murphy

From what I’ve seen, I’m a big fan of Andrew Niccol’s work as a writer/director.  I have yet to see the one film most people point out as his huge misstep, S1mone.  With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed both Gattaca and Lord of War, even if both were somewhat derivative of many other films.  They had their uniqueness, and that’s what I like about them.

His latest, In Time, starring Justin Timberlake, is a tossup.  It has a tame PG-13 rating, but the ideas sound interesting, we just hope they aren’t pandering.  In a world where everyone ages to 25, and then is engineered to live only another year.  However, like Gattaca, the wealthy have their opportunity to buy eternal life at a youthful age.

When Will Salas (Timberlake) is accused of murder, he has one thing on his side, time.  In a world where lifetime is the currency, Will has plenty, and when he takes on Sylvia (Seyfried) they make plans to grab even more time and tip the scales.  Meant to be a play on the current economic situation through a science fiction telescope, we’ll see if the ideas pan out to a fruitful conclusion or get lost in their own complexities.

I personally really like Timberlake, and while I’ve only seen very little of Seyfried’s work, this does look like a bit of a departure for her, rather than the usual scared doe-eyed girl.  Niccol has the talent, we’ll see if the idea can pull this one out of the rut so many too smart for their own good science fiction films too often get stuck in.

In Time opens Friday in theaters nationwide from 20th Century Fox Films, and as I mentioned, it’s rated PG-13.

Check out Jeremy’s review here.

Puss in Boots

Written by David H. Steinberg, Tom Wheeler, and Jon Zack

Directed by Chris Miller

Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, and Billy Bob Thornton

Like it or not, Shrek is the biggest animated franchise of all time, and one of THE biggest franchises ever, period.  So of course when one of the characters from the series becomes wildly popular on its own, you have to expect either a sequel, a spin-off, a pre-quel, or a pre-spin-squel.  I think the last one is what kids are getting here.  And people can rave how much they love the Shrek films, but really, anyone 5 movies into an animated franchise will watch anything with their kids it seems.  This is who that movie is for.

Kids have days off for holidays?  People don’t want to listen to their kids during holiday breaks?  That’s what these films are for.  I know nothing of the plot other than it is the story of what Puss was up to directly before running into Shrek and Donkey.  All the voices fans have come to expect will be back, like Salma Hayek as Kitty and of course Antonio Banderas as the voice of Puss.  New to the series are characters Humpty Dumpty (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) and Jack (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (voiced by Amy Sedaris).

For those with rambunctious children, it might be a few hours of quiet, for everyone else interested in the series, if you’ll pay for a 5th movie in the Shrek franchise, I’m sure you’ll be the type that enjoys it.

Paramount Pictures releases Puss in Boots wide on Friday, from Dreamworks Animation.  It is rated PG.

The Rum Diary

Based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson

Written and Directed by Bruce Robinson

Starring Johnny Depp, Amber HeardRichard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi and Aaron Eckhart

Probably my personal favorite of writer Hunter S. Thompson’s novels, it’s his most personal novel and it’s the one I identify with most.  The story’s anti-hero, Paul Kemp thinks in a way that I had never known anyone could think besides myself.  A kindred soul in wild thoughts, I immensely enjoy the character.  On the same token, I love the Puerto Rican setting of the story, and the wild cast of characters involved.  Bruce Robinson finally took the reigns of this fledgling project as writer/director, but I think his best role here was as an actor, and being able to find a cast of actors who can accurately portray the characters, rather than just grabbing movie stars.

With subtle choices, like Richard Jenkins as Lotterman, Robinson proved he knew exactly what type of film this needed to be.  No, it’s not Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 2, but nor was it ever meant to be.  My biggest hope is that Depp fully absorbs the character of Paul Kemp and truly does him the justice I know he can.  But make no mistake, this is not Raoul Duke.

All the trailers seem to be spot on from the book, so I’m curious, as always with adaptations, to see what made it on the screen, what didn’t, and whether it was the way I pictured it when I read it.  This one makes a strong case against accuracy, especially considering the wild nature of the plot.

The Rum Diary opens Friday, October 28th, 2011 from FilmDistrict.

Check out Jeremy’s review here.

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