The Silver Bullet ~ Miss You Already

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Synopsis: The friendship between two life-long girlfriends is put to the test when one starts a family and the other falls ill.

Release Date: TBD 2015

Thoughts: I love the movie Beaches.  There, it’s out there for all to read.  Yep, it’s one of those “chick flicks” that require a box of Kleenex and a god hug from someone you love when it’s over…but it does the trick time and time again.  I mention this because having seen the trailer for Miss You Already several times now I keep thinking how much this feels like a Beaches for a new generation.  Toni Collette (Tammy) is the friend that seems to be dying with dignity while Drew Barrymore (Blended) takes on the supportive chum that dries her tears.  Hopefully director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) can throw a few curveballs our way because while this looks like it could be fitfully entertaining, it also gives off a whiff of an also-ran affair.  Maybe it’s just that Barrymore seems so out of place here (no shocker since she got the role after both Jennifer Aniston and Rachel Weisz bowed out) but it’s Collette that will get my butt in the seat.

The Silver Bullet ~ Maps to the Stars

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Maps

Synopsis: A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.

Release Date: TBA 2014

Thoughts: How it is possible that Julianne Moore hasn’t taken home an Oscar yet?  Though rewarded with a handful of nominations over the years, she’s lost out on all of the big wins and I think it’s time we fixed that, don’t you?  Director David Cronenberg (The Dead Zone) does too and he’s offered Moore a real barnstormer of a role as a self-absorbed actress with a shot at the big time.  Moore (Carrie) took home the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival and if early buzz it to be believed, we’ll see a lot more of the flame haired star when awards season rolls around in a few months.  Co-starring John Cusack (The Raven), Robert Pattinson (The Rover), Sarah Gadon (Enemy, What If), Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) the movie itself looks like your typical Cronenberg head trip…but more always helps things come into focus.

The Silver Bullet ~ Decoding Annie Parker

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Synopsis: Love, science, sex, infidelity, disease and comedy, the wild, mostly true story of the irrepressible Annie Parker and the almost discovery of a cure for cancer.

Release Date: May 2, 2014

Thoughts: Though the cast for Decoding Annie Parker is filled with celebrated actors like Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Samantha Morton (In America), and Aaron Paul (Need for Speed) and surrounds an important subject (searching for cures/causes of breast cancer) I can’t help but feel overall that this is a movie that was originally intended for the small screen. Yeah, yeah, the film is distributed as an indie but something about it reads television movie to me. That’s not to say it won’t work just fine in your local cinema and I’m interested enough in the true life story of the title character to make the effort to catch this one, but will it be one I’ll be happy I left the house for?

The Silver Bullet ~ Cuban Fury

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Synopsis: A former salsa prodigy attempts a comeback years after his career was ruined.

Release Date:  TBA 2014

Thoughts:  Reminding me of a movie I may have seen in the mid 90’s when Euro comedy imports were all the rage, Cuban Fury looks as harmless as all of those other films…and just as skippable.  Though stars Nick Frost (The World’s End) and Chris O’Dowd (The Sapphires) will probably make this a few notches better than the rest, overall I can’t see this picture becoming the kind of sleeper hit like Strictly Ballroom or The Full Monty were back in the day.  On the other hand, never underestimate the power of a feel good picture of the underdog getting its day…if the release is timed right Cuban Fury could be the very thing audiences will respond kindly to after a season of heavy Oscar material.

The Silver Bullet ~ We Are What We Are

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Synopsis: The Parkers, a reclusive family who follow ancient customs, find their secret existence threatened as a torrential downpour moves into their area, forcing daughters Iris and Rose to assume responsibilities beyond those of a typical family.

Release Date:  September 27, 2013

Thoughts: It’s always nice when a trailer for a film doesn’t give away every nook and cranny of its plot.  One could probably discern what the true secret at the heart of this gothic mystery will turn out to be but I’m intrigued to see the path it takes to this reveal.  Boasting no major stars and having been completed in 2010, the odds are against the film becoming a sleeper hit…but it’s something I’m going to keep my eye out for (and you should too) based solely on its carefully constructed trailer.

Movie Review ~ Passion

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The Facts:

Synopsis: The rivalry between the manipulative boss of an advertising agency and her talented protégée escalates from stealing credit to public humiliation to murder.

Stars: Rachel McAdams, Noomi Rapace, Karoline Herfurth, Paul Anderson

Director: Brian De Palma

Rated: R

Running Length: 102 minutes

Trailer Review: Here

TMMM Score: (2/10)

Review:  In the’ 70s and early 80s there was one American director that could be counted on to bring a daring style to his films.  With a distinct European flair with more than a fair dollop of Hitchcock inventiveness, Brian De Palma had the market cornered on darkly twisty features from Sisters to Carrie to Blow Out to The Fury.  I personally think 1980’s Dressed to Kill is a true genre masterpiece and the director never saw the kind of success like he did in this era.

So when word got out that De Palma was again exploring a dark side with a remake of the 2010 French film Crime d’amour I was intrigued to see if this Passion project would help the director reclaim some of the fame he’s had a substantial hand in frittering away.  Depressingly ungainly and ultimately awful, Passion is less of a comeback and more a death knell for a director I continue to have great admiration for.

Where did this movie go wrong?  It would be nice to have somewhere else to throw some blame but as director and screenwriter it’s De Palma that must shoulder it all.  The casting is way off, the camera work surprisingly flat, and the plot is a mash-up of the worst bits of the mystery genre.  Worst of all…it’s dull.  I can forgive most anything in a film but being tedious is something I can’t stand for.  It’s over an hour and a half of false starts and dead ends, with roadblocks thrown in to further stymie any energy the cast tries to work up.

Not that the cast is working very hard.  Rachel McAdams merely conjures up a more adult version of Regina George, the queen bee meanie she played to success in Mean Girls.  With her blonde hair and impressive closet of fashion forward costumes, McAdams may look the part of the femme fatale that De Palma so loves to film but the actress lacks fundamental depth.  Her character is hungry for success yet McAdams never shows true darkness beneath her porcelain veneer – we’re led to believe she’s a sexual fetishist but either McAdams didn’t want to go the extra mile to make this quirk fully realized or De Palma didn’t ask her to and the result is a toothless villain.

I want to like Noomi Rapace so much but she’s making it extremely difficult with her choices.  Though I liked her work in Prometheus, in March’s Dead Man Down, her fragile butterfly demeanor failed her…as it does here.  This is the original girl with the dragon tattoo so we know what she’s capable of…but she’s totally checked out in a performance that leaves her and the audience dazed and confused.  With her cooing child-like voice and blank, expressionless face, she always looks like she just woke up from a long nap.

Even if McAdams and Rapace were up to the challenge, De Palma’s script is full of clichéd dialogue and developments that don’t make sense in terms of small things like, oh, time, logic, common sense.  The actresses have several hysterically earnest dramatic exchanges that only show the weaknesses in De Palma’s lame and tragically tame script.  There’s a love triangle that forms the central crux of the story but a lack of chemistry between McAdams, Rapace and the atrociously unappealing Paul Anderson makes it a bust.  The big twist of the film happens too late to win back the audience and even then De Palma wastes an opportunity to turn the plot on its ear and go a different direction.  Instead, the movie winds up exactly where you think it will with zero surprises along the way.

Though De Palma’s famous use of split-screen is employed here in a mildly successful manner, it only makes you think back to his previous work that capitalized on strong themes, a sense of urgency, and the energy of both cast and crew.  In Passion, the entire film looks like it was made under the influence of sleeping pills…a tragedy when De Palma’s films used to keep us up at night.

Skip it.

Forget about it.

Pretend this movie never happened.

The Silver Bullet ~ Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s

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Synopsis: A documentary on the Manhattan department store with interviews from an array of fashion designers, style icons, and celebrities.

Release Date:  May 3, 2013

Thoughts: Every now and then, it’s nice to take a breather from the onslaught of the political/financial/wartime documentaries and just soak in something with a bit more levity.  Like The September Issue (about the inner workings of Vogue Magazine), Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s outfits itself with a lighter touch as it lets us go inside and behind the scenes of the hallowed walls at NYC’s famed store.  With interviews from a clothing rack full of celebs and designers, I’m not expecting this to be an Oscar nominee next year but am looking forward to a documentary that isn’t quite so heavy-handed.