Your Weekend at the Movies with Jesse Hassenger

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04/10/2009 9:00 AM |

Happy assorted religious holidays! Here are some movies you probably don’t want to see during your family gathering, for which the younger members of your family might hate you a little (at least RE: Hannah Montana).

Observe and Report:I know it’s unfortunate for this movie’s box-office prospects that a sitcom version of its mall-cop-plus-hubris story opened a few months ago and became one of the year’s biggest hits so far, but I take some perverse pleasure that someone, somewhere, will probably go to this Seth Rogen comedy expecting a de facto sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop and come out, maybe before the running time is up, extremely disturbed. The filmmakers — responsible for the cult comedy The Foot Fist Way — have compared this to Taxi Driver; just imagine if that 1976 movie bore superficial resemblance to the plot of Rocky. That’s not to say that Observe and Report is a guaranteed success; I wanted to like Foot Fist Way but despite its well-observed milieu and performances, it’s not all that funny. This kind of awkwardness-based comedy can easily fall flat: attempts at transgression that just sit there on screen looking smug. In other words, nastiness with lots of pauses does not sophistication make. But maybe Hill pulled it off this time — the red-band trailer strikes a good funny/sad/disturbing balance — and at least Anna Faris is working with some comic professionals this time.

Hannah Montana: The Movie: Aren’t movie versions of TV shows, even low-budge cable TV shows, supposed to be, you know, bigger than the shows? I mean, even low-budge standard-bearer Lizzie Maguire sprung for a trip to Italy. But the trailer for Hannah Montana: The Movie (not to be confused with the Hannah Montana concert movie or, for that matter, the Hannah Montana sticker and activity book) brings to mind the immortal Simpsons gag about a Jim Varney sequel called Ernest Goes Somewhere Cheap. The movie appears to be about pop star Hannah Montana (alias Miley something) relocating to the country and living in a barn. What gives? Sub-question: if the movie is only going to have like four people in it, why does one of them have to be Hannah’s dad as played by Billy Ray Cyrus? (Possible sub-answer: Maybe Cyrus owns said barn?) Of course, the country setting probably serves to stress the property’s Disneyfied version of down-home values — but color me surprised those values aren’t coming wrapped in more big-screen gaudiness.

Dragonball Evolution: For awhile, I had this release confused with Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. I wonder if Fox had a factory screwup where the movies on the direct-to-DVD conveyer belt were accidentally knocked onto the theatrical release conveyer belt, and the rest is the complete history of making Mortal Kombat look like a respectable movie.

Lymelife: Another leftover indie escapes from the festival circuit, but luckily IMDB is there to preserve incredibly vague festival descriptions like the one that explains how Lymelife is a “unique take on the dangers of the American Dream” as well as a “funny, sad, violent, and sometimes tragic look at first love, family dynamics, and divorce” that “weaves an intricate tapestry of American life during a time of drastic economic and emotional change.” Uh, huh. Still, gotta love (or, OK, kinda like) the cast: several Culkins, Alec Baldwin, Timothy Hutton, and Emma Roberts, who really was pretty excellent in the overlooked Nancy Drew remake (which will probably be outgrossed in one weekend by the Hannah Montana movie even if the latter flops). Apparently Martin Scorsese is “presenting” it, so maybe it’s worth a look.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil: I bet these heavy-metal never-weres are way more tolerable human beings than the Metallica we saw in Some Kind of Monster.