Green Zone: Oh snap, here comes Paul Greengrass! And look, he brought his shakycam! And his steadiDamon! I like the idea of a real-worldier Bourne and Greengrass’s action sequences can be stunning, but I’d appreciate it if he stopped finding the following things fascinating: (1.) Vast control rooms with people barking orders and reacting into headsets and monitors. (2.) Vast conspiracies that end with the exact shady character you’d suspect to turn up at the top of a vast conspiracy. I’m (almost) sure Green Zone will be more entertaining and intelligent that your average Iraq war movie (I’d use Body of Lies as the example if I could remember enough of it to consider it average), but Rapold’s review indicates that maybe this movie is as borderline-unremarkable as all of those other Greengrass movies that people seemed to think were great.
Mother: This might be the movie to pick this weekend, from Bong Joon-ho, director of the excellent monster-mashup The Host. I confess that the description—batty mother of mentally challenged fellow tries to clear his name in a murder case—sounds a tiny bit torturous. But I’m just assuming Bong can make it work.
The Exploding Girl: Bradley Rust Gray’s approach to mumblecore veers closest to Aaron Katz; rather than strangers as in Quiet City, Katz’s lovely minimalist take on Before Sunrise, Zoe Kazan and and Mark Rendell play kids returning home to New York City for a relatively uneventful spring break. The fact that Kazan’s character has epilepsy lurks in the margins as she and Rendell take walks, go to lame parties, and hang out at her mom’s apartment. The Exploding Girl is a wisp of a movie, like a real short story, not some 45-page novella in the making, but it’s almost worth seeing for Kazan’s touching performance, and the way Gray’s camera boxes her in with elegant claustrophobia.
She’s Out of My League: Jay Baruchel moving on up to leading man status, however temporarily, leaves a void in the backup-dude division of poor-man’s-Apatow comedies. A bunch of mostly uninteresting semi-comic actors jostle to fill that void up in She’s Out of My League. Though L Mag critic Nick McCarthy correctly tags one of them as sounding like he’s “throwing up Napoleon Dynamite” (maybe with a smidge of Jason Lee somewhere in there), he’s off base in deeming them “privileged morons.” The dudes who read poorly written lines and/or improvise poorly on the topic of a dorky guy (Baruchel) dating an actual hot girl (Alice Eve) may very well be morons, but they’re also Pittsburgh airport security workers without college degrees. Of course, it would be a harder mistake to make if the movie gave further thought to the class differences that place Eve in a realm beyond the reach of the average poor-man’s-Apatow hero—she’s not just attractive, but rich and successful. In other words, the filmmakers do a credible job establishing the Hollywood-dork (read: actually pretty cute) Baruchel as a “five” to her “ten”—he’s not made into a frustrated architect or anything, and there’s more to their gap than physical differences. Unfortunately, their superficial hotness ratings are the most interesting thing about either of them, and the movie is never more than lightly amusing.
Our Family Wedding: I am currently co-planning a wedding, and I’m really glad there aren’t any caricatured culture clashes brewing, especially if they have to involve Carlos Mencia (actually, everyone attending will be given a watch list with a photograph of Mencia, just to be safe). It’s too bad that this movie looks slapsticky and thrown together, because the ensemble, including America Ferrara, Forest Whitaker, and Charlie Murphy, probably deserves better. Then again, maybe people will say that about my wedding. [Congratulations! Although I do worry that Hollywood, which seems to be more wedding-happy then at any point in history—what happened to 90 minutes of acid repartee, kiss and fade to black? A much less conspicuously consumptive treatment of romance, really—will be a consistent source of stress and exasperation during the lead-in. -Ed.]
Remember Me: Supposedly this movie, a romance between the vampire from Twilight and Claire from Lost, has some kind of crazy/misguided ending (hey, that reminds me of that Kristen Dunst movie: Crazy/Misguided). This bit of information has piqued my interest in actually seeing this movie, which I had previously planned to avoid, while simultaneously torturing me with the ability to just look up its ending on the internet. Check the box office figures on Monday; if it makes $10 million, I didn’t go, but if it makes $10.0000125 million, you know who to blame. [I would advise you to steer clear of most reviews, if you plan on seeing it unspoiled, included Ben Sutton’s linked-to assessment. It’s just to good to leave unmentioned. -Ed]