Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World: I totally would have seen this movie had it screened for the press, y’all. It seems like ages ago, possibly because it was, but I really enjoyed Spy Kids, near-loved Spy Kids 2, and, well, had enough fun with Spy Kids 3-D, though I didn’t realize at the time that it was something of a rabbit hole for writer-director-editor-everything Robert Rodriguez’s children efforts. Ah, those early-to-mid-aughts glory years, when Rodriguez would release hyper-violent pulp movies in near-tandem with charmingly homemade kid fantasias (could he be the only director to complete two trilogies in the space of sixty days, with Spy Kids 3-D followed by Once Upon a Time in Mexico?). Once he finished off the Spy Kids series, though, his kid movies started looking noisier and cheaper; The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl didn’t have much of the visual wit of Spy Kids 2, and it started to actually look like something that was made in a garage studio, rather than something that was actually kind of amazing-looking for being made in a garage. (It also gave us Taylor Lautner.)
Even my beloved Machete was only co-directed (and I assume co-edited, co-scored, co-catered, etc.) by Rodriguez; at his old pace, the whole Machete trilogy would be finished by now! Now Dimension has him putting together a new generation of Spy Kids rather than finally making Sin City 2 (or Machete Kills, or Machete Kills Again) for some reason. Machete co-star Jessica Alba (which is how I want her referred to all the time going forward) plays a harried ex-spy mom, and apparently the original Spy Kids appear to help out some newer, smaller spies learn the ropes.
Conan the Barbarian: Like, for example, why didn’t Rodriguez direct this? Rose McGowan and Mickey Rourke are in it; shouldn’t that be reason enough? I haven’t seen the original Conan, and intend to, but I would be so much more excited by this remake if it was directed by not even Rodriguez (I’m not that picky, as you might be able to tell from my initial choice of Rodriguez) but pretty much anyone better than Marcus Nispel, who certainly knows his way around gory, grimy set decoration, and has also made some of the worst movies of the past ten years, including the Friday the 13th remake and the deadly dull Pathfinder. I mean, I’m pretty sure that Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake is his best work, unless he made some ads and/or music videos I’ve enjoyed. In short, if you’re ever feeling insufficiently grateful for Robert Rodriguez, please, by all means, watch any movie directed by Nispel.
Fright Night: Or if you want another, presumably more tasteful 80s remake, Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl!) has prepared a new Fright Night for your mild enjoyment. It’s a pretty well-made movie without any real reason for being; the movie keeps coming up with twists on the original story that might make this one an interesting modern take, and then sort of abandoning them. Read more in my full review.
One Day: I’m sensing a critical rejection of One Day in the mail, and I think Focus Features is too, since they moved it from a plum July slot to the August junkyard. My review is relatively positive, but then, I’m not sure how reading the David Nicholls book, from which the movie springs, may have affected my enjoyment. Like The Time Traveler’s Wife, I may have just been relieved that the movie didn’t muck up the essence of the novel, even though it doesn’t ever really launch into its own, equally inspired thing. Or, also like The Time Traveler’s Wife, I may have simply projected additional knowledge of the characters onto what I saw onscreen, which was easy to do with the aforementioned non-ruining. That’s not to say this movie (again, like The Time Traveler’s Wife) is anything exceptional: just a tasteful, reasonably well-acted and well-shot romantic drama. I have a feeling some people will incorrectly tag it as a romantic comedy and then get annoyed that it’s not funny enough. These people should remember what it’s like watching Nicholas Sparks movies. Or even other allegedly romantic movies where Anne Hathaway plays a British person. This is better.