Opening this weekend are some real cinematic heavy-weights: films directed by Martin Scorcese, Roman Polanski and…Mitcell Lichtenstein (Who?). Speaking respectively, we’ve got a look at Shutter Island, The Ghost Writer, and Happy Tears, this week, Around the Multiplex.
- First up on the docket is Shutter Island, the fourth time Scorsese has taken Leonardo DiCaprio under his directorial wing (and is the first of two psychological thrillers to released, the second being Christopher Nolan’s Inception, that the young son’s in this year), which is the story of a Federal Marshal called in to investigate the disappearance of one of the 66 criminally insane inmates of the prison Shutter Island. Events transpire that lead him to believe that there are 67 inmates, and it seems, at least from the trailer, that he becomes that inmate himself as his history and mental cognizance dissipates as he spends more time on the island. Tack onto the cast Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, and Jackie Earl Haley and between the lot of them, you’ve got some cinematic scintillation to look forward. Let’s look at the trailer.With Robert Richardson at the helm behind the lens, Scorsese behind the camera, we have some serious hope that a screenplay adapted by the same person who wrote box-office tanks Pathfinder and Alexander (Laeta Kalogridis), is actually watchable. This is under the consideration that Scorsese was able to take a Japanese movie and make it into The Departed – so there’s hope yet. Scorcese gets more cred on shlepping out to the box office, but I may give this one a pass over until it gets to the cheap-o theater. One straightjacket for seeing it in theaters and two hypodermic needles for catching it on DVD.
- Coming to you, not outta Compton, but nearer to Downing Street is Roman Polanski’s first full-length feature since 2005’s Oliver Twist; another film adapted from a novel, The Ghost Writer. This one stars Ewan McGregor as the aptly named “Ghost,” who is the second ghost writer for the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan), one with some skeletons under the rug…and in the closet…and a few in a Swiss chalet perhaps, where he summers. Rounding out the exemplary cast are Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton, Tom Wilkinson, and Jim Belushi. Wait – really? You mean the last three movies he’s been in have been about dogs (Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King, Snow Buddies, and Underdog) and now he’s in a Roman Polanski movie…which has nothing to do (as far as I can tell) with dogs. Here’s the suspiciously Belushi-esque trailer.Looks like the cinematography is solid, seems like the story is pretty much political, and based on the absence of Belushi in the trailer, I can only assume that either his part is mostly insignificant or so huge that to reveal him would give away the entire movie. I’m really hoping for the first one. We’re giving this movie two grinning politicians for seeing it on DVD.
- Finally we come to the Parker Posey, Demi Moore, Rip Torn heartstring-tug-fest: Happy Tears. Makes you want to vomit just hearing the title, doesn’t it? However, as my esteemed colleague puts it, this movie has “a cast and a half,” who, at least from the trailer display some really powerful performances. On the other hand, Happy Tears seems to be what my fiancee’s film teacher referred to as “poignant crap,” movies that warm the heart while robbing you of the time you spent watching it. This film looks like it hits the tropes with a ball peen hammer. Don’t take my word for it – watch the trailer.Do you think they get the gold in the end? This one gets one gold doubloon for seeing it when nothing’s on.