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Arts and Entertainment

Weekend Movie Guide: Another Apatow disappointment?

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Fat man in a little coat | Photo courtesy of Universal

Ordinarily, I'm completely disinterested in the box office performance of a movie. Sure, my innate sense of justice leads me to wish that good films will do well and bad films poorly, but I never check Boxofficemojoover the weekend to see how a movie is doing. I may keep on eye on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, though, to see if the weakening Apatowbrand can regain some strength after the relative failures of Walk Hard and Drillbit Taylor. The mix of talent is good and the trailer is funny so maybe Sarah will restore some order to Judd's universe.

I doubt 88 Minutes will restore anything to the increasingly deteriorating film career of Al Pacino. I think it was Adam Carolla who recently said that the worst thing that ever happened to Pacino was winning an Oscar for Scent of a Woman. That win ratified all of his worst instincts to the point where watching Al in a movie these days is almost like seeing Rip Taylor in his heyday--only with less subtlety. At least 88 Minutes has one of my favorite character actors--Neil McDonough--in it. That won't be enough to get me to buy a ticket, though.

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Morgan fake searches for Osama Bin Laden | Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company

The degree to which you enjoy Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? is largely dependent on how much you like Morgan Spurlock. Much like Michael Moore, Spurlock's a personality as much as he is a documentarian. Unlike Moore, though, Spurlock is relatively genteel in his approach to his material. He's definitely got the guts to stick his camera in unwelcome places, but he's too nice to make anyone truly uncomfortable.

I like Heroes and all, but I'm not sure it's because of Milo Ventimiglia (his Peter is a bit limp). If he's trying to establish himself as a film actor, crap like Pathology is not the way to go. It looks like a boilerplate (and preposterous) "thriller" to me--elite team of young coroners plot the perfect murder. Seriously? The only shred of inspiration I see is the completely daffy idea of casting prototypical good guy Michael Weston as the chief villain.

Neither Jackie Chan nor Jet Li are even remotely acceptable as actors, but their physical dynamism--in the best tradition of Buster Keaton--keeps me watching their otherwise ordinary movies year after year. The Forbidden Kingdom unites them as an unlikely pair of mentors to a young American (Sky High's Michael Angarano). Do I know what the plot of this movie is? Not really. Do I care? Nope. It's all about the stunts.

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I don't know what to think about The Life Before Her Eyes. Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood are both aces in my book and I enjoyed director Vadim Perelman's last film, The House of Sand and Fog. The story seems a little shaky, though--calamitous childhood events cause ruinous harm in adulthood. Or is it all a dream? Blech.

Dark Matter sounds like a potentially provocative flick in light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech last year. A Chinese college student turns violent when his hopes for a Nobel Prize are dashed by school politics. Add Aidan Quinn and Meryl Streep to the mix, and I think we may have an auspicious debut for director Shi-Zheng Chen.

Tickets & Showtimes

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
88 Minutes
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden
Pathology
The Forbidden Kingdom
The Life Before Her Eyes
Dark Matter

Reviews

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
88 Minutes
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden
Pathology
The Forbidden Kingdom
The Life Before Her Eyes
Dark Matter

Previews

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

88 Minutes

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden

Pathology

Support for LAist comes from

The Forbidden Kingdom

The Life Before Her Eyes

Dark Matter