movies this week: twoooo weeeeeks

I’m going out of town for Thanksgiving, so I’m not sure whether I will be able to write a “Movies this Week” next week. I don’t want to feel all that pressure on me to get it done, especially if I’ve been eating a lot of turkey and just want to nap.
So I thought I would do two weeks at once, folding next week’s movies into the current format with this week’s new films. This meant I had to face the scary nationwide Thanksgiving releases, for which I was unprepared. I had to be strong. I had to hang on. Or my mind might well snap … See, the whole thing has left me so unhinged that I am unintentionally paraphrasing Rocky Horror. Oliver Stone and Chris Columbus in the same week, it can’t be good for a girl.
My general opinion of the movie fare for the next two weeks is that if you live in Austin, you should check out the Dobie and the Alamo, or maybe go see The Incredibles. Otherwise, proceed at your own risk.

New movies in Austin this week and next week:
Alexander—Opens Wed. 11/24. I used to get quite pissy about Oliver Stone (I still keep my review of The Doors around for nostalgia), but I believe I have outgrown it. Now I just don’t care. I’ve never been a big fan of historial epics. And I tend to mix up Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe and that whole crowd. I’m waiting for Baz Luhrmann’s Alexander the Great movie, which should at least be interesting.
Christmas with the Kranks—Opens Wed. 11/24. I don’t think I can do justice this week to the level of disgust I feel for this treacle-ass adaptation of a John Grisham book and its dreadful waste of talent like Jamie Lee Curtis. Perhaps it would be best for the universe if I skipped it and didn’t even try. You know how I get about Chris Columbus (who produced and wrote the screenplay). I also admit to bias about this movie because every time I go to a big chain theater, I end up seeing not one but two trailers for the damn thing.
Enduring Love—Rhys Ifans is swept into the air by a hot-air ballon running amok … not in a deckchair, though. Seriously, am I missing some connection to this movie with Danny Deckchair? Enduring Love sounds much darker, though, and somewhat unpleasant.
Kinsey—Opens Wed. 11/24. Once I heard that “family-friendly” groups were massing to protest this movie, and even comparing Alfred Kinsey to Josef Mengele, I knew I had to see it. (I mistrust a group with a name like “Concerned Women for America” that apparently has a man for a spokesperson.) I only wish I could be here for its opening weekend in Austin. Written and directed by Bill Condon, who also did Gods and Monsters (which I am supposed to be watching this weekend). The cast looks excellent: Liam Neeson as Kinsey, plus Laura Linney, Chris O’Donnell, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, and other people whom y’all are going to fuss at me for not mentioning.
The Machinist—Opens Fri. 11/26. All I really knew about this movie was that Christian Bale lost an incredible, possibly dangerous amount of weight for his role, and that it was relentlessly grim. However, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Anna Massey are in it too.
Muhammad: The Last Prophet—I can’t find out anything about this animated movie except that apparently a 2001 release was originally planned, which was pushed back after the events of Sept. 11. Personally, I don’t think Muhammed stands a chance up against SpongeBob and Pixar.
National Treasure—I didn’t understand the potential appeal of this movie, because to me it looks like a caper film that involves an unbelievably silly premise. Also, Nicolas Cage is not really what I would call a caper-film lead actor (although I liked his con man in Matchstick Men just fine). A coworker finally enlightened me: The plot reminds people of The Da Vinci Code, a book I haven’t read but which has been wildly popular. That’s nice. I still think it sounds dumb.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie—You know SpongeBob, don’t you? He lives in a pineapple under the sea. My boyfriend already bought the soundtrack to this movie. As we realized last night, it is impossible to remain grouchy while listening to it, although if I had to hear it repeatedly I would probably ending up inflicting violence on others. The trailers on TV for this movie looked quite lame, but I’m hoping they were just dumb trailers for a fun movie.
This does mean I’m walking around singing the theme song even more than usual. Forgive me.
(And yes, my favorite character is Squidward. You guessed that.)
Testosterone—The title says it all, doesn’t it? Reviewers seem unsure whether this is a black comedy or noir or simply a twisted and grim movie about a graphic novelist looking for the ex-boyfriend who deserted him. Possibly the movie isn’t sure what it wants to be, either.
Notable events/revivals in Austin:
I’d like to point out that Alamo Downtown has its schedule posted for December and January. Take a look, they’re showing all kinds of good stuff.
The Big Lebowski—Playing at Alamo Downtown Thurs/Fri/Sun. 11/18-21. The Dude abides. I think Coen brothers movies are perfect for Thanksgiving.
Bill Hicks: Love All the People—Playing at Alamo Downtown Tues. 11/23. Tribute to Bill Hicks. We don’t get enough of Bill Hicks’ style of humor in the holiday season.
Brown Bunny—Playing at Alamo Downtown on Sunday 11/21, Wed. 11/24, and Sun. 11/28.
Diamond Jim—Playing at Alamo Downtown on Tuesday 11/30 as part of the Jean Arthur retrospective from Austin Film Society. Jean Arthur has two roles in this 1935 bio of Diamond Jim Brady. I wish they’d shown The Whole Town’s Talking (also from 1935) instead.
Groundhog Day—Playing at Alamo Downtown on Thurs. 12/2 and Mon. 12/6. I wondered why Alamo would schedule this movie between Thanksgiving and Christmas; their reasoning is that they wanted to show some wacky Bill Murray to prepare everyone for the upcoming Wes Anderson movie, The Life Aquatic. I like watching this movie whenever it’s on TV but I’m not sure I’d venture out to an actual theater, particularly one with bad parking, to see it.
The King and I—Playing at Paramount 11/26-29. A newly restored print of the 1956 movie.
The Mr. Sinus Christmas Show—Playing at Alamo Downtown Fri. 11/19 and throughout December. The Christmas show isn’t one movie, it’s a number of bizarre holiday-related clips. The year I went, they showed everything from a Martha Stewart special (where she learns glassblowing) to “Davy and Goliath” to some topless chick Christmas thing. They also serve milk and cookies. Definitely worthwhile.
Too Many Husbands—Playing at Alamo Downtown on Tuesday 11/23 as part of the Jean Arthur retrospective from Austin Film Society. This 1940 film has Fred MacMurray and Harry Davenport in it, too. Sounds a lot like My Favorite Wife.
At home, we still have The Philadelphia Story, Seconds, and Gods and Monsters. We are being slackers about our DVD watching.
I still have to write reviews for these movies: Lightning in a Bottle, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, If You Could Only Cook, The Getaway, Muriel’s Wedding, and Quills. That list is only going to get longer before the end of the month, I fear.

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