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Thursday, February 24, 2011

In Theaters This Weekend

I can't say anything but "hell. yes."

I don't know what to make of this week. Five releases as we move toward the end of this month. Drive Angry (which offers Nicolas Cage in 3D), Hall Pass (a sure to be irreverent film by the Farrelly Brothers), two French dramas  (Of Gods and Men and Heartbeats), and The Grace Card (the lastest in a long line of church-produced films).

What makes movies like Drive Angry so much damn fun are that, usually, they are original works. It's like someone answers the challenge that Hollywood can't tell an original story anymore. So, a director or group of directors, decide to shake things up by taking four or five genres, three or four ridiculous stories, two or three of their favorite actors, and make one hell of a movie. Drive Angry is the result of that. For an example - the film is about a man who escapes from Hell to seek vengeance on the satanic cult that murdered his daughter, all while picking up a hitchhiker and being hunted by a man known only as "The Accountant". What makes things cooler? Cage's name in the movie is Milton.

Sadly, this isn't the only movie I can focus this post on. So, we're back to the format, with a trailer for each release -

starting with Drive Angry.

More after the cut --

Drive Angry 3D. R.

On a serious note, one reason I'm excited for this film is because it's continuing the expansion of neo-grindhouse releases for the modern filmgoers. Where the Tarantino/Rodriguez option started, films like Machete (another Rodriguez mention) and this bring back the pulp. Where as more serious fare like Alexander Aja's Hills Have Eyes remake in 2006 bring back the art. Shouldn't be too long before we see both in glorious combination. Of course, with a film like Drive Angry, this could very well be a work of art. Blood spattered, tongue in cheek, uproarious art. If it is any indication of what type of film to expect, outside of the trailer, director Patrick Lussier's last film was My Bloody Valentine. The remake, not the original.

Hall Pass. R.

I have a hard time swallowing a movie like this. Though, at the same time, I also trust the Farrelly Brothers to make me think (Me, Myself, and Irene), cry (Shallow Hal), or smile like a blissful idiot (Fever Pitch). So, there's probably something redeeming to this one as well. Jason Sudekis is incredibly funny, and very natural at it, and Owen Wilson is always excellent, in his own unique way. There isn't too much to say about this release, unfortunately, other than early word doesn't sound good. Which probably means I'm right about this film being hard to swallow. But, at the same time, I've adored unpopular movies before.

Also in theaters...

Of Gods and Men - Slightly, kind of, based on true events. Director Xavier Beauvois' film about French monks faced with the decision to evacuate themselves from a Muslim village before an impending fundamentalist raid was beautifully received and was France's official selection for the 83rd Academy Awards.

Heartbeats - Two friends, Francis and Marie (played by director Xavier Dolan and Monia Chokri, respectively) meet a new friend, Nicholas (played by Neils Schneider) and begin to form an obsession over him as time progresses. The film follows the friends as their attentions bounce back and forth between each other. This is a French-Canadian film that follows the success of the director's last film I Killed My Mother, and follows up the Canadian success of the recently Oscar nominated Incendies. Early reviews are excellent.

The Grace Card - The good news is Louis Gossett, Jr. is back on the big screen. The bad news is it's with a Christian film that no one will probably see. You'd think that the Christian filmgoer market would be quite large, but that didn't save Fireproof from going up in flames. So, what's to keep this one from doing the same? Hopefully, for Gossett's sake, the reviews save the picture from eternal damnation. It's the type of film Ossie Davis would have been all over were he still alive, and that makes me miss him more than I already do. But, all in all, the film, no matter how hokey, deserves a fair shot like anything else.

Tomorrow's Friday. We've all had a long week. Pick a movie, or pick all five, and go see it. Drive Angry is at the very top of my list of "must watch as soon as humanly possible otherwise I will explode" films, and the rest are just projects I'm merely interested in. Of Gods and Men would probably be my second pick.

You? Drop a comment down below and let me know!