Last chance for On Demand: It’s the Paris-set Best Picture Oscar nominee that will transport you back to a magical moment in cinema history! No, not The Artist. Hugo is Martin Scorsese’s attempt at making a movie his tween daughter could actually watch (in 3-D, no less — though obviously it … will not be presented in that format if you rent it at home).
Though it was marketed as a family film, my own friends with kids report that Hugo is too boring for younger children, and too twee for older ones, encompassing as it does old-timey movies, analog clocks (which Hugo spends his time covertly winding, in the Paris train station, after the death of his father), and steampunk (an automaton plays a pivotal role). Maybe The Artist — still available On Demand — is a better choice for a family movie night. At least that one has a cute dog.
New and Notable
Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Part I
As Kevin Smith has, over the years, stopped being a filmmaker and turned into a professional bloviator, I like to remind people of the time he said, about Paul Thomas Anderson (around the time of Magnolia‘s release), “a bloated sense of self-importance is the most unattractive quality in a person or their work.” Keep that in mind when I tell you that Jay and Silent Bob Get Old: Part I (ugh, the doom inherent in that Part I) is a documentary about Smith’s speaking tour through the U.K. with frequent co-star Jason Mewes, and that during said speaking tour Smith does not, apparently, even get up from his chair. (This was a strong contender for “Masochist’s Choice,” but then something even less appealing presented itself.)
Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly plays the mentally unstable title character, who (comically?) fakes a pregnancy to blackmail Oscar nominee Ed Harris, who’s motivated to keep things quiet as he runs for some kind of office. Netflix would tag this one “Southern, Quirky.”
Blue Like Jazz
A sheltered Christian kid enrolls at a liberal college and tries to figure out who he is, with the help of Tania Raymonde (formerly Alex on Lost).
Zach Galifianakis’s production company is behind this documentary about a guy trying to live for a month solely on services offered through Craigslist ads. Judging by the trailer, no one gets murdered, but that can’t possibly be right.
A bunch of white jerks desecrate an Indian burial ground (typical) in this unremarkable-looking Western.
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts
A surprise pregnancy provides the impetus for a tech consultant to try reconnecting with her estranged mother — not so easy now that said mother is living off the grid.
The entire supporting cast of 6 Month Rule — Martin Starr, Natalie Morales, Suits star Patrick J. Adams, Kid in the Hall Dave Foley — is likable and appealing. But writer-director Blayne Weaver cast himself in the lead, and a more punchable face I have not seen in a while.
Todd Grinnell (a.k.a. The Poor Man’s Paul Rudd) freaks out when his girlfriend has the temerity to start buying nice things for their home, or maybe that’s just this interior-design nerd’s perspective.
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
Based on the true story of a clash between aboriginal Taiwanese and Japanese colonists, this John Woo–produced film is apparently the most expensive production in Taiwanese history.
A young man with Down syndrome falls in love with a troubled girl and gives her a pile of money to keep her from being evicted, which makes her feel sufficiently guilty that she fools around with him. This’ll end well.
Soldiers of Fortune
Christian Slater’s latest bid to become the straight-to-home-video Nicolas Cage.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week
No way. It’s only the first full week of August and it’s already “back to school” season? Your cable company says yes. At least whoever curated this collection of school-themed films made some solid picks, including Election, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Animal House, The Breakfast Club, Clueless, and one of my all-time favorites: the sublime Mean Girls.
“In Theaters” VOD Picks
“I have no idea what this movie is about,” said my sister when we saw the trailer a few weeks ago. But it’s from Fernando Meirelles, director of The Constant Gardener, so I might cut him enough slack despite the very oblique preview.
Comedy troupe Broken Lizard’s Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers) directed this one, in which Paul Schneider tries to rob a sperm bank of his own sample with which to impregnate his wife, Olivia Munn. Also featured: Collette Wolfe of Young Adult; Nat Faxon, Oscar-winning co-writer of The Descendants; and the smarmy hotel manager from Step Up: Revolution!!!!!
Weird Indie of the Week
They’re making horror movies in Tamil and Hindi now! PLEASE NOTE: The description on the Time Warner Cable site says Lou Diamond Phillips is in this one. He is not.
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
Charting the trajectory of a pretty young woman who starts out modeling and ends up in “fetish videos” shot by Heather Graham (obviously). James Franco also stops by, looking super-baked.
What was originally a live PPV event is now a regular live-on-tape concert film featuring the Family Feud host turned retrograde self-help author. I hope he teaches his female fans how to find happiness by withholding sex!