I’m not even going to bother trying to sell you on how delicious a warm tub of buttered popcorn is this week because there are actually four legitimately awesome movies coming out this week and if you’re not interested in any of them, then you have quite simply given up and you hate friendship. This week’s movies are all about surviving in places where you don’t quite fit in: a liar in a world of truth in “The Invention of Lying,” an indie teenage girl in tiara and college prep land in “Whip It,” a person who’s, um, alive in “Zombieland,” and a neurotic Jewish family in post-war America in “A Serious Man.”
The Movie: “The Invention of Lying”
The Trailer: Ricky Gervais stars (and writes and directs alongside Matthew Robinson) as an underdog in a “hilariously literal-minded society” where everyone simply and often quite harshly speaks the truth. When one day he discovers that he is capable of lying, suddenly his dream girl (Jennifer Garner), a successful career, and fame are within reach! Of the movie, Gervais said, ‘We tried to do the funniest episode of The Twilight Zone ever.” [EW] It sounds like they might have succeeded?
The Hitch: The premise of this movie is fantastically smart, which is a nice change of pace from so many movies that have come out this year. There’s something super charming about Gervais, it might be his smarts and dry British humor. Regardless, I would love to be in a world where I could get away with saying everything I think. So far, it’s not going that well.
The Movie: “Whip It”
The Trailer: Ellen Page stars as Bliss, the indie girl in a sea of pageant-happy teenagers. She discovers roller derby and joins a maudlin crew of women who skate and shove, known at the Hurl Scouts (hence the adorable girl scout uniforms), and she’s immediately obsessed. Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Eve, and Juliette Lewis star as other roller derby divas. It’s also Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut and she’s ready to take the heat, saying, “Everything in the film is my fault. So if there’s something you like, awesome. If there’s something you don’t like, blame me.” [EW]
The Hitch: I always wanted to do roller derby, but since I missed the boat, I’m going to see this movie at least sixty times instead. Entertainment Weekly gave it a “meh” review but if the joyfully optimistic trailer is any clue, it looks like an exciting venture back into a slightly more hip, glamorized version of those awkward high school days of first kisses and soul-crushing identity crisis.
The Movie: “Zombieland”
The Trailer: When a deadly virus turns most of the world into flesh-eating zombies, a group of survivors, known by their cities of origin, band together to fight off the intestine-hungry beasts. Director Ruben Fleischer says, “It’s really a road movie. It just so happens there are swarms of zombies everywhere.” Woody Harrelson stars as the trigger-happy, Twinkie-loving leader of the group, Tallahassee. Jesse Eisenberg (“Adventureland”) plays Columbus who narrates with rules of survival and wants to get back to his parents in Ohio. Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) play gun-wielding sisters, the younger one has a theme park obsession. The final destination is Southern California where there are apparently no zombies.
The Hitch: I was pretty psyched when my friends came back from Comicon with Zombieland Purell. But I was even more psyched when the trailers of shooting out zombie heads divulged an angsty teenage love story in the plot and showcased Woody’s cocky machismo. On a more superficial note, the punky apocalyptic fashion is to die for. Not literally though.
The Movie: “A Serious Man”
The Trailer: In the Coen brother’s 14th movie, set in 1967 midwest, Michael Stuhlbarg stars as a college physics professor who starts coming undone when his wife divorces him, his kids get unruly, and a student bribes him for a better class standing. It paints a portrait of a Jewish family and postwar Jewish-American assimilation.
The Hitch: As the most autobiographical Coen brothers film, joining the plethora of awesomeness that was “Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “No Country for Old Men.” It will be interesting to see how they paint their mock hometown in Minnesota and the lead character based loosely on their father (he was an economics professor). Their “affectionate mockery” for their upbringing comes through with quirky characters and a hazy gorgeousness over typically overlooked objects. [EW]