I don’t care what plans you had this weekend, you’ve got to cancel them because the movies are calling. They’re saying things like, “Sure movies are expensive but they’re a helluva lot cheaper than the equivalent amount of alcohol it would take to create the same level of distraction from your life.” Movies are smart like that. All I know is that after I finally file my taxes, I’m going to be eating a lot of ramen for a while and it’s much harder to spend money when you’re stuck in the dark for two hours. This weekend, we’ve got kids who become superheroes with “Kick-Ass,” a funeral turned funny with “Death at a Funeral,” a fan who becomes the subject with “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” consumerism at its scariest with “The Joneses,” and two foreign language films guaranteed to be good, “The Secret in Their Eyes” and “No One Knows About Persian Cats.”
The Movie: “Kick-Ass”
The Trailer: Adapted from the ultra-violent Mark Millar comic book, “Kick-Ass” shows that ordinary people can become superheroes, but it’s definitely not easy. When Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides he’s going to put on a costume and fight crime, his friends think he’s being a moron, but when he actually goes out as Kick-Ass and does it (and subsequently lands himself in the hospital), it’s already too late to stop. Soon, his heroic showdown makes him a YouTube sensation and other wannabe superheroes follow suit. Mobster son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) wants to uncover Kick-Ass’ identity and becomes Red Mist. Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) proves to have legitimate superhero talent after being trained by her dad (Nicolas Cage).
The Hitch: Unlike all the convenient bit-by-a-creature-magic-powers-appear type characters, “Kick-Ass” actually nearly gets himself killed trying to fight for justice. It’s a much better message to tell kids that they’ll have to work really hard to get what they want instead of having them all waiting for some freak accident to drop their dreams in their lap. I’m super down with “Kick-Ass” and I’m glad they promoted the crap out of it because it’s a comic book that needed to become a movie.
The Movie: “Death at a Funeral”
The Trailer: A family gathers for the memorial of their patriarch and awful things go down. First, the wrong body is delivered, there’s sibling rivalry between Martin Lawrence and Chris Rock‘s characters, cousin Zoë Saldana‘s boyfriend (James Marsden) is accidentally slipped a hallucinogenic instead of a Valium, Tracy Morgan is Tracy Morgan-y, and they discover that their dad had a pint-sized Caucasian male lover (Peter Dinklage).
The Hitch: When I first saw the trailer for this, I was suuuuper confused because I’ve already seen this movie. I saw it with a cast of British actors, with the same title and even the same little person actor! But this time, the cast is black … and funny. I guess they saw potential in the script and just rewrote bits of it and I’ll admit it does look better, but I’m still reeling from déjà vu. For a total freak-out, check out the trailers side-by-side.
The Movie: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”
The Trailer: Thierry Guetta spent years attached to his video camera, eventually following just about every important street art artist around while they were doing their graffiti, making a documentary about them. He follows Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, and other graffiti art stars, but the ultimate goal is to find the extremely illusive London artist-turned-gallery-star Banksy. When he finds Banksy, he doesn’t want to be part of the doc but instead wants to make a movie about Guetta. Guetta, in turn, becomes a street artist.
The Hitch: I’m seeing this movie this weekend. After seeing a Banksy exhibit in New York where fish sticks swam around in a fish bowl, I was hooked. More accurately, when I started working at graffiti magazines in New York 4 years ago, I was hooked and maybe in love despite the fact that no one’s supposed to know what Banksy looks like. Anyway, the fan-turned-subject turnaround is such a brilliant concept and Banksy is a genius. Go see it.
The Movie: “The Joneses”
The Trailer: The idea of keeping up with the Joneses has been turned into a marketing ploy in which a perfect prop family sells their lifestyle to unsuspecting jealous townspeople who long to be just like them. Mr. (David Duchovny) and Mrs. Jones (Demi Moore) play the fake but enviable husband and wife duo.
The Hitch: I guess it’s an anti-consumerist, “don’t covet your neighbor’s life” type movie. But it’s so close to our society’s reality that it mostly just makes me uncomfortable.
The Movie: “The Secret in Their Eyes
The Trailer: A retired criminal investigator (Ricardo Darín) becomes a novelist and decides to find out what happened in an unsolved Buenos Aires rape and murder case that happened 25 years ago. He also happens to be madly in love with his court colleague (Soledad Villamil) and hasn’t done anything about that in just as long.
The Hitch: The film won this year’s Best Foreign Language film Oscar but has only now come to the States, in a limited release. Apparently, writer/director Juan José Campanella has directed many an episode of “Law & Order,” though, and according to Entertainment Weekly, it shows.
The Movie: “No One Knows About Persian Cats”
The Trailer: Rock ‘n’ roll performances are forbidden in Iran, but one rock couple is determined to find band mates in Tehran and get to Europe to become rock stars.
The Hitch: The faux-documentary illuminates a culture that’s often shrouded in mystery. It’s also exciting to see what Iranian indie rock is like. And as a bonus, it’s available on demand!