Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Latest in Theaters: The Late Summer Rush

What's this? It's the end of August, and we have no less then nine new movies opening this week, plus the return of an old favorite. Granted, most are in limited release, but there is still plenty to go around:
  • Death Race: Jason Statham headlines Paul W.S. Anderson's gritty update of the Roger Corman cult classic Death Race 2000 (which was actually directed by Paul Bartel, of all people). Along with Ian McShane and Tyrese Gibson, Joan Allen (again, of all people) co-stars as the villainous warden who sets this race in motion.
  • The House Bunny: The always delightful Anna Faris stars as Shelley Darlingson, an over-the-hill (at 27) Playboy bunny who is banished from the mansion onto Sorority Row. Expect lots of makeover montages and heavy reminders of Legally Blonde (which was actually penned by the same screenwriters as this one), plus Hef and The Girls Next Door (one of Big Edie's favorite TV shows, by the by) in cameos.
  • Hamlet 2: The comedy (directed by Andrew Fleming and starring Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler and Elisabeth Shue as Elisabeth Shue) we've all been waiting for is finally here; read all about it in Chris' review, to be posted shortly.
  • The Rocker: On the other hand, here's the comedy we've all been dreading. Rainn Wilson, who apparently is gunning for the title of "the next Will Ferrell" with all that naked, pasty white guy flesh he's flashing about, stars in what sounds like a weak School of Rock rip-off. Saving grace: Christina Applegate (get well soon!) co-stars.
  • The Longshots: Rocker-turned-director Fred Durst (of all people) helms and rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube stars in this inspirational true sports story about the first girl (played by Akkelah and the Bee's KeKe Palmer) to play Pop Warner football.
  • I.O.U.S.A.: Wordplay director Patrick Creadon turns his documentary lens on the American national debt, a.k.a. Another Inconvenient Truth.
  • I Served the King of England: From the author (Bohumil Hrabal) and director (JirĂ­ Menzel) of the Czechoslovakian classic Closely Watched Trains comes another WWII-set story that is already garnering Oscar buzz for the Foreign Language category.
  • Two very different gay-themed films open in limited release this weekend: the raunchy comedy Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild and the spooky thriller Cthulhu. Chris has already weighed in with his opinions on both of these, giving one very high marks, while the other ... not so much.
  • And finally: Disney's Academy Award winning animated classic The Little Mermaid is swimming back onto the screen for special "Sing Along" screenings in New York, Chicago and San Francisco (at the landmark Castro Theater, no less). In addition to onscreen lyrics and "Under the Sea" goodie bags, there will be costume contests as well -- so dig out the fins, strap on that pair of seashells and win a prize!
To find out what films are playing in your area, visit Fandango - Search movie showtimes and buy tickets!

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