Pirates be damned! Spiders, step off. Hey you, Shrek, go have lunch at McDonald's. Shia LaBeouf, thank you for not being in theaters right now. This weekend is for those of us who want a little unexpected zing, a little murder, some hot sex, some sticky situations—you know, the stuff that movies are supposed to be made of but so rarely are. Kevin Costner, this public so needs you right now.
In the beginning, Knocked Up was just a little movie they were shooting in part on location at the E! headquarters. Sure, it was Judd Apatow’s follow-up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin. That was buzzworthy. Yep, it could potentially make household names of Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen. But then something happened. Over the past few months, the exuberance for Knocked Up has reached gargantuan proportions. I hear that Rogen is actually God incarnate. I hear that Apatow will be made president of the Hollywood Laugh Association. Ooh, my favorite rumor: I've heard that girls across America will leave the theater, tear up their condoms and pray that they might get knocked up during a one-night stand with some man-boy. Okay, a slight exaggeration, but with the momentum behind Knocked, anything is possible. And in case you’re one of those crazy film buffs who actually wants to know about the plot, it’s like this: Man-boy (Rogan) and aspiring E! on-air chick (Heigl) have a one-night stand. She gets pregnant. She decides to have the baby. Expecting parents who barely know each other hang out with a married couple (Paul Rudd and the gloriously funny Leslie Mann) and make marriage seem really, really scary.
Picture it: The junket for Mr. Brooks. Hotel ballroom converted into press pit. Kevin Costner is so tan I am wondering if he emerged from a spray booth right before this interview. Someone asks him about the Untouchables sequel. He huffs and says he never thinks about it. “I'm not surprised that they've circled back to it to squeeze some more out of that film.” Oh, bless you, Kevin. That kind of attitude is what makes Kevin so right for the part of Mr. Brooks, a community beacon of family values and good business who is also a fly-by-night serial killer. And funny enough, Mr. Brooks has the kind of ending that positively begs and pleads for a sequel. Granted, it took a long time for this movie to get made, so it’s hard to imagine that a sequel will be greenlighted overnight. But I, for one, am hungry for part two, if anything just because Danielle Panabaker, who plays Costner’s daughter, needs to get famous and take over Lindsay Lohan’s botched career. Still not intrigued by this dark comedy? Well, then you clearly haven’t seen the clips of William Hurt. And you’re obviously not a Dane Cook fan. Like Cook’s frat-boy stand-up comedy act, Mr. Brooks is a love-it-or-hate-it-to-the-extreme kind of affair. So, if you go, bring along your most opinionated friend and prepare to duke it out all night. Oh yeah. Demi Moore is in it, too, but if she really wants to make a comeback, she’ll need to find a script where she gets to be the most fascinating character in the mix.
Never mind that Gracie’s plot—girl plays soccer, girl longs for boy and girl athletes to get similar cred—sounds like ripe territory for Amanda Bynes to slapstick and kick her way into our cynical hearts. Never mind that the poster makes you go, wait a minute, didn’t I already see this movie, and isn’t Keira Knightley, like, really famous now? Wasn’t it called Bend It Like Beckham? Hang on now, didn’t we fix this problem already? I, however, gently suggest that you overlook all these red flags because Dermot Mulroney is in Gracie, and if you ask me, Dermy is an elevator guy; if he’s in it, it can’t be that bad. He is the reason I can watch Debra Messing’s The Wedding Date over and over. He’s got a small part, though, so let’s move on. Gracie is actually the spawn of director Davis Guggenheim and his wife, Cocktail alum Elisabeth Shue. The reviews of this feel-good PG-13 story are expectedly tepid, likening it to an after-school special. It’s too bad. The optimistic-kid movie used to be in top form. Lately, however, heartfelt movies for kids just seem bogged down by their heavy hearts. If you go, lower your expectations and try and figure out why kid stories just ain't what they used to be. Or, you know, just drool over Dermy.
Rise: Blood Hunter
LOLOLOL. Is it really so bad out there for women in Hollywood? Well, Rise would suggest that rumors of good female roles being hard to get are entirely based in fact. All I can say is that Lucy Liu wakes up in a morgue and finds that she is undead. So, if you’re wondering why this sultry, snappy woman has signed on to Darren Star’s Cashmere Mafia TV series, look no further. Oh, also, look at the IMDb keywords: Vampire. Undead. Revenge. Nonlinear Timeline. If you want to turn me off, that’s how you do it. Um, Nick Lachey makes a cameo. Oh man, this could so be that come-out-of-nowhere cult classic. Or it could be on Blockbuster shelves in, like, three days. Hang on. Did you say that Simon Rex also has a cameo? That does it. Blockbuster, clear some space in the Lucy Liu section. You're gonna need it!