What does it say about the state of Hollywood right now that, for two weeks in a row, the best bet for a good time at the movies is a re-release of an older film? I get that we’re in kind of a fallow period right now, with kids all back in school and adults all out of time off until the holidays, but people do still go to the movies on weekends, you know. Throw us a bone here.
To be fair, there is one sector being thrown a bone this weekend, thanks to Last Ounce of Courage, one of those earnestly wholesome films that seems to think we still live in the 1950s or something. Every write-up I’ve seen for this film has been sure to mention the Three Fs of this pseudo-genre: faith, family and freedom. The trailer couldn’t wrap itself up in the flag any more if it were a flag pole on a windy day, and it’s pretty telling that the vox populi singing the film’s praises in the trailer are all good old-fashioned white people. Somehow I doubt this film is going to acknowledge its title’s relationship to the lyrics of “The Impossible Dream,” since that would mean acknowledging it owes a debt to a musical about a foreigner. But there’s an audience for jingoistic fluff like this, and I’m sure it’ll be a big hit in Christian bookstores everywhere.
Those Christians might be wondering just what God has against us, seeing as he’s somehow allowed a fifth Resident Evil film to be released. But believe it or not, the previous entry, Resident Evil: Afterlife, made nearly $300 million worldwide. So now the series takes its Retribution on us, mostly by giving Paul W.S. Anderson a chance to direct again. I’ve never played any of the video games or seen any of the movies, so I couldn’t begin to tell you what the hell is going on here, beyond it’s got Milla Jovovich once again keeping the leather industry in business, and something about zombies/monsters/whatever. The whole thing is basically an excuse for a bunch of pretty people to do bad-ass things while hoping we don’t remember how much better The Matrix did all this thirteen years ago.
Meanwhile, Pixar has no problem reminding us how much better they are by re-releasing their classic Finding Nemo in 3D. As much as I love the film — I ranked it at #2 in my countdown of Pixar films earlier this year — I can’t see myself paying the extra cash to see it again in 3D. Although if any kind of film can be successfully post-converted into the format, it’s a computer animated film. For one, the whole thing exists on a hard drive somewhere, so it can be easily manipulated. But animated films tend to have an artificial sense of depth to begin with, going back to the traditional hand-drawn style where they literally piled the elements one on top of the other. And I can see the appeal of the amazingly lush backgrounds of Nemo being presented with that added depth. Just not enough to favor this over a re-watch at home. Still, if you — or your little ones — have never seen it theatrically, it’s easily your best option out there.
And then comes temptation. Flush from the wonderfully exhilarating experience of seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX last week, it’s taking every ounce of restraint on my part not to plunk down the $25 for the marathon showing of all four Indiana Jones movies taking place tomorrow. It would take up a large chunk of my day, I’ve just seen Raiders, and I fear I’d be hard-pressed to sit through Kingdom of the Crystal Skull again. Besides, I’ll likely be spending that same $25 for the Blu-ray collection that drops next week. Still, hearing a theater filled with that fanfare for eight hours would be pretty spectacular. I just wish it was something new that had me that excited.