It’s really been a rough stretch for me when it comes to doing these, because there really hasn’t been anything to get excited about for a while now. The most I’ve been able to muster has been a, “Eh, that might not be that bad,” or a, “Maybe I’ll use a pass on that in a few weeks.” We’re close enough to awards season that studios want to hold off on the really good stuff a little longer, I get that, but where are the surprises? The sleeper hits? The films slipping into a less-crowded marketplace so they can find an audience? It feels like everyone’s content to give up and throw whatever out there until a more prestigious time of year. Or maybe this is when it was decided to release all of the movies that just aren’t for me.
Like Battle of the Year. This is not in fact the gripping story of a year-long battle involving tanks or knights or spaceships or anything like that. Instead, it’s pretty young people dancing. I am neither pretty nor young, nor do I dance. This is a seismic convergence of things about which I do not care. Good on you if this is your thing, but unless you’ve got “Step Up” in your title, the box office hasn’t been all that kind to dance films. Then again, looking at the budget, it ain’t gonna take much for this to be a success. And never underestimate the appeal of good-looking people jumping around and grinding on-screen. It won’t do low-budget horror movie numbers, but don’t be surprised it if makes its budget back pretty quickly.
Prisoners falls firmly into the “might not be that bad” camp. The trailers have featured plenty of earnest emoting from Hugh Jackman while seemingly showing us the first two-thirds of the film. Which probably means they think they have one hell of a third act twist to make up for giving away so much of the film beforehand. If it’s a good twist that gets people talking for the right reasons, that could give this a definite boost. If it’s a dumb twist like several of M. Night Shyamalan’s films, lock this up in the basement. Me, I’m waiting to hear one way or the other before I commit, although it’s been getting some pretty decent reviews, so maybe I finally have something to only be slightly disinterested over.
There’s also a limited 3D IMAX release of The Wizard of Oz for what’s being called the film’s 75th anniversary, even though that’s not until next year. But why let chronological accuracy get in the way of a good promotional tag? I’d be more excited for this without the 3D aspect; the film is so bright and colorful, I shudder to think what those glasses will do to it. But you’ve got to give people a reason to go out to the theater to see this when they can just watch it at home. Aside from it being a classic that deserves to be seen on a big screen, that is.
So two films I’m pretty much meh about, and one I love they’ve managed to turn me away from thanks to newfangled technology. Thanks a lot, Hollywood.