Today’s date always makes me laugh. When I was working front lines in the theme park, 11-1 was the code we used for a ride breaking down. So November 1st has had a connotation of mishap for me. Which makes it even harder to take all that seriously the films coming out today. Especially when I really just want it to be November 8th already so I can see Thor: The Dark World. Which has nothing to do with the fact that 11-8 meant the ride was back up and running again. That’s just a bit of serendipity.
So. Free Birds. Yeah. Time travelling turkeys. It’s got an alliterative premise, I’ll give them that. It’s got a decent voice or two in the cast. But everything else about this movie screams direct-to-video Pixar knockoff. And really, aren’t you just asking for trouble releasing a movie about turkeys? You’re practically writing the reviews for the critics if the movie turns out bad. I mean, it’s way too easy to misread that poster as, “The greatest movie turkey of all time.” This might draw in some families looking for Thanksgiving-themed distraction, but there’s a better kid-centric film out this week. I have a feeling the turkey pun race in the reviews is going to be more fun than the movie itself.
Somebody really wanted me to see Last Vegas. I got no less than three invites to advanced screenings for this thing, none of which I could bring myself to attend. So either they really think they have something here and want to get the word of mouth going, or they figure at least people will see the trailers for the other movies in front of this and maybe want to go see those at some point. This is another in the long string of “Aw, the elderly are just like people!” movies where we’re supposed to find it hilarious that anyone over the age of 60 isn’t just sitting around waiting to die. And the sad thing is that I like every one of the actors in this, all of whom are capable of doing good work in good movies. Hopefully the paychecks they get from this will allow them to do a few.
Ender’s Game really feels like it should have been an 80s movie. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but I don’t recall anything in it that was beyond the special effects of the time, and it feels like it belongs in that era of science fiction films. I would have loved to have seen what a post-Return of the Jedi ILM could have done with this. And time has worn the shine off the book for a lot of people, something that hadn’t happened yet back then. But author Orson Scott Card, besides having some — to put it kindly — questionable political views, has been pretty protective of his most famous creation, so here we are 28 years later. Nothing about this looks all that terrible, but nothing is wowing me either, especially since I’ve read the book and know how the story plays out. Still, it’s got Harrison Ford, albeit giving the one performance he seems capable of these days, and Ben Kingsley all covered in tribal tattoos. And not a turkey to be found.