What I’d Watch 11/20/15

And now the gloves are off.  Every week we’ve got big guns coming out straight through the end of the year, as studios try to get you to take time out from silly things like your family and holidays and part with your hard-earned cash.  And if they can get some awards attention on top of it, all the better.

mv5bmje0odu1nde0ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzc4njc3nje-_v1_uy222_cr00150222_alSpeaking of awards attention, The Secret in Their Eyes seems factory crafted to get it.  To the point where the trailers have seemed more like Generic Oscar Caliber Film than anything really all that interesting.  It’s got a powerhouse cast — Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor — and an Oscar pedigree (the Argentinian original won the Best Foreign Language Film award), so you’d think there’d be more of a buzz about this, but, aside from those trailers, I haven’t seen much else about it.  So it all adds up to what looks like a very noble, very prestigious, very … kinda there movie.  That’s going to have lots of trouble competing with the heavy hitters opening around it.

mv5bmtkyndy1odqwnv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnza2mjuwnze-_v1_uy222_cr00150222_alSeth Rogen has sort of entered Will Farrell territory for me.  You know pretty much exactly what you’re going to get from him in every movie he’s in.  The question is how much of it the film is going to ask you to watch, and whether that’s too much or just right.  So far, it looks like Rogen’s in the Goldilocks zone with The Night Before, where he’s the seasoning rather than the entire meal.  And I’m a little more tolerant of Rogen’s bemused cluelessness than Farrell’s roaring infantilism, so this has that going for it.  Plus it’s the lone Christmas-themed film coming out this season, and it actually looks funny.  Good enough for me.

mv5bnjqzndi2ntu1ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwntaymdq5nje-_v1_uy222_cr00150222_alBut everyone is going to show up this week to see what finally happens the Hunger Games franchise.  Not that the first part put me in any particular hurry to find that out, beyond simple curiosity as to where they take this.  And what good parts from the book they shunted off into Mockingjay — Part 2, because the previous film was the very definition of protracted set-up.  It was a movie that existed solely because the studio decided four films were better than three, not for any narrative reason, and it felt like it.  Hopefully this is some sort of fitting grand finale, and honestly, the films have gotten more interesting the further they leave behind the nonsensical event that gives them their title.  But I’m out here by myself on the enthusiasm spectrum.  There are legions of Hunger Games fans who will make this the runaway #1 this weekend.

Next week we get some Wednesday releases ahead of Turkey Day, and it’s another rich crop.  Hopefully I’ll have some room left in my eyeballs for the actual Turkey Day.  And I don’t mean Thanksgiving, but the renewed annual tradition of Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s Turkey Day marathon.  Joel Hodgson’s been running the marathon online for the past two years, and this year brings us six more fond trips back up to the Satellite of Love.  Hodgson has also started a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign to produce new episodes of the show, which is great in theory, but we’ve seen a lot of beloved properties come back and find that it’s really hard to sustain the magic after a lengthy break.  Still, for twelve hours next Thursday at least, it’ll be like MST3K never left.


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