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Welcome to the MovieDruid!

The MovieDruid actually started as an inside joke between my wife and I as we looked at the weekly releases each week.  We are extreme movie buffs.  Our DVD collection is a little insane, we go to at least one movie practically every week, and, to top it all off, we were even married in a restored Art Deco movie theater (still one of our favorites).

The weekly e-mail I sent my wife eventually started popping around until I was sending it to a fair number of people.  The MovieDruid used to have his own blog, but it got away from me and went defunct.  Thus, Thursday is going to be MovieDruid day here at the Jungle Gym.

What does that mean?  Well, highlight the nationally released films for the week including links to a trailer and a synopsis and then give you my take on the potential of the film.  I’ll usually select one film a week as a Pick of the Week as well.

So, sit back and enjoy…

Bandslam

Trailer

Synopsis: When gifted singer-songwriter Charlotte Banks asks new kid in town Will Burton to manage her fledgling rock band, she appears to have just one goal in mind: go head-to-head against her egotistical musician ex-boyfriend, Ben, at the biggest event of the year, a battle of the bands. Against all odds, their band develops a sound all its own with a real shot at success in the contest. Meanwhile, romance brews between Will and Sam, who plays a mean guitar and has a voice to die for. When disaster strikes, it’s time for the band to make a choice: Do they admit defeat, or face the music and stand up for what they believe in?

MovieDruid’s Comments: I’m a little leery of comedies in general.  It’s not that I have no sense of humor, I just find that most comedies are just not very smart cinema.  There are exceptions, but I daresay this doesn’t appear to be one.  This looks like just another of the endless stream of teen comedies that have been spawned by Disney and the evils of Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, and High School Musical (this one even stars Vanessa Hudgens for goodness sake).  If the Disney Channel factory pumps out prodict to your taste, this one is probably for you.  Otherwise, I would steer clear.

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

Trailer

Synopsis: Who is Don Ready? Salesman? Lover? Song Stylist? Semi-professional dolphin trainer? Ready is all of the above–except for a dolphin trainer. When he’s asked to help save an ailing local car dealership from bankruptcy, Ready and his ragtag crew descend on the town of Temecula like a pack of coyotes on a basket full of burgers. Selling, drinking, selling and going to strip clubs is their stock and trade. And they do it well. What Don doesn’t expect is to fall in love and find his soul (cue heartfelt piano).

MovieDruid’s Comments: OK, I just get finished saying I’m not a comedy guy and this comes across my plate.  This one has decent credentials in the director, Neal Brennan, who was a writer for Chapelle’s show and, thus,must be pretty damn funny.  But, the centerpiece here is Jeremy Piven (“Grosse Pointe Blank” & “The Family Man”) an actor I feel is highly underrated and underused in Hollywood.  It is nice to see him getting a role front and center on the big screen to bring his unique comedic voice to the fore.  With the supporting cast including Ving Rhames (“Mission: Impossible” & “Pulp Fiction”) and Josh Brolin (“No Country For Old Men” & “Bed Of Roses”) this one shows some real promise.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Trailer

Synopsis: Clare has been in love with Henry her entire life. She believes they are destined to be together, even though she never knows when they will be separated: Henry is a time traveler–cursed with a rare genetic anomaly that causes him to live his life on a shifting timeline, skipping back and forth through his lifespan with no control. Despite the fact that Henry’s travels force them apart with no warning, Clare desperately tries to build a life with her one true love.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Before I even begin to address this movie, let me say this.  If you have not read this book you are doing yourself a disservice.  It was one of the best novels I have read in the past few years.  Now, with that out of the way, on to the movie.  The casting in this film is breathtakingly solid.  Rachel McAdams (“State of Play” & “Mean Girls”) has proven that she is ready to take on more mature roles recently and Eric Bana (“Troy” & “Munich”) has shown an uncanny ability to deliver well nuanced performances, even when the script is bad (yes, I’m looking at you “Hulk”).  That shouldn’t be a problem here, though, as this story is a well crafted one that will tug at evey emotion in your spectrum.  I would consider this a must see.

Ponyo

Trailer

Synopsis: “Ponyo” is a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” in which a young and overeager goldfish named Ponyo seeks to become human.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I am an animation fan overall.  In fact I think the best cinematic news of the century was that Disney bought Pixar out and put John Lasseter in charge of the animation studios again.  (He may have directed some of Pixar’s best CGI films, but he’s a traditional guy at heart, thus we get “The Princess & The Frog this year.)  I have a special place in my heart for anime, one of the greatest gifts Japan has given us.  Now, I understand that things like “Akira” and “Vampire Hunter D” aren’t for everyone, but Hayao Miyazaki is a different kind of anime director.  There is a reason he is called the Walt Disney of Japan.  Don’t believe me check out “Spirited Away,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” or “Castle In The Sky.”  If you enjoy family friendly animation, general animation, anime, or just a well crafted film I would recommend checking this one out.  One final point, it has been dubbed with a cast of Hollywood stars, but occasionally an art house theater will play it both dubbed and subtitled.  If you can, check out the subtitled version, it is almost always superior.

District 9 – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: More than 20 years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth. Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa’s District 9 as the world’s nations argued over what to do with them. Now, patience over the alien situation has run out. Control over the aliens has been contracted out to Multi-National United (MNU), a private company uninterested in the aliens’ welfare – they will receive tremendous profits if they can make the aliens’ awesome weaponry work. So far, they have failed; activation of the weaponry requires alien DNA. The tension between the aliens and the humans comes to a head when an MNU field operative, Wikus van der Merwe, contracts a mysterious virus that begins changing his DNA. Wikus quickly becomes the most hunted man in the world, as well as the most valuable — he is the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology. Ostracized and friendless, there is only one place left for him to hide: District 9.

MovieDruid’s Comments: OK, I admit it, I’m a geek.  I love my sci-fi and revel in any chance to experience what looks like quality sci-fi cinema.  However, as incredibly good as this movie looks from a purely geeked out point of view. (I mean, Peter Jackson of “Lord of the Rings” fame produced it).  This film looks like the sci-fi veneer is merely the surface.  Oh, I understand many movie-goers will see a sci-fi flick with aliens and such and won’t probe much deeper, but step back and look at this one for a moment.  What we have here is a film that is rife with possibilities for social commentary on racism, corporate greed, humanitarian issues, and just general sociological study.  The filmmakers have an opportunity to make social commentary while entertaining, a fairly common thing.  The trick here is will they beat us over the head with the issues or will they use a modicum of subtlety and let the elegance of their craft speak for them?  Let’s hope for the latter.

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One Comment

  1. Welcome back Movie Druid, I missed you.


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