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Welcome back, everyone.

I hope everyone had a great summer.  I say “had,” of course because we have made it to Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of the summer season.  This summer season has been a bit f a roller-coaster at the cinema.  But, I have a bit of hope that the fall lineup will give us some gems.

So, everyone get out and have a last hurrah this weekend before we move out of the summer and into the days of school activities, 3rd and 4th quarter project panic, and (hopefully) cooling temperatures.

Let’s see what Hollywood has on offer this week…

“The American”

Trailer

Synopsis: As an assassin, Jack is constantly on the move and always alone. After a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, Jack retreats to the Italian countryside. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town. While there, Jack takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact, Mathilde. Savoring the peaceful quietude he finds in the mountains of Abruzzo, Jack accepts the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues a torrid liaison with a beautiful woman, Clara. Jack and Clara’s time together evolves into a romance, one seemingly free of danger. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.

MovieDruid’s Comments: This one actually opened yesterday, and I had the opportunity to catch a screening.  My full review will go up next Wednesday as usual, but let me state a few details.  First, the film was lackluster in almost every phase.  The writing and directing in particular had the snobbish feel of the films by foreign directors who think American audiences simply don’t “get” their “art.”  The pacing was nerve-wracking in its meandering nature.  I just couldn’t recommend this film at all.   I think the thing that irritates me the most here is the marketing makes this look like a taut thriller.  It is not, take my word for it, Hollywood is playing a shell game again.

“Going The Distance”

Trailer

Synopsis: Erin’s wry wit and unfiltered frankness charm newly single Garrett over beer, bar trivia and breakfast the next morning. Their chemistry sparks a full-fledged summer fling, but neither expects it to last once Erin heads home to San Francisco and Garrett stays behind for his job in New York City. Yet, neither is sure they want it to end. Meanwhile, Garrett’s friends don’t like losing their best drinking buddy to yet another rocky romance, and Erin’s high-strung, overprotective married sister, Corrine, wants to keep Erin from heading down an all-too-familiar road. But, despite the opposite coasts, the nay-saying friends and family, and a few unexpected temptations, the couple just might actually go the distance.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Yet another romantic-comedy.  These things seem to be coming out with greater and greater frequency recently.  The problem is that Hollywood doesn’t really have many new ideas in this genre so we keep getting films that are little bits and pieces of recycled ideas.  But, in this case it appears to somehow come together.  Maybe it is the vision of a fresh voice in director Nanette Burstein, whose previous credits are all documentaries.  Maybe it is the apparent on-screen chemistry between Justin Long (“Jeepers Creepers” & “Waiting”) and Drew Barrymore (“The Wedding Singer” & “Charlie’s Angels”).  Whatever it is, the film seems to have an element that feels fresher than the worn concepts would seem to allow.

“Machete” (MovieDruid Pick of the Week)

Trailer

Synopsis: After being nearly killed during a violent fight with a powerful drug lord, a Mexican Federale known as Machete roams Texas streets as a vigilante and sometime day-laborer. Hired by a corrupt senator to perform a covert hit, Machete is double-crossed and forced to go on the run. Machete may be down, but not out, and he carves a path of blood, bullets and broken hearts in a mission to settle the score.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I love Robert Rodriguez (“Desperado” & “Sin City”).  He is a director that brings some fresh perspective to the old school genres.  (And, of course, he is practically a directorial blood brother with another favorite of mine, Quentin Tarantino.)  With this one Rodriguez looks to take the formula he started with films like “Desperado” and give them even a bit more edge.  And he appears to be doing it with the same storytelling panache and visual style that are the hallmark’s of his work.  Of course, this time he has a great pool of talent to work with that includes Danny Trejo (“xXx” & “The Replacement Killers”), Jessica Alba (“Sin City” & “Good Luck Chuck”), Michelle Rodriguez (“The Fast & the Furious” & “Avatar”), Steven Seagal (“Above the Law” & “Fire Down Below”), Cheech Marin (“The Lion King” & “Tin Cup”), Robert DeNiro (“The Untouchables” & “Taxi Driver”), Don Johnson (“In Pursuit of Honor” & “Goodbye Lover”), and Jeff Fahey (“Wyatt Earp” & “Silverado”).

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