Vacation's over. With the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading opening tomorrow, the fall movie season swings into high gear. I'm ready. But first I need to vent about a few things. Don't get me started about the following topics:
1.That Nic Cage's stinkfest Bangkok Dangerous is a hit because this week it was No. 1 at the box-office. It made $7.8 million on a dead weekend, people, that's a crummy figure for a crummy movie.
2.That Anna Faris isn't getting a fraction of the credit she deserves for putting butts into seats for The House Bunny. She was fab on Entourage playing herself, but as a Playboy bunny sent out to pasture she showed that her comic skills and goshdarn cuteness could carry a movie that wasn't Scary.
3.That Traitor, the Don Cheadle spy movie, is getting attention it so doesn't deserve — talk about a premise that doesn't pay off.
4.That some people aren't seeing Elegy, Isabel Coixet's blistering screen version of Philip Roth's novel The Dying Animal, because they don't want to see Ben Kingsley macking on Penelope Cruz. Grow up.
5.That Mickey Rourke is supposed be scoring a "comeback" on the festival circuit for The Wrestler. Who doesn't love The Mick? But a comeback? Please. He was killer good in Sin City and that was just a freakin three years ago.
6.That it doesn't give you bad vibes that Oliver Stone's w, with Josh Brolin as the sitting (hopefully, not for long) Prez, isn't screening or on the festival circuit.
7.That it doesn't give you good vibes that Kathryn Bigelow's war film, The Hurt Locker, was picked up for distribution by Summit when everyone else ran scared from the the box-office poison of Iraq-themed fare. Bigelow rocks! Near Dark, Point Break, Blue Steel, Strange Days — she makes most male directors look like pussies.
8.That the summer sucked. It didn't suck. The Dark Knight, Iron Man, WALL-E, Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder are good movies, no matter how much money they made.
9.That the year so far hasn't produced anything Oscar worthy. The Dark Knight Is Oscar worthy, so is Heath Ledger and director Christopher Nolan. The Visitor is Oscar worthy, so is its leading actor Richard Jenkins. WALL-e is Oscar worthy, and not just for animation. The documentary Man On Wire is super Oscar worthy, as is the French mystery Tell No One for Foreign Film. The performances of Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man, Tropic Thunder), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), and James Franco (Pineapple Express) are also Oscar worthy, and toss in Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder) for a nomination. You heard me.
And finally, add your own irritations at will, that indie movies are dying. Maybe the smaller companies are going out of business, but the maverick spirit isn't getting doused. This fall alone offers movies from David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) , Steven Soderbergh (Che), Gus Van Sant (Milk) and Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino). With those mavericks kicking down walls don't bury anything yet.