August is the bittersweet movie month. We get a slate of blockbusters but also the knowledge that the dreaded September-October not-good-enough-for-Oscar-but-let's-market-them-that-way releases are on the way. I guess Sept-Oct. are really TV months anyway, but still.
I saw five films theatrically this month. First off, I'll comment on the anticipated comedies Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder. Yes, Pineapple was extremely violent (with no regard for human life) plus the heroes are basically deadbeats— but, I saw it as just a live-action cartoon. I think, taken in the right spirit, Pineapple is palatable and really just a goof. Tropic Thunder was a very funny outing. It seems to have many detractors. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that despite terrific performances, it really isn't a comedy classic, and maybe it ought to have been. But I just rated it on the laugh-meter, so I enjoyed it.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona saves the decade for Woody Allen. It will easily be one of the biggest commercial hits of his career, its getting Oscar buzz, and for the first time in a long time it's a Woody Allen movie with strong word-of-mouth. Now, for me, it is nowhere near Match Point level quality-wise. However, it's easily at the top of the pack of Allen's other releases in the '00s. The Larry David movie that's next up will be an interesting decade-closer for him.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Well I was wrong about this one. Which reminds me— my entire summer box office predictions were TOTALLY off! Oh well! But SW:TCW has, basically, bombed and the critics (if unjustly) savaged it. I actually really liked SW:TCW, but even I think enough is enough for the Star Wars sequels.
Lastly, I caught up with the documentary Man on Wire. A fascinating story and I like the approach. Not one you necessarily have to see theatrically, but certainly of interest.
On TCM, I caught Green For Danger, which I've been dying to see. Not quite the **** classic the Maltin guide labels it, but a gem nonetheless. Anything, just about, with Alastair Sims is worth seeing it seems. I also saw a couple of Laurel & Hardy's just cause. Swiss Miss-- very funny and Blockheads-- OK. I think Blockheads is a little more "pure" L&H, but somehow, the ones with odd locals and corny songs and subplots appeal to me more.
On HBO (I've been housesitting), I saw I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (you get what you pay for) and Disturbia (nifty and contemporary Hitchcock update, with a tongue-and-cheek over-the-top finale: probably played better theatrically though).
And, off topic, I've been tuning in to a bit of the MDA telethon-- the last vestige of vaudeville! Jerry is hanging in there. He seemed frail during the opening but has pepped up since.