So far as the multiplex is concerned, summer has been over for precisely three weeks — that is, the amount of time the number one slot of the weekend box office charts has been held by The Help.
Typically, this is one of the only awesomely unpredictable stretches during the entire movie year. The franchises and reboots are dormant and it’s still a tad too early for the predictable army of Oscar contenders and also-rans.
(Not that some Oscar contenders don’t slip into the crevasse, which is why you might find The Help‘s Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer making out first drafts of their “I’d like to thank the Academy” speeches right now.)
No, this is the great “in between,” where everything is either too small to clog 6,000 screens at once with CGI tedium or too ostensibly unimportant to invite invocations of “for your consideration.”
It’s maybe my favorite time of year because everything has the capability to surprise. Everything’s a potential sleeper.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the titles hiding in plain sight this week.
Well, this one shares in common with summer movies a fixation on the current definition of masculinity. Director Evan Glodell’s gearhead action-romance hybrid (and not the Prius kind) is being hyped as the Mad Max for the post-mumblecore set, and boasts the yellowest color balance I’ve seen in a movie since Fassbinder’s World on a Wire. Could be all those belching exhaust pipes and suggestive flamethrowers. The movie is a gas, but it’s best if you approach it with an empty tank.
Life In A Day
(St. Anthony Main)
If you’ve come within a mile of any given morning TV news program at some point this summer, you’ve probably heard about this one. This is the movie wherein YouTubers were all asked one day to submit video footage illustrating how they spent their 24 hours. This is the footage that was culled together (by director Kevin MacDonald) from approximately 72,305,297,109 submissions. It aims to be a sort of 4G-era Koyaanisqatsi, but ultimately it ebbs and flows as maddeningly as any given session of YouTube Roulette. Still, it’s the movie your sort-of plugged-in aunt and uncle are going to expect you’ve seen.
And Everything Is Going Fine
The totally-not-retired-after-all Steven Soderbergh is kicking it into high gear here in the Twin Cities with two simultaneous releases. Contagion (which looks to spend much of its time decimating the population of the Twin Cities) is getting the splashy release around town, but for those who’d rather not mourn the bird-hastened passing of Gwynnie Paltrow, how about spending a little quality time with the for-real departed Spalding Gray?
Attack the Block
I’ll write more on this on Friday when it opens, but suffice it to say for now that this is the riotous, rule-breaking, rude-tempered, breakneck creature feature Shark Night 3D only wishes it were. Believe!