Spooky flicks send us into winter

By Hoang-Mai Hong

Hark! Good movies be on the horizon! Almost! It’s getting closer to American Thanksgiving, that time of year when studios begin to roll out their finest fillies for award season. But sadly, it is always darkest before the dawn, and before we can see such gems The Soloist, starring Robert Downey Jr., and The Road, a post-apocalyptic film based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy– both of which were inexplicably pushed back from Nov. 21– we have to make do with the Halloween movie season.

All-Hallows eve and the seemingly hungover weekend following it will see the release of such quality horror titles like The Haunting of Molly Hartley, which strategically stars members of the casts of Gossip Girl and 90210, and Repo! The Genetic Opera, which has the dubious honour of being the next Paris Hilton vehicle. Of course, you could easily forgo these frights in favour of a Rocky Horror Halloween at the Plaza Theatre. Screenings are Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at 9:30 p.m. and midnight.

Some other appealing, non-horror options for Oct. 31 include Guy Ritchie’s return to the rough, tumble and occasionally amusing underworld of London in RocknRolla. Expect pretty much the same premise as in his previous successes Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but substitute Gerard Butler for Jason Statham. Also out that day are Zach and Miri Make a Porno, Kevin Smith’s comedic attempt in the post-Judd Apatow world and surprisingly enough an Oscar horse, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich and Guy Ritchie.

Before the bluster of next week, make sure to check out the quieter films being released Friday. They include this year’s little-film-that-could on the festival circuit, Happy-Go-Lucky, telling the story of a north London school teacher (the up-and-coming Sally Hawkins) who gets by on an insane amount of optimism and kindness in her very dreary life. The movie itself has been compared to Amelie in terms of happiness, quirkiness and lovability. The same could arguably be said of writer-director Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich), but maybe minus the happy. His next project, Synechdoche, New York looks like another interesting tale about a fictionalized version of himself, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and his writing process. America’s sweetheart and sporting victim of a really bad, public breakup, Anne Hathaway, also has a movie out this week, the conventional sounding thriller Passengers following her Oscar touted performance in last week’s release, Rachel Getting Married.

A handful of sub-par, under-promoted titles such as Role Models– which could be good for a laugh with Paul Rudd starring and manning the writing helm– kiddie-flick Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, featuring the vocal talents of Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and Sasha Baron Cohen, and Soul Men, the final film of Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes, will be released Nov. 7. They play two bickering, soul-singing legends that reunite for a performance at the Apollo Theater to honour their recently deceased band leader.

On Nov. 11, the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers hosts their continuing Classic Film Series, a free event that runs every second Tuesday of every month. This month’s theme will be psychological warfare.

November 14 will see the much anticipated release of the next James Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. Hopefully the pseudo-okay theme by Jack White and Alicia Keys isn’t any indication of the film’s quality itself. Baz Luhrmann comes out of hiding in his first film since Moulin Rouge with his epic love letter to his homeland, Australia, on the same day. It stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman as lovers in the dangerous frontier times of settlement.

Many a teenage female heart, both actual and metaphorical, will be sent a fluttering with the release of Twilight on Nov. 21. Along with the all-out soap opera spectacle that comes with vampires and repressed teenage lust, expect some bad production values to up the ante on the guilty pleasure level. If that’s not your cup of tea, keep posted on moviesthatmatter.org for the announcement of MTM’s next monthly documentary premiere, which should be around that week.

Lastly, for some previously missed-out-on films on the SU’s dime, check out Cinemania Mondays in ICT 102. Son of Rambow, the seriously adorable British children’s movie about two unlikely friends who make their own film– picture School of Rock meets Michel Gondry’s Be Kind, Rewind– screens Oct. 27 and the stoner buddy comedy Pineapple Express plays Nov. 17.

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