The big news, dear readers, the great news, is that Walk the Line opened last week while everyone was worrying about elections. Directed by James Mangold ( Girl, Interupted ) Walk the Line examines the early years of legendary musician Johnny Cash, particularly his scorching love of and eventual marriage to co-singer June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). It also covers Cash’s abusive father and the childhood death of his older brother, as well as some good old-fashioned substance abuse. Somewhere in there The Man in Black, played exceptionally by Joaquin Pheonix, who did all his own singing for the part, manages to sing the songs we love.
While the film plays just a tad long at 136 minutes, it is chock full of great music and fine acting, particularly by Witherspoon who totally redeems herself for the past five years of crappy romantic comedies. Oscar nominations here we come. Walk the Line is a solid, well-rounded biopic held together by the strong ties of unrelentless love. That June Carter died in early 2003 and Johnny Cash followed just three months later is the surest sign of the strength and scope of their love. Hamsters do that too – die of loneliness.
In other news, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is running strong at the theatres this week but young Harry is always accompanied by so much media hype I’m hardly even going to bother here. Let’s just say he doesn’t sleep with that smart little wizard chick in this one either. Although there are, at least, a few more puberty-infused human moments in this latest chapter of a series that’s so far been mainly Nancy Drew plots, excessive CGI and the most one-dimensional bad guy out there. It’s more of the same, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing and you know the kids will love this one.
Speaking of kids, Yours, Mine and Ours opens this week, it’s an utterly pedestrian tale about two idiot single parents that marry and attempt to make a unified family of their combined 18 kids. Full of lame slapstick humour and dull reactionary shots (many of them focused on a pig) Yours, Mine and Ours is about as much fun as getting the "Oh yeah, I’ve got herpes" phone call from your ex-girlfriend.
Sticking with painful experiences, and STDs, Rent , the famous and popular stage musical about a bunch of bohemians and junkies ekeing out an existence in an AIDS-torn NY East Village also hits theatres this Friday. The picture feels dated though. The original Rent was set in the early ’90s, but if you’re into stage musicals and emotional uplifting songs about time you probably won’t mind this Chris Columbus adaptation. If you’re a cynical bastard like me who thinks stage musicals belong on the stage (and rarely even there) you’ll skip Rent and start looking for ways to get your damage deposit back too.
Anyone looking to kill time this week might as well check out Just Friends a PG-13 comedy that doesn’t entirely suck. It’s about a fat high school kid who wants to tap his female "best friend" but, of course, never gets to and is ridiculed by everyone. Years later, he’s transformed that pain into a successful record exec. career and dropped 100 pounds when airline troubles strand him and a very Britney-esque pop star from his label back in his hometown for the holidays. He runs into the old crush and all sorts of comedy ensues. Sure, it’s nothing special but stars Ryan Reynolds ( Waiting, Van Wilder) and Amy Smart ( Road Trip, Butterfly Effect) work well together to keep it funny and entertaining. Simple, kind of dumb, yet still better than most.
AT VILLAGE 8 Nov. 25-Dec. 1: Pride and Prejudice; Just Friends; Yours Mine and Ours; Rent; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Walk the Line; Ice Harvest. Nov. 29: Grizzly Man.
AT RAINBOW THEATRE Nov. 25 and Nov. 27-Dec. 1: Saw 2. Nov. 26: Trekkin in Tibet.