Friday, November 2, 2012
Video on Demand Report: Supercapitalists, Hacktivists, and Ayn Rand Make for a Fun-Filled Pre-Election Movie Night
By Tara Ariano
Just in time for Election Day, here's your chance to watch the Will Ferrell–Zach Galifianakis satire The Campaign in the comfort of your home — the very place where you may have already planned to spend the weekend pondering your political options! To be honest, "satire" is a pretty strong word for The Campaign: Though there is some pretty savage stuff in there about the Koch brothers (extremely thinly veiled versions of whom are played here by Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow, using their money to influence the titular campaign), most of what happens is pure silliness.
Though I wouldn't put The Campaign in the top tier of Will Ferrell movies, it's a serviceable entry at the level of, let's say, Talladega Nights. What put it over for me was Galifianakis's performance as Marty Huggins, a local boob thrown into the political arena by the wealthy, connected father he's pitifully desperate to please. Marty is basically a sweet idiot who's woefully ill-equipped to handle the effects that a brutal campaign will have on his personal life; if we didn't have the naive Marty to root for, The Campaign might be unwatchable for being too depressingly real.
New and Notable
The kind of writer who uses a typewriter in 2012 so that everyone knows how interesting he is (Paul Dano) makes up the perfect woman (Zoe Kazan), who comes to life and teaches him something or other, I guess.
This documentary follows several contestants in the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions — kind of like a dance Spellbound.
Oscar winner Melissa Leo plays the titular Francine, an ex-con struggling with her re-entry into society.
Danish bodybuilder Dennis (Kim Kold) goes to Thailand in the hopes of finding love — but when the escorts seem to gross him out, he meets a nice lady who owns a gym. NOTE: Despite the slightly deceptive title, Seth MacFarlane has nothing to do with this.
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists
A (lionizing) look at the hacker collective Anonymous.
Game of Life
Several Los Angeles families intersect via a youth soccer team in the kind of Crash-lite movie in which people say things like, "Get off my property, wetback."
A disturbed, alcoholic mother abuses her children based on what she thinks are instructions from God.
This financial thriller features the adventures of one of the least-beloved costumed heroes in the Marvel Comics universe. (Just kidding. Well, the "financial thriller" part is true.)
After the death of his mother, Martin (Mathieu Demy, who also wrote and directed) tries to track down Lola (Salma Hayek), the woman his mother may or may not have wanted to inherit her apartment.
Safety Not Guaranteed
When a supermarket clerk (Mark Duplass) places an ad seeking a companion for upcoming time travel, ambitious would-be journalist Aubrey Plaza poses as an applicant, only to discover that maybe he ... totally can time-travel?
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: Christmas Comedies
Now that Halloween is behind us, it's officially "the Christmas season." (If you don't believe me, go to Rite Aid and peep the many, many holiday displays that, if I'm being honest, have actually been up since mid-October.) Anyway, to get you in the spirit, Time Warner has assembled a package of holiday comedies, including Miracle on 34th Street (the original), The Nightmare Before Christmas, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, and maybe my single favorite Christmas movie of all time: Scrooged.
"In Theaters" VOD Picks
The Loneliest Planet
A backpacking trip through Eastern Europe goes awry for Gael García Bernal and Hani Furstenberg, though the specifics of what happen are — for once — not telegraphed in the trailer. Spooky!
Good grief, another found-footage horror film? This one revolves around a disease outbreak from a compromised water supply.
Early VOD Premieres of the Week
Casino robbers Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde are separated post-heist, whereupon she falls in with the son of a retired sheriff (Charlie Hunnam). Things don't seem to get better from there.
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
Bride Felicity Jones pines for Attack the Block's Luke Treadaway — who happens to not be her fiancé — in what looks to be an elegant British version of The Notebook (minus the sad old people).
Lay the Favorite
Rebecca Hall, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and director Stephen Frears slum it in this goofy Vegas-set crime comedy its producers clearly hope you think is based on something by Elmore Leonard (which it isn't). How goofy? Bruce Willis plays a guy named Dink.
Wasted on the Young
Find out how edgy teen drama has evolved in Australia since Puberty Blues.
Probably in the hopes of capitalizing on Maggie Grace's Taken 2 fame, this movie — the trailer for which went up on YouTube almost three years ago — is finally getting released in front of human eyes.
Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
Though the recent film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged may have looked awful, here's the only way Atlas Shrugged could be made even more unbearable: Wherein it's used as the basis for a "documentary" (right-wing polemic) touting the "validity of its dire prediction for America."