there, theatre lovers. Welcome to the final installment of Jahnke's
Electric Theatre, at least for awhile. Now now now, turn
that frown upside down. I'm not giving The
Electric Theatre the brush-off. It's just time for your
obedient servant to turn his attentions to some other matters. In
other words, opportunity is ever-so-softly rapping on my chamber
door and I need to swing it open and haul the bastard inside before
he realizes he got the wrong address. Unfortunately, this'll
severely cut into my hanging out at the Cineplex time and even more
severely cut into my trying to figure out what the hell to say about
what I saw at the Cineplex time. Thus, a brief hiatus is in order
for both The Electric Theatre
and The Bottom Shelf.
However, I wouldn't dare dream of leaving you all to navigate the
wilds of the upcoming fall and holiday movie seasons on your own. So
I thought I'd bang out one last entry, a guide to the movies that I
hope might not completely suck for the rest of the year. Keep in
mind that this guide is really valid only for as long as I'm typing
it. Anything could happen between now and the time these movies
creep out to make me lose interest. So if I suggest something that
turns out to be the next Battlefield
Earth, please realize that I've probably already
acknowledged my own stupidity before you hit send on your
bile-filled e-mail. Future Jahnke thanks you.
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has yet to wow me as
thoroughly as he has so many others. Neither Amores
Perros or 21 Grams
impressed me nearly as much as other folks seemed to think they
should. Babel looks like more
of the same but I'm willing to give him one more chance to really
win me over.
The Black Dahlia
Prior to L.A. Confidential, I
was of the opinion that James Ellroy's novels couldn't and shouldn't
be adapted to film. But even though Curtis Hanson hit that one out
of the park, I'm still nervous about Brian De Palma's upcoming film.
Partly this has to do with De Palma's recent track record. Mostly
it's because The Black Dahlia
is one of my personal favorites of Ellroy's books. Not because it's
his best, but because it was the first one I read. This could turn
out to be awful but as long as the Brian De Palma who gave us The
Untouchables is behind the camera, and not the Brian De
Palma who gave us Mission to Mars,
I'm cautiously optimistic.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of
America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Just typing that title makes me laugh. The trailer for this movie
is one of the first in many a year to make me laugh out loud. A lot.
If I only get to see one more movie this year, I'd make it this one.
I'm a big Bond fan. Read all the books. Loved them. Seen all the
movies. Loved them too, even the ones that really truly suck. Now
we've got Daniel Craig getting his license to kill. I don't know
about the rest of you but I think he looks fantastic and the trailer
makes this seem like it could be one of the best in the series.
Children of Men
I was totally unaware of this movie's existence until about two
weeks ago and now, I can't wait to check it out. I love low-tech
sci-fi movies and the vibe of this one looks to be right in line
with some of my favorites. Add in the fact that it's directed by
Alfonso Cuaron of Y Tu Mama Tambien
fame (I guess he also directed a Harry
Potter entry that was pretty good) and that it stars
Clive Owen, one of my favorite brooding British actors, and you've
got a movie that stands a good chance of knocking my socks off.
I haven't seen Infernal Affairs,
the Hong Kong action movie this is a remake of, and know just a
little bit about the story. But the promise of Jack Nicholson
finally starring in a Martin Scorsese picture is enough to get me in
the theatre. This could be a remake of Rebecca
of Sunnybrook Farm for all I care, I'd still go.
Fast Food Nation
I loved Eric Schlosser's nonfiction book with this title and I'm
fascinated to see how he and director Richard Linklater will make it
into a movie that covers the same ground while at the same time
having virtually nothing to do with the text itself.
Flags of Our Fathers
Clint Eastwood is far too good a filmmaker to dismiss any new
project he decides to do. So despite my slight antipathy toward
seeing yet another World War II picture, I'll be checking this out.
For Your Consideration
Christopher Guest and company tackle the indie film scene. Not
enough to make this a must-see for you? How about Ricky Gervais as a
studio head? Still no? Then I have nothing more to say to you.
It's been another seven years, so it's time for Michael Apted to
return to the endlessly fascinating group of Britons we first met
back when they were just 7 years old. If you've seen any of the
previous entries in this series you'll know that this as close to a
sure thing as you're going to find in theatres this year.
Since he's only made two other pictures, I can't in good conscience
call Darren Aronofsky one of my favorite filmmakers. But so far he's
proven himself capable of blending real emotion, big ideas and
technical virtuosity at a level few of his contemporaries can touch.
I look forward to seeing what he can do with a canvas as big as this
The Good German
It just wouldn't be Christmas if I couldn't get my man-love for
George Clooney on. He's back with Steven Soderbergh for this
black-and-white drama with a heavy Third
Man feel to it. I am officially intrigued.
OK, I'll admit... truthfully, I think this looks really bad. But
it's directed by George Miller, the genius whose too-infrequent
works include Babe: Pig in the City
(an underrated gem, thank you very much) and the Mad
Max series. I haven't disliked a single film he's made
and can't believe for a second that he'd put so much effort into
something that he didn't believe in. Don't make me look like an
idiot here, George.
Truth be told, I'm mainly interested in seeing this because of my
interest in the death of George Reeves and not because of anything
inherently terrific-looking about the film itself. But Adrien Brody
and Diane Lane are capable of great things and Ben Affleck might
just surprise us all as the ill-fated Superman.
Jackass: Number Two
Yeah, yeah, whatever. I thought the first Jackass
movie was really funny. If you didn't see it or don't want to see
this one out of principle, you're a snob.
Let's Go to Prison
Will Arnett from Arrested Development
goes to prison. Bob Odenkirk from Mr.
Show directs. Ticket, please.
Director Guillermo del Toro hasn't had enough opportunities to let
his creativity run wild but on those occasions where he isn't
hamstrung by studio notes (and even on some where he is), he's one
of the most impressive dark fantasy filmmakers working today. This
looks like it might just be his best work to date.
Tom Tykwer (of Run Lola Run
and The Princess and the Warrior)
tells the tale of an 18th century perfume maker with no sense of
smell who obsessively quests to create the perfect scent. I've read
that Stanley Kubrick once wanted to make this but decided that
Patrick Suskind's novel was ultimately unfilmable. I hope Tykwer can
prove him wrong.
Christopher Nolan looks to be making something of a return to Memento
territory with this mindbender about a pair of competitive magicians
in the early years of the 20th century. I'm more than happy to
follow him there, even if I assume I will inevitably get lost at
This French animated sci-fi thriller came highly recommended to me
by my friend, fellow film critic and Hollywood man-about-town Luke
Y. Thompson, so I'll check it out on his say-so. Plus, the trailer
does make it look pretty damn cool.
Oh, like you're not curious to see it, too.
Running with Scissors
Haven't read Augusten Burroughs' memoir, though I understand just
about everybody else in the world has. But I saw the trailer and
Annette Bening looks like she's working at the top of her game, so
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
I've been waiting a long time for some muck-raking documentarian to
take on the MPAA's Ratings board. Happily, director Kirby Dick is no
mere gossip hound. He's a terrific filmmaker responsible for such
exceptional non-fiction films as Sick:
The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist
and Chain Camera. If I have
to, I'll go far out of my way to catch this one.
Despite The Brothers Grimm
(and some lackluster word of mouth on this one), I have yet to give
up on Terry Gilliam. This one reteams him with his Fisher
King star Jeff Bridges, so this could be terrific. I'm
rootin' for you, Terry.
So as you can see, there's quite a variety of movies coming your
way for the rest of 2007 and at least a couple of them have to be
worth watching. Right?
OK, before I ride off into the sunset, last time I promised to bring
along some snakes. So without further ado, allow me to present my
Snakes on a Plane
Fuckin' rocks! (* * *)
That'll do it for me, buckaroos. Thanks for coming along on the
ride so far and I hope you'll all saddle up with me again when I
relaunch The Electric Theatre: Version
2.0 in January 2007. To paraphrase Mr. Michael Palin, if
you've enjoyed reading these columns just half as much as I've
enjoyed writing them, then I've enjoyed them twice as much as you.
Dedicated to Chris Jahnke, who hated all
movies except The Cat from Outer Space and The Aristocats... we'll
"Electric Theatre - Where You See All
the Latest Life Size Moving Pictures, Moral and Refined, Pleasing to
Ladies, Gentlemen and Children!"
- Legend on a traveling moving picture show tent, c.1900