Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where the Wild Things Aren't

I've never read Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are," not even as a kid, and I'll understand if you never return to this blog after learning that little factoid (though I will be a little hurt). To make matters worse, all day today I could not access the newly released trailer for Spike Jonze's film adaptation that debuted on this morning's episode of "The Ellen Degeneres Show." In short, where the wild things are not is in my virtual possession.

But, fear not, dear readers. I finally, finally have tracked down the full-length preview, which paints the film as about as dreamy an offering as one could hope for in 2009 (and that's coming from an uninitiated viewer). I often put little faith in vast expansions of short stories (everyone can't be "Brokeback Mountain"), but stick a real visionary like Jonze behind the camera, and you can end up with something really special. "Where the Wild Things Are," shot primarily in the reliably picturesque realm of New Zealand, certainly looks like one of those somethings. I've got the trailer here. Now I've just got to swallow my pride and ask one of the bajillions who've read the book if I can borrow it. Wish me luck.

Vera and Peter and Demonic Daughter, Oh My!

Swirling the print rags (EW) and movie trailer websites ( are peeks at the latest child-as-killer thriller, "Orphan," starring two of my favorite on-the-sidelines scene stealers, Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard. You may recall that Farmiga dabbled in this exact genre not two years ago in George Ratliff's pooryly received "Joshua" opposite Sam Rockwell. This time out, the kid's a little older, the stakes are a little higher and Farmiga's costar is a little more Movie Buddy-friendly (Sarsgaard's had my full attention since his fiery, Oscar-worthy turn in 2003's "Shattered Glass").

Farmiga and Sarsgaard play a tragedy-stricken couple (they lost their last baby) who add to their growing brood (they've got two other kids) by adopting a nine-year-old girl named Esther. Esther's got issues that would make Damien proud and, before long, tragedy strikes the couple again at the hand of the wicked youngster.

Sound familiar? Of course it does, in an every-movie-involving-evil-kids sort of way. But Farmiga, insisting she's not a one-trick pony (as if we needed confirmation), claims that "Orphan" isn't your average "Omen" spawn, saying she "shrieked" when she finished the script and just had to sign on to do the film.

I'll agree that some parts of the trailer (such as an implied mother-kills-child accident and a much-emphasized "secret") look -- let's just admit it -- dramatically promising. But the rest of this project has a reeking generic odor, and makes me wonder even more why these two wildly talented thesps aren't nabbing some more um, prestigious, work. The pairing is exciting enough to make me eventually seek this one out on DVD, but not in theaters, a deal sealed by the silly, obligatory jump-scare that pops up at the end of the prevew. When the devil will that stop?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Movie Preview

Greetings, kids! Long time, no postage. Your Movie Buddy has been mighty busy, working like a madman and traveling the globe. I just returned from a fantabulous vacation in Rome, which will undoubtedly factor into some juicy future posts.

For now, sink your teeth into my Spring Movie Preview, which ran last week in lieu of a review (one can't see many films when touring ancient ruins). Act fast, because a few of the titles come out tomorrow, giving the list an oh-so-short shelf life. The clock is ticking...which spring flicks are worth your time and $$$???

CLICK HERE (and please forgive the somewhat messy layout. Don't make me pull the jet lag card).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Viva Pedro

Since I need the work of Pedro Almodovar like I need oxygen, you could say I'm more than a little excited for his latest, "Broken Embraces," which stars newly-crowned Oscar-winner Penelope Cruz and arrives this year. What's it about? I'm not quite sure and I don't care. Almodovar is perhaps the only filmmaker whose name is all I need to seal the deal. Here's the teaser for his new delectable creation: