Friday, February 29, 2008

29 February 2008

"have you no shame? Get your dead ass up and fight me."


The Other Boleyn Girl: Fake British Accent Off! Not original

Semi-Pro: Fake Seventies Hair Off! Original

Penelope: Fake Absurd Nose Off! Not original


The Unforeseen: Documentary about development and sprawl in Austin, TX. Original

City of Men: Not a sequel to City of God, but almost. Original

EDIT: Jesse has caught on to the fact that this is a film adaptation of a Brazilian TV series. I know that the series was created by the same man who made City of God but whether the series was a spin-off or sequel depends on what source I look at. Either way this is based on the TV series of the same name, so Not original.

Chicago 10: Documentary about the Chicago Seven... and three more, I gather. Original

Chop Shop: Thankfully, this is not related to Barber Shop or Beauty Shop. Original

the score:

week: 4-3
year: 46-17


week: 1-2
year: 16-13

note: My bet for when the unoriginal overtakes the original in wide releases is by the end of March.

Friday, February 22, 2008

22 February 2008

"You eat other people's lunches? Stop it!"


Charlie Bartlett: This movie is a little too broadly unoriginal to get labeled as such. As Roger Ebert points out, it is derivative of every teen movie from the 80's you still like. Also, extra unoriginal points for casting Robert Downey Jr. as a depressive alcoholic. Original

Be Kind Rewind: I have been told that when a movie wants to include spoofs and riffs on a whole lot of other movies you can't expect anything better than Epic Movie and its ilk. Michel Gondry heard that too, and here is his answer. I don't know if it's great, but I know it's better than anything Jason Friedberg has been a part of. Not Original

Vantage Point: Spoiler Alert! William Hurt was cast as the president specifically to suggest the success of the attempted assassination. You heard it here first. Original

Witless Protection: Actual Character Names: Larry, Elmer, Gus, Tater, Wilford, Rondog. The release of this movie and a film about presidential assassination at the same time seems to be a not-so-subtle suggestion. Original


The Signal: Actual Character Names: Random Body, Deranged People, Random Body, Dead People At Party, Screaming Man, Struggling People, Severed Woman, Chainsaw Man, Hedge Clipper Steven. Also, the premise of this "greatest cult film of all time" seems to involve a TV signal that inspires people to kill. If you're a fan of seeing people fake-killed in absurd and unpleasant ways, by all means... Original

The Duchess of Langeais: Balzac novel. Not Original

Cover: Not a lot of press or information (Coverage... he he) for Cover. Original

State Legislature: Another of Wiseman's informatively-titled documentaries. This one's about the Idaho State Legislature. Original

The Score

week: 6-2
year: 42-14


week: 3-1
year: 15-11

Note: Sunday Night is the Oscars, and the Oscar score this year for full length features in contention is 20 original and 24 not. Also, the worst Oscar nominee this year (and maybe ever) is Norbit.

Friday, February 15, 2008

15 February 2008

You boys like Mexico?!


The Spiderwick Chronicles: Arachnids are used to melt wax. Not Original

Definitely, Maybe: Perhaps, possibly... did you say Ryan Reynolds? Abso-fucking-lutely not. Original

Step Up 2 Da Streets: Because tru thugz h8 titles without numberz. Not Orignal

Jumper: Atrocious wig. Also, no emperor/Obi Wan to kill/mangle Samuel/Hayden. Based on a novel (!) Not Original


Diary of the Dead: Sort of a BlairWitcherfield of the Living Dead. Not Original

Jodhaa Akbar: My Star Wars joke quota has been reached for the week. This is about an Indian Ruler. Not Original

Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea: The title would have been shorter if it weren't for Pirates. Not Original

Vexille: Animated film built around the absurd premise that by 2077 U.N. weapons inspectors will be worth a damn. Original

The Caretaker: "A group of teenage boys out to give their girlfriends a good scare on Homecoming night, which also happens to be Halloween, head to an abandoned house in an out-of-the-way grapefruit orchard where they uncover the story of a real life urban legend, known as The Caretaker" -- OFFICIAL WEBSITE The part of this that's original is "grapefruit orchard" and "Caretaker." This is horror film as madlib. (I mean this in the least positive way possible) original

the Score:

week: 3-6
year: 36-12


week: 1-3
year: 12-10

Note: I am sure that the movie about Akbar or the movie about Genghis Khan are not only better, but more original in their execution and storytelling than The Caretaker. The two former films, however, are retellings of history while the latter is a nominally original waste of celluloid.

Friday, February 08, 2008

8 February 2008

"we are powerful despite our injuries."


Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins: James Earl Jones hasn't appeared in a theatrical release in almost eight years. His presence is not indicative, at this point, of quality. Not terribly, but officially original.

Fools Gold: There was a line in another movie with Matthew McConaughey and Donald Sutherland that seems appropriate here. It starts with "yes," and ends with "hell!" Original.

Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland: According to previews, a portion of this film is a reenactment of Swingers, which makes this movie about as original as every party I went to in my first two years of college. Like the other wide release concert-type film this year, this movie has a title that is frankly ridiculous. Nominally original.


The Hottie and the Nottie: Starring Paris Hilton. Tagline: "That's Hot. That's Not." goddammit. Cliche and shitty. Original

A Walk to Beautiful: Documentary about Ethiopian women injured in childbirth. Original.

In Brughes: I can find no link between the writer-director and Guy Ritchie. This surprises me. Original.

How to Rob a Bank: The guy from Terminator 3 and the Swimfan costar. Also, the main character is named "Jinx" Taylor (and he is not a cat). A quick peek at rottentomatoes will reveal it to be terrible. Original.

Spiral: Telemarketing. Original.

The Score:

week: 8-0
year: 33-9


week: 3-0
year: 11-7

This is the first all original week. I find this hard to believe. If anyone catches wind of some of these being secret tricksy remakes like Mad Money let me know.

Also, this might be the worst week of releases I've seen this year. The highlight is Vince Vaughn using his name to get some B-list comedian friends some attention. Any promise of the limited releases is mitigated by a Paris Hilton vehicle and the presence of Erika Christensen.

Friday, February 01, 2008


(the comic book onomatopoeia for bragging)

MUSIC: the pogues: sunny side of the street

1 February 2008

Belly up to the buzzsaw.


Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert: Generally I think concert films count as documentaries and documentaries count as original, but in this case I'm willing to make an exception. TV show inspired concerts are out. Also, I recommend that if a local theater actually displays the entire title of this film on the marquee you should never go to that theater again. Not Original

The Eye: Remake of Hong Kong's Jian Gui. Also, it stars Jessica Alba as a concert violinist who sees dead people (or something). If Jessica Alba or derivative horror remakes do it for you, by all means check this out. If, however, the concert violinist angle piques your interest, you should probably steer clear of this one. Not Original

Strange Wilderness: Happy Madison has produced the following films which do not star Adam Sandler: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Animal, Joe Dirt, Master of Disguise, The Hot Chick, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Grandma's Boy, The Benchwarmers, and Strange Wilderness. You've been warned. Original

Over Her Dead Body: Remember Ghost or Just Like Heaven or even Hello Again? The writer of this picture probably does, and, according to summaries and reviews, you will too if you watch Over Her Dead Body. Grudgingly Original


Caramel: Sex and the City in Beirut? That comment should be considered alongside the several comparisons being drawn between this film and those of Pedro Almodovar. Lebanon's official selection for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Original

The Witnesses: The War on Aids? As much as America loves to declare war on things, this is a French picture. By all accounts, it's a good and important one, so it's no surprise that I won't be able to see it until a DVD release. Original

Praying With Lior: Lior is an oddly named young man with Downs Syndrome who is touted as having a close connection to God. This is a documentary about Lior and those around him as he moves toward his bar mitzvah. Original

Vivere: From IMDB: "On Christmas Eve, Francesca sets out for Rotterdam in order to find her little sister, who has run off with her musician boyfriend. On the way, she picks up Gerlinde, a heartbroken older woman at the end of her rope." Original

The Silence Before Bach: This sucker is tough to categorize or really think about without seeing it, but since it is at least nominally a Bach biopic (as near as I can tell) it gets the unoriginal label.

Build a Ship, Sail to Sadness: Scottish musical travelogue about a mobile disco. Super-8 pseudo-documentary. Original

The Score:

week: 7-3
year: 25-9

week: 2-2
year: 8-7

Since the originality of films receiving only limited release keeps the ratio high, I thought I would start keeping track of the originality of wide release films throughout the year. This is both to more accurately represent the films that most of us actually get a chance to see in theaters and to make my hypothesis about how many unoriginal things come out look stronger.