Ken Harrison 11:30 a.m., July 29
Opening this week
I'm scared. If those zany Mayans are right and the world does come to an end tomorrow, that means the last movie I'll ever see will be Parental Guidance. Or maybe by "the end of the world," the Mayans knew that a new Billy Crystal film was going to open on 12/21/12. I'm banking on a bigger disaster than anything the Mayans were cooking up. It screens tonight and If I survive -- the film, not the Mayan apocalypse -- my review will post this weekend.
Parental Guidance isn't the only alleged comedy opening this week. Barbara Streisand rides shotgun for Seth Rogen in the cutesy road movie, The Guilt Trip. Albert Brooks returns, unfortunately under the "direction" of Judd Apatow, in This Is 40, or as my buddy John Schultz called it, This is 40...Minutes too Long.
This year's most anticipated Christmas Day release is Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. For its first half, Django is a loopy mix of Blazing Saddles and Mandingo, but once they arrive at Candyland the non-stop dialog kicks in and at 141 minutes it drags on to an unavoidable blood bath. Not a bad film, but QT fails to do to slave owners what he did to Nazis in Inglorious Basterds.
California Solo opens today at Landmarks Ken Cinema. Matthew was mixed: "Despite a couple of flat attempts at pathos, the feeling is right: the crushing weight of the mundane on a man who flirted with greatness in the past and who must now make peace with the present."
I was initially assigned the task of reviewing Les Miserables. Cut out "Les"; this thing is miserable. There are more close-ups of sweaty heads lunging at the camera than you're likely to find in a POV porn. Why spend millions to construct elaborate sets only to film nostrils? After 30 minutes I was out the door. My partner took the bullet earlier this week, so watch The Big Screen .for Matthew's review.
The French drama Rust and Bone debuts at the Landmark Hillcrest. For those who deem Christmas meaningless without a new Tom Cruise blockbuster, there's Jack Reacher. Both films screened after our print deadline, so watch The Big Screen for reviews.
Other openings include Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D. It sure would be nice if one of our loyal readers gave Matt and I a Christmas gift by covered this for us. That's the only way you'll find a review of it in this space.
And if you are feeling particularly daring, Tales of the Maya Skies continues at the Reuben Fleet Science Center.
Merry Christmas, everybody, and Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends.