directed by Ang Lee
The ever-versatile Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Hulk) tackles another unexpected subject with the true-life tale Taking Woodstock. The movie revolves around Elliot Teichberg (played by comedian Demetri Martin), an ambitious young man who works on his family’s spacious yet failing farm and wants more out of life. He comes upon the perfect opportunity, for himself and his family’s economic woes, when he discovers that the Woodstock organizers are in dire need of a new location for the not-yet-historic rock festival. Featuring a surefire supporting cast (including MM summer cover story subject Emile Hirsch, Eugene Levy and Liev Schreiber—in drag, no less), Taking Woodstock promises to be a funny, whimsical journey back to the unprecedented music festival of peace and love. Though why the movie wasn’t released two weeks earlier to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Woodstock (August 15-17) is something of a mystery.
directed by Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie’s 2007 re-imagining of the horror classic Halloween seemed to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair with audiences (though it was universally panned by critics). Yet it was apparently successful enough to spawn this sequel, which takes place immediately after the events of Zombie’s original. Fans can expect another helping of carnage served courtesy of iconic boogeyman Michael Myers (Tyler Mane), who’s eager to get his hands on his younger, considerably better-adjusted sister Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton). Bearing little resemblance to the original’s 1981 sequel (now, do we really need two movies in the history of cinema titled Halloween II?), it remains to be seen whether Myers will once again manage to scare up an audience. (It also raises this question: Why release a film forever identified with the October holiday in the dog days of summer?) In any case, one can only hope that, after 2005’s impressive The Devil’s Rejects, Zombie’s latest film will be a bloody original creation.
The Final Destination
directed by David R. Ellis
Halloween II will find some competition this weekend with this fourth installment of the campy, gory horror franchise. After a young man’s premonition of a deadly car race helps save the lives of his friends, Death sets off to eliminate those who have escaped his grasp. Aside from some sure-to-be-creative death sequences, the major selling point of The Final Destination is that it will be presented in eye-gouging 3-D (following a seemingly profitable new foray in 3-D horror after last winter’s My Bloody Valentine). Let’s just hope the moviemakers stick to their guns on the title and that this truly is the final destination for the seemingly unkillable series.
directed by Robert D. Siegel
Like Taking Woodstock, this offbeat drama features an innovative comedian (this time Patton Oswalt) making his dramatic starring debut. The movie centers on Paul (Oswalt), a die-hard New York Giants fan who struggles to deal with the consequences after his team’s favorite player beats him up. Despite generating strong reviews and positive buzz on the festival circuit (the movie is written and directed by the scribe behind one of last year’s best movies, The Wrestler), Big Fan hasn’t gotten the strong marketing push it deserves. Here’s hoping this quirky little movie manages to find an audience nevertheless.