Hey-hey! Way to go, Bijou! Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is perhaps the most exquisite, absorbing, gleefully horrifying, beautifully and adoringly shot, weird-as-a-pig’s-pooper cinematic experience I took in during 2006, and it’s rolling into town this weekend with Todd Field’s Little Children (finally), in what is most certainly the best two-fer opportunity of the barely viable embryo we know as ’07. Words of (mild) warning: I didn’t find Children quite as affecting as Field’s 2001 attention-getter In the Bedroom (but that’s sort of OK, since it’s even more about detachment) and Perfume is durned near three hours long, but you’re not likely to easily find a premiere double-bill of more assured and breathtakingly skillful filmmaking than this potential evening with Todd and Tom (Twyker, of Run, Lola, Run).
So, I’m not entirely sure about this, but I might be inclined to wager that with the release of Thr3e, the dwindling supply of self-referential, brashly alphanumeric, deranged-multiple-murderer titles has more or less been scraped dry. It’s a select club — final count: two. Example: “two” (or T2o, or 2wo, or Tw2) doesn’t work. 5ive? Nah. I suppose ZerØ counts, if it hasn’t already been done, but how cool is a movie about a “serial killer” who commits precisely zero gruesome and/or puzzling homicides? Come to think of it, Se7en shouldn’t really read as well as it does — maybe poor little 2wo has a chance after all. Ah, yes … the movie: In this latest outing from Fox Faith — the fledgling Christian-centered distribution arm of 20th Century Fox — a seminary student and a criminal psychologist match wits with a riddlin’ killer who has victimized them. How that’s particularly Christian in theme, seminary or no, is a bit beyond me at the moment (unless it’s an elaborate metaphor). Can Fox Faith do an X-Men remake if the X-kids occasionally go to Bible study? Hmm.
With Happily N’Ever After, Sigourney Weaver gets her second turn as an less-than-conscientious stepmother in a Grimm Brothers remix (Snow White: A Tale of Terror, anyone?), Patrick Warburton gets his umpteenth turn as an animated meathead, and Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddy Prinze, Jr. (they have sex with each other, huh? Weird … ) get their umpteen-plus-a-jillionth sorta-wan, romantic-comedy-lite leading roles. Alas, the trailer doesn’t make N’Ever look as terrible as it could, though such things can deceive (the trailer for Little Children, if I may briefly digress, is possibly the best trailer I have ever seen). Gotta be better than effing Happy Feet, though. Yeah, I said it. Sorry if I’m sane. (Aside #2: Of what, exactly, is “N’Ever” a contraction? Are we throwing back to `revisionist` Olde English? Or does it stand alone, like N’Sync? Either way, that apostrophe kinda makes me want to kick everyone I see.)
Hoo-boy. Hoooo-boy. Um, Code Name: The Cleaner is … um … uhhh … hmm. Cedric the Entertainer, Lucy Liu, Nicolette Sheridan. Choose wisely.
Late-breakers: Freedom Writers, whose pitch was probably something like: “Sure, we’ve done square-white-teacher-saves-thuggy-inner-city-kids movies before — but we haven’t done one with Hilary Swank! (Plus, here’s a suitcase full of cocaine),” moves up a week (watch for a feature next issue), and Crystal from the Bijou sez “Maybe Children of Men.” I smell sweet-ass triple-feature …
My New Year’s resolution is to come up with a brilliant, pithy, catchall sign-off for this column.
(No it isn’t.)
— Brian Villalobos
Local premiere dates for limited-release films are tentative and can change at the last minute. Please check your local theater listings to confirm showtimes.