November 19, 2010, - 4:32 pm

Wknd Box Office: Next 3 Days, 127 Hours, Fair Game, Harry Potter, Inside Job, Today’s Special

By Debbie Schlussel

Wow, a banner weekend for movies.  Not only just one FOUR REAGAN movie, but two of ’em.

*  “The Next Three Days“:  My kind of movie. This is a great thriller.  It’s tight, it’s fast and full of action and suspense, and you never know where it’s going.  Loved it, but beware, it’s an adult movie and not for kids.  It has blood, killing, and a discussion of women at the beginning that uses the t-word.  (I liked the discussion, by the way, which was about how attractive women can’t work for other women.)  This movie, though there isn’t any sex in it, isn’t for prudes.

Russell Crowe is excellent as a community college professor who is desperate to get his wife, Elizabeth Banks, out of prison, after he believes she is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life behind bars.  Is she guilty of the murder?  You’ll wonder the whole time, and I guessed wrong.  Liam Neeson has a cameo role.  And Brian Dennehy, who has aged a great deal, plays Crowe’s father.

If there’s anything that doesn’t ring true, it’s the speed and brilliance of police work in this flick.  In real life, things just don’t happen as fast, or as cleanly.  As I noted, there is some bloody killing and even though it’s the elimination of deserving criminal thugs, it shows that the character who does it is no saint.  He’s just an every day guy who will do what is necessary  for self-preservation.  Can’t say more, or I’ll ruin a great movie.


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “127 Hours“:  This isn’t for the squeamish.  But I really liked it, even though I thought I wouldn’t and didn’t want to see it.  It’s the re-telling of Aron Ralston, played here by the under-rated, excellent James Franco.  Ralston is the weekend mountain climber who gets his arm stuck under a boulder that has crushed it in a deserted canyon.  As you may know, Ralston cut off his arm to free himself and save his own life.

So, how does a movie tell this story with only one actor on screen for most of the time and little dialogue?  It’s intense.  Well shot and well acted.  They show everything that happened, and it has a great soundtrack, too.  Beautiful scenery versus the ugly desolation and despair of someone trying to save his life before time runs out. And you feel like you are there, experiencing the anguish. Very uplifting at the very end, too.

Like I said, it’s not for the faint of heart.  I looked away in a couple of scenes ‘cuz I just couldn’t watch.  But it’s definitely an adventure.  And it’s not boring at all, contrary to my expectations.  There is a lot of Oscar buzz for Franco because of this movie, and it’s well-deserved.  Well directed by one of my favorite directors, Danny Boyle.

[On another note, in typical Hollywood fashion, the filmmakers tried to insert a masturbation scene that just didn’t happen in real life.  Sad.  I heard Ralston tell Detroit morning radio hosts Drew & Mike that the producers tried to write in a scene where Ralston tries to masturbate while he’s stuck in the canyon.  He says he never did that in real life and he opposed it going into the movie, so it was finally nixed.  Figures.  Hollywood perverts who try to distort a heroic story with their sickness.  Glad they failed and Aron stood strong.]


Watch the trailer. . .

* “Fair Game“: This is former CIA employee Valerie Plame’s propaganda flick based on her propaganda book of the same name, and it’s produced by Muslim extremists from Abu Dhabi. You know the drill: She and her husband Joe Wilson are heroes and Bush and Cheney and Lewis I. “Scooter” Libby (who never disclosed her name to Robert Novak) are the villains. Been there, seen that. Sick of it. And it’s all the more ipecac-like, given that Jeff Spicoli . . . er, Sean Penn, plays Wilson. Naomi Watts is Plame, whom the movie portrays, at the beginning, as some sort of action heroine who is fighting off and capturing Islamic terrorists before she goes back to the U.S.

Nice try, but no cigar. As I’ve noted in my previous accounts of the reality check on Plame and Wilson, Plame was a CIA employee who chose her husband to go to Niger, in an attempt to discredit Bush and his administration. And, at first, Wilson returned with the belief that there was, in fact, evidence that Iraq had tried to obtain “yellow cake” to make weapons of mass destruction. Since Plame and the CIA didn’t like that, they made him change his story, as an independent U.S. Senate investigative report found.

But the movie pooh-poohs that and portrays it all as wrong and defamatory to the Plame-Wilsons (or is that, Wilson-Plames). Like I said, we saw all of this already . . . every night on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, Al-Jazeera, you name it. Even FOX News wasn’t exactly accurate or objective about who the Plames really were and what they were about. But we know better.

As I always say, Sean Penn’s best roles were as Jeff Spicoli and Mr. Madonna. It’s all down hill from there. This is Keith Olbermann’s kind of movie. ‘Nuff said.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows“: So far, I liked this the best of the Harry Potter movies, and it’s the beginning of the last of these movies. It had beautiful scenery, suspense, cool special effects, and the best of all the stuff you’ve come to expect from Harry Potter. Parts of it were confusing to me, as I’m not a Harry Potterphile. But I still enjoyed it. It was a little long and could have used some tightening. Plus, as the title indicates, it’s only pare one of the movie. It leaves you hanging, and part two doesn’t come out until the summer. They should have released it in December, so we could remember all the many things that happened in the first part.

The villains of the Potter books are killing the families of the young wizards who are the main characters, and they are targeting Harry Potter, too, as he is the world’s best, last hope. Harry, Hermione, and Ron travel the countryside trying to find harmful pendants (horcruxes), so they can destroy them.

If you don’t like computer generated snakes jumping at you, this may not be your movie, and it might scare kids. But otherwise, it was okay. Standard Harry Potter fare, but a little less crowded with stuff than usual.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Inside Job“: There’s something very wrong about Client 9 (Elliot Spitzer) and Nazi George Soros lecturing America about their version of corruption. Ditto for narrator Matt Damon (who needs to lecture himself about a lot of things, including his Howard Zinn version of revisionist history).

They and the makers of this “documentary” diatribe rail against the Bush Administration, the Council of Economic Advisors under Bush, Wall Street execs, investment houses, derivatives, and investments in subprime mortgages. They also rail against the bail-out of Wall Street investment houses and banks.

While there are some good points–the bailouts and how the banks misspent the money, as well as the absurdity of so many subprime loans (which liberals like Barney Frank pushed on banks, though this movie makes him into a critic of the problems, not the creator of them)–the movie is mostly anti-business, anti-Bush, anti-Reagan propaganda with some minimal anti-Clinton and anti-Obama stuff mixed in for a thinly-veiled ruse of impartiality. It was long, boring, repetitive, and merely a less-interesting repeat of Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” (read my review). Hearing it a second time didn’t make it any more valid.

The movie is hypocritically made by uber-capitalist billionaire Jeffrey Lurie, who owns the Philadelphia Eagles. Funny how he is never on camera. Would have been nice to see the interviewers from the movie ask Lurie the same questions about limits on salary and income that they ask every other guy in the film. But, hey, what’s good for the rest of us according to Hollywood filmmakers, should never ever be applied to them. Only the little people. The gotcha interview tactics in this movie are appalling and make Michael Moore look like a saint in comparison.

Thanks, but no thanks.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Today’s Special“: What could have been an otherwise charming (but hackneyed and unoriginal) story about an ethnic immigrant family’s dying restaurant and their chef son’s rescue of it, was, instead, a cheesy, not-so-subtle propaganda comedy of in-your-face Islam.

In this movie, Samir (Aasif Mandvi), an Indian Muslim chef in New York, is a sous-chef at a gourmet restaurant. He quits when he is passed over for a promotion, which goes to a younger, less-experienced chef. Soon, his father has a heart attack, and Samir must take over the family’s run-down, failing Indian restaurant. He meets a cab driver who brags that he’s cooked gourmet Indian food for the leaders of India. And you can figure out the rest of this very predictable flick.

In the movie, the entire family are nice, jolly, endearing Muslims. They pray, Samir’s mother wears a hijab, and they buy halal meat. The point is to show us that these things are minor and that they are nice and just like your neighbors. It’s subtle and yet not so subtle. The only accurate part is when the Muslim halal meat purveyor is repeatedly described as a crook and a thief, who is ripping them off. That’s common in the Muslim community and a lot of halal meat actually isn’t halal at all. The only meat Muslims can truly trust as meeting their dietary needs is kosher meat.

We’ve seen a million movies like this, and it would have been better, had religion not been a starring role in the movie.


Watch the trailer . . .

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38 Responses

The wife wants to go to a movie next Wed before Thanksgiving; I’ll let her drag me to the Russell Crow or Franco flick.

I can’t believe they made the Valerie Plame movie. It’s gonna bomb, exactly because, as DS noted, it was EVERYWHERE while it was happening, so who needs to pay $10 see a fictionalized account? Stupid. Penn looks even more pretentious than usual in the poster for it.

Matt on November 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm

“Political” movies do poorly at the box office as they are blatant liberal propaganda. Hollywood usually packages the material more subtly. But then again art and life as we know have little in common, whatever they want us to believe.

NormanF on November 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I went to see “Fair Game”, had no idea what it was about, I like Naomi Watts thats it.
Absolutely hated this movie and it’s agenda, but most of all because it was terribly boring.

frank bambace on November 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm

As to the question of why Naomi Watts would have stooped to appear in a propaganda tripe like “[Un]fair Game”: I seem to see that she’s getting a bit long in the tooth, and getting out of the age range of the kind of roles she played in her peak, and from here on out dreck like this is what awaits her in terms of working in future Hollyweird film projects. This is no excuse, I’m sure, but it may explain something.

ConcernedPatriot on November 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Well, as Goldie Hawn’s character said in “First Wives’ Club” there are three career stages for a woman in Hollywood: Babe, District Attorney and Driving Miss Daisy. Clearly Naomi has moved into the District Attorney category.

    DG in GA on November 20, 2010 at 11:58 am

      Agreed. As a attorney, Debbie would find it hilarious.

      Women in Hollywood, exist to serve men, no matter how much they like to dress it up in Betty Freidan clothing on screen.

      Feminists can’t change human nature.

      NormanF on November 20, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Wow, that Russell Crowe flick sounds great! I just can’t stand him. I try to pretend he is not Australian (which is easy as he is really a Kiwi, and the Kiwis are teased just as great Americans tease lame Canadians). Too bad they didn’t hire Guy Pearce instead.

Speaking of Aussies…Naomi Watts is great in “Mullholland Drive”. I’m a big David Lynch fan. She is not daisy-fresh as she didn’t hit big here in the states ’til her 30’s. I have always enjoyed her work (I love Austalian films) and too bad she is the baby mama to Liev Shriver’s babies. How sad that you give a guy two babies and he doesn’t respect you enough to marry you? Oy!

That James Franco is interesting! I never thought much of him, but the fact that he regularly works on Soap Operas was wonderfully weird to me. Love his individuality and his guts. He’s no dummy. Soaps are stupid, but you can really hone your craft on them. What a gem he is!

That masterbation info was sick! Why would those nasty pervs want to pollute the film with that filth? The poor dude. Bully for him for saying no to the sicky pervs. Go to hell, Hollywood!!!

Skunky on November 19, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Kiwis are especially verminous, as they have banned kosher meat production in their damp excuse of a country. (Actually, they’re a rugby team with some islands attached)

    Occam's Tool on January 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm

127 Hours – thanks for the review, Debbie. That said, here’s what my pals in Search and Rescue in the area where Ralston got stuck had to say when we spoke to one another about the movie. And this is a direct quote, And unanimous, “A moron making money about a moron for other morons to watch.”

Yes, Ralston exhibited considerable brass cutting off his arm. But from the perspective of we who have to go out and rescue the Mighty, the Daring, the Clueless, the Loners, the Weekend Warriors and the Immortals from themselves, it’s an awkward thing to deal with people who are too dumb to realize they not only risk their own lives and whoever is around them (or, dependent on them) but their Rescuers often risk our lives saving them.

Ralston is not held in any regard by us. He’s an adrenaline junkie. Which is just fine and The Loner is quintessential America, until it all goes south and the pros have to suit up and get involved.

Play hard, but be smart. Friends may help you find dates. SAR friends help you find the bodies. It’s all courageous until the flood comes down the slot canyon, the whiteout lasts three days and wet rope is starting to slip in the rabbit ears.

Jack on November 19, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Jack, I must say I truly love your analysis! Thank you!

    Pats on November 20, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Jack, thanks for your comments. It sounds like my hubby whenever people start talking about some of the exciting things they do like rappelling off railroad bridges or riding dirt bikes along the tracks. As the guy who has to go out and clean up the body parts when those “daring adventurers” get hit by the train they didn’t expect, and the guy who has to console the engineer who hits them, it infuriates my guy that people are this stupid and careless with their own lives, and endanger others while they seek their “thrills.”

    DG in GA on November 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm

sean penn who obviously overdosed doing the falcon and the snowman figures to be in the film. naomi watts guaranteed i’ll never spend a dime to ever watch in movie she ever appears in again. but i’ll just wait until its on the internet to torrent download for free to see it if ever i want to see that sort of herr keith olberfuhrer crap.

Bill on November 20, 2010 at 1:57 am

Crowe Helps Out To Montreal Jewish School

OSCAR-winning actor RUSSELL CROWE was so distraught by a firebombing at a Jewish elementary school in Canada, he’s offered to help rebuild its library.

Crowe, who is currently in Toronto filming CINDERELLA MAN, learned of the horrific act, which took place in Montreal, and decided to help the school get back on its feet.

UNITED TALMUD TORAHS elementary school was fire-bombed earlier this month (APR04) and police said a note with anti-Semitic comments was found on the outside wall of the gutted library.

Montreal resident SHELLEY PARIS says, “It was a huge morale boost for the school community. He said he was very upset about what had happened that a place of learning should be attacked that way.

“He wanted to make sure that our students knew that he was thinking about them and that he was very upset about the firebombing.”

Paris says the school hopes to reopen the library by August (04) – the start of the new school year – and has received donations and support from across the country.


Bill on November 20, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Russell Crowe is a mensch! You won’t find many like him in Hollywood. You have not only an outstanding actor but a true character in real life. I wish we had many more like him among us!

    NormanF on November 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Well, it appears Crowe is much more Aussie than Kiwi. Good on ‘im!

    Occam's Tool on January 24, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Wait, wait! Didn’t Chris Mathews get a tingle in his trousers and try to equate Fair Game with Casablanca? That told me right then that I would never waste money or bandwidth on this revisionist trash.

FrankM on November 20, 2010 at 4:13 am

Good reviews all the way through, Debbie. I was especially happy to see your takes on Fair Game and Inside Job, since those are political movies with liberally biased agendas. I have read many other reviews of both those movies, but none of them “get it” like you do. One reviewer at Rotten Tomatoes–one out of fifty–took a shot at the politics of Fair Game; otherwise, you’re all alone out there in what you’re doing. Thank you!

I too loved The Next Three Days. It was a great thriller (and love story) that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I did not think it intended to be perfectly realistic, and I didn’t care. I read some negative reviews of it before going, one which described it as “morally bankrupt,” so right away I suspected it would probably be good. And it was!

Like you, I enjoyed this latest Harry Potter (and the last one as well) more than the early ones, and for the same reason as you, that it was not “crowded with stuff.” I’m not a Potterphile either, but I did somewhat enjoy the creepy atmosphere of this film. (Though at 2 1/2 hours, you may agree that it did drag a bit, especially towards the end.)

Burke on November 20, 2010 at 8:05 am

Again, why do Haredi Jewish women get a free pass when they wear veils and cover themselves up but if a Muslim does it Debbie goes on the warpath.

N: Because they live their lives and leave the rest of us alone. They and their husbands don’t try to force us to do the same. They and their husbands also don’t murder 3,000 Americans with planes and don’t try to blow up more with underwear, shoe, inkjet cartridge, and car bombs. DS

Nak on November 20, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Again, why do Haredi Jewish women get a free pass when they wear veils and cover themselves up but if a Muslim does it Debbie goes on the warpath.

    Neither Haredi women not nuns nor Hindu ladies in Saeis cover their faces. We can see who they are-or aren’t.

    Miranda Rose Smith on November 21, 2010 at 4:45 am

      Neither Haredi women not nuns nor Hindu ladies in Saris cover their faces. We can see who they are-or aren’t.

      Miranda Rose Smith on November 21, 2010 at 4:45 am


      Miranda Rose Smith on November 21, 2010 at 8:50 am


maybe because no one ever saw one? i never did in my life. as opposed to the many, many, many of those other groups you mention?

Bill on November 20, 2010 at 8:50 am

Aron Ralston was interviewed on the TLC channel.They went to the actual spot where this event happened and he explained the whole process of cutting off his hand right behind his wrist.
It’s here on youtube:

ebayer on November 20, 2010 at 8:55 am

Because Orthodox Jewish women don’t want to destroy western civilization and kill or enslave every infidel on the planet. Somehow I don’t think that’s really a suprise to you, Nak.

adam on November 20, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Debbie has criticized Islamic women for wearing the veils as a form of sexism and control over them by men, but Jewish women who do it are just fine?

Nak on November 20, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Where in the world do you see Orthodox Jewish women wearing VEILS?!?

    My Orthodox Jewish wife certainly doesn’t.

    And just like there’s no Koranic verse demanding face coverings for women, there’s no Torah command for women to be covered either.

    PsychoCheese on November 23, 2010 at 9:11 am

Do you have to repeat the obvious? Debbie has already explained it!

Enough with the repetitious question you already received her answer to!

NormanF on November 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Thank you for the reviews, Debbie.

“Fair Game” and “Inside Job” are definitely must-skip movies.

JeffE on November 20, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Fine, how bout a hard question?

Is Ann Frank burning in hell as we speak?

From what I was taught when I was a christian, she would be in hell for not repenting her sins to Jesus Christ. As a Jew she rejected the messiah and thus did not accept him into her heart therefore she is in hell. Unless I missed the NT verse that said all humans are sinners except Jews who get a free pass.

Nak on November 20, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    The Muslims believe you’re in hell too – which proves nothing about the veracity of people’s particular religious beliefs. Every one believes their religion is the best one for them.

    I don’t really get your point.

    NormanF on November 21, 2010 at 12:08 am

    That is not an accurate portrayal of the Christian faith…
    Yes, there are some Christians who believe that as a Jew, they will automatically go to heaven. But most Christians, though might like Jews to convert to Christianity and becoming Messianic Christians, understand where their faith, mores and ethic codes come from, and that is the Jews ( e.g. Judeo-Christian principles, where we get our laws from).
    For without Jews we would not be celebrating Christmas in the next month. (And that in no way talking about the commercialism… I’m speaking about Maccabees.)

    the dr. is in... on November 24, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Dear Nak,

    are you trying various headcoverings for your derriere, or is there a point?

    Occam's Tool on January 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Everyone thinks their religion is the only true religion. Thats what im getting at. For any religion to be true would be to void all other beliefs, thats why im saying that if the Christians are right then Ann Frank and the other 6 million jews who died in the holocaust are currently burning in hell. So there hs to be either one right religion or none at all.

Nak on November 21, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Every religion sees its as the “right” religion and none of the others is the correct one. Your argument doesn’t establish a case for the superiority of Christianity. Just the opposite.

    NormanF on November 21, 2010 at 1:36 am

This reminds me, rather than waste my time or money on those movies, it is time, in fact the time is overdue, to dig up some of those 8 mm camcorder recordings of our children since their infancy and sit back and enjoy.

They will rate **** four stars for content, acting, quality, innovation, originality, etc. Beats Hollywood by a thousand miles.

William on November 21, 2010 at 2:39 am

Nak writes, “Again, why do Haredi Jewish women get a free pass when they wear veils and cover themselves up but if a Muslim does it Debbie goes on the warpath.”

Again, haredi Jewish women do NOT wear veils. Married women may wear hair covering, but that’s it. Unmarried women do not cover. In either case, one can still see their faces. And neither try to impose their way on others.

Raymond in DC on November 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Jeez, somebody needs to take their meds!

AliceL. on November 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm

My wife and I went to see “the 3rd Day” last evening, mostly based on Debbie’s review. We enjoyed it – for all the things pointed out in the review and the legitimate PG-13 rating.

Manfred on November 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I just saw “The Next Three Days” and its an American remake of a French film, Pour Elle (Anything for Her) by Fred Cavayé. The usual rule of thumb is an American version is NEVER going to be as good as the foreign original. Here I think its a lot better and I think Debbie was right in her judgment, it left be riveted to the edge of my seat right up to the final reel. This is how to do a great thriller and do it well and it helps that Russell Crowe playing the devoted husband and father John Brennan seeking to free his wrongly convicted wife, is the main star – I’ve always admired his acting and here he is simply outstanding as the main lead!

As for the premise – would we do anything to save a loved one – even commit a crime for them to give them their life back? I think most of us wouldn’t be able to do it well since we’re not criminals by nature and going so far as to help a loved one escape from prison and live on the run with them kind of stretches believability. At the same time, my view is that we would NOT abandon the people we love even if the rest of the world thinks they’re guilty as sin. Doing what is right might sometimes involve breaking the letter of the law – its an extreme step.

And as the film shows, life does have a happy ending even if Lara is never completely vindicated in her innocence. The price we might have to pay to believe in someone’s innocence in the face of all the evidence against them can be very high indeed since circumstantial evidence seemingly against them sometimes turns out that its not in and of itself telling the whole story.

As a thriller, its highly recommended and it will leave you pondering for days on end on what you would do to keep your family together. Where would we stop? That’s a very good question and I guess for each of us, the answer here would turn out to be a very personal one. In the end, “The Next Three Days” is really all about the choices a man, a husband and a father has to make in the face of a very difficult and dangerous situation and how he resolves it to protect his wife, the mother of his child and his son.

NormanF on July 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

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