Tuesday, March 1, 2011

From the archives: February 2009

The first few months of any new year have become notoriously weak for big-studio Hollywood product: the time when pictures deemed unworthy of release the previous autumn are dumped into the laps of unsuspecting viewers. I've never understood why bad publicity money gets thrown after bad flicks, but then I've never run a movie studio. (And, with my attitude, obviously never will.)

And, so, February 2009 was "highlighted" by a numb-nuts sequel to a misbegotten remake; an ill-advised effort to milk humor from uber-consumerism, just as the American economy tanked; an espionage thriller that self-destructed in the final act; and an ensemble cast effort at a Valentine's Day romantic comedy that wilted like last week's roses.

Things are pretty bad when the highlights are limited to a foreign film released the previous year, and only making its way to my Northern California market months later; and the annual collection of Academy Award-nominated short subjects by filmmakers not yet corrupted by corporate or commercial dictates.

But do not misunderstand me: That package of 2008 short subjects is fab. Sadly, though, if you weren't lucky enough to catch those 10 filmlets during their road-show appearances at art houses prior to the Oscar broadcast, you'll find it extremely difficult to do so now. Short films still get very little aftermarket love; some pop up on YouTube, while a few others can be found by, ah, inventive detectives who know their way around the Internet. On rare occasions, the directors concerned make them viewable on their personal Web sites.

As for the aforementioned Hollywood features ... well, don't say you haven't been warned.

Step into the Wayback Machine, and check 'em out:

Confessions of a Shopaholic

He's Just Not That Into You

The International

I've Loved You So Long

Oscar Shorts 2008

The Pink Panther 2

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