Movies

Top One Movie of the Week

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Our critics choose between Survival of the Dead, Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia, and Micmacs.

 Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, and Cynthia Nixon in Sex and the City 2

SCOTT: Good news, Andrew! This week I’m in a position to immediately eliminate one of our Top One Movie contenders from consideration. That’s because I already saw George Romero‘s sixth installment in the decades-spanning Living Dead series, Survival of the Dead, when it played Austin’s Fantastic Fest last fall. Of course, your first question is, "Did George Romero really need to make a sixth zombie movie?" And my answer is no, especially when said zombie movie spends way too much time on the dull machinations of a pair of feuding families with Lucky Charms accents. Though Survival boasts all the gruesome headshots and intestine-munching gore we’ve come to expect, it doesn’t present a particularly engaging new showcase for them, and the central dilemma (should we keep the undead alive and try to train them to eat something other than us, or should we just keep making their heads blow up real good?) isn’t one that will keep most of us tossing and turning all night. But speaking of the walking dead, those Sex and the City gals are back for their second big-screen adventure. (Okay, that was mean, but doesn’t it seem like Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha have left this earthly plane and moved on to the magical realm of Photoshop?) Any chance you’re still interested in what these ladies are up to (assuming you ever were)?

ANDREW:  Actually, given that Sex and the City 2 has been promoted as the Girl Power Event of the Summer, I feel like I may not have enough X chromosomes to render a proper decision, so I’m turning this one over to my lovely spouse. Amy? What do you think? Should Sex and the City 2 be our Top One Movie of the Week?

AMY: Nauseated though I am by most chick-flick drivel (Valentine’s Day, The Back-Up Plan, Just Wright, etc), I have to say: any movie featuring four female leads over forty makes me quietly jubilant. Also, I feel that the core of the SATC franchise is about friendship, love, and loyalty, and there’s nothing wrong with that, right? However, seeing these near-menopausal women acting frivolous while rehashing the same contrived story lines about finding the ultimate footwear, achieving the perfect orgasm, and landing an even better soulmate just makes me sad. It’s all frivolity and folly, and the sequel is basically an unbelievably glamorous Hope & Crosby road movie set in the most extravagant city in the world… Abu Dhabi. I’ve heard writer-producer-director Michael Patrick King state that in this grim economy he wanted to create a world of enchantment — but where do you draw the line between escapism and plain ol’ gratuitous excess? Whatever. I know I’ll go see it in spite of myself, although even the film’s poster is a Photoshop nightmare, with the ladies so retouched they look like Gelfings from The Dark Crystal. That said, they still look more real than all the cruddy CGI in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, a movie so ridiculous that even my husband has no interest in seeing it.

SCOTT: I appreciate the spousal perspective, since the last thing the internet needs is two more heterosexual dudes trying to make sense of the Sex and the City phenomenon. I’ll just say it’s not my cup of chai latte and leave it at that. On the other hand, I’ll be happy to take a few hacks at Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. First of all, how about that hopeful subtitle, striving to convey the message that this is but the first in a long line of Prince of Persia movies? Is there really a hunger for another CGI-slathered fantasy epic so soon after Clash of the Titans? Disney didn’t even bother doing a quickie 3D conversion, which may suggest that the studio is already preparing for something less than box-office glory. At least there’s a long, storied history of successful, engaging videogame adaptations to give us some reason to believe… oh, wait. No, there isn’t. And I’m sorry, Jake Gyllenhaal; I don’t care how many weeks you spent at the gym preparing for this role, you still look silly and not even remotely Persian. No, if I’m in the mood for fantastical imagery this weekend, I think I’ll put my faith in Micmacs director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children).

ANDREW: I agree. Jeunet is one of those directors who consistently bends over backwards to fill every second of screen time with maximum, imaginative entertainment value… sometimes to the point of overkill (though I’d much rather see a movie oversaturated with creativity than with gore, CGI, or Botox). And yet, realistically, while I somehow managed to duck Babies, Amy’s write-up makes it pretty clear where she and I will be spending our next date night. Plus, I figure Sex and the City (even in sequel form) is still more of an authentic pop-culture event than our other contenders, which is why I’m nominating it (air-brushed flaws and all) as Team Osborne’s Top One Movie of the Week.

SCOTT: Hey, you married guys gotta do what you gotta do. I have to admit that, if I hadn’t already seen it, Survival of the Dead would probably have been my pick, based on little more than nostalgia for Romero’s original Living Dead trilogy. But since I’ve already taken that bullet — and since I regret missing Micmacs when it played SXSW earlier this year — I’m going with Jeunet’s offbeat take on the international arms trade.

Andrew’s (and Amy’s) Top One Movie of the Week: Sex and the City 2

Scott’s Top One Movie of the Week: Micmacs