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Ninja Dog Assassinates Orson Welles On Old Road

Happy Thanksgiving Readers!

On this Turkey Day, Hollywood is trying to offer you a feast of holiday options, but it ended up bringing you an overcooked turkey, a few exciting side dishes, and a doggy bag full of rotting leftovers.  Okay, that metaphor is as confusing as the headline for this roundup, but the movies coming out range from likely Oscar nominations to embarrassingly bad.  In other words, it’s a typical holiday release schedule.  For all of you who had to travel for this holiday, we begin with the last road movie ever: The Road (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“It’s hard not to divine that The Road will be receiving near universal acclaim and a truckload of Oscar noms.”  Brandon Judell CultureCatch

Well, ‘near universal acclaim’ currently includes a fair number of nay-sayers, including those who were on the opposite side of the quality spectrum.

“Watching this is suicidal. Excrement on celluloid.” Fiore Mastracci Outtakes With Fiore

It ranges from divine to doo-doo, what what accounts for the chasm?

“Hillcoat took it as far as he dared and created a beautiful suffering; a film that somehow manages to be both unwatchable and unmissable at the same time.”  Chris Laverty Clothes on Film

I’d better run out and not see it right away.

Would the sequel be called "The Roadies"?

“This year’s entry in the Movies You Admire and Respect but Don’t Ever Want to Watch Again Sweepstakes.” Eric D. Snider Film.com

Previous sweepstakes winners include Schindler’s List and Requiem For A Dream.  I’m starting to understand the suicidal and divine comments a little better now.

“The Road isn’t a masterpiece…But I cannot think of another film this year that has stayed with me, its images of dread and fear – and yes, perhaps hope – kicking around like such a terrible dream.” Philadelphia Inquirer Steven Rea

Speaking of dread, fear, and terrible dreams, the worst reviewed movie of the weekend will likely be the one that makes the most money.  John Travolta is travolting and Robin Williams was robbed of his comedy prowess in Old Dogs (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“Trashing Old Dogs is a bit like kicking a puppy. But here goes.” Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel

Okay, we’ve been duly warned – Punt away.

“Old Dogs does to the screen what old dogs do to the carpet. It’s unfortunate that only the latter can be taken out and shot.” New York Post Kyle Smith

Wait, you want me to shoot the carpet?

“There are some experiences no one should be subjected to even in the name of science. It may be that forced viewing of this film has been outlawed by the Geneva Convention.” James Berardinelli ReelViews

“If Old Dogs were a person, I would stab it in the face.” Drew McWeeny HitFix

Forget water boarding, this movie causes real life agro in people.

“Adults should steer clear. Kids should be sent to it only if they’ve been extraordinarily naughty.” The Onion (A.V. Club) Keith Phipps

They got tired of dreaming of a white Christmas

At last, we have a use for Old Dogs – as a cinematic lump of coal.  And speaking of meaningful Christmas presents, the release most likely not to be in your multiplex deals with the man behind Rosebud: Me and Orson Welles (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“Welles is brilliantly embodied by Christian McKay in one of those, hey-who’s-that? performances that tends to draw Oscar talk, even if the film itself isn’t much more than an extremely pleasant lark.” Mary F. Pols TIME Magazine

“A stunning performance by Christian McKay as the great Orson Welles lifts this from what could have been just frothy entertainment into the sphere of the sublime.”  Harvey S. Karten Compuserve

In addition to ‘hey-who’s-that’ there’s also that one guy from High School Musical.

“What do you say about a movie that proves Zac Efron can act, introduces a master thespian in Christian McKay and launches a charm assault that is damn near irresistible? I say, see it.” Rolling Stone Peter Travers

Even more interesting, this movie was written and directed by Richard Linklater (the writer/director of Dazed and Confused).  So with all the surprising talent crammed into this movie, why aren’t people likely to have it show up in their multiplex?

“Quippy, fast, and enjoyably corny, Welles is like a musical comedy without songs.” David Denby New Yorker

“It’s slight, only sporadically enjoyable and sometimes corny.” Claudia Puig USA Today

Critics agree, it’s enjoyably corny.  And if you prefer a little more gore in your corn, perhaps you’ll be interested in Ninja Assassin (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).
“You certainly can’t accuse Ninja Assassin of not living up to its title, but the filmmakers clearly never thought beyond that point.” Josh Bell Las Vegas Weekly

Fair enough, but Ninja Who Assassinates Other Ninjas With Swords and Throwing Stars doesn’t have much of a ring to it.

“If Ninja Assassin boasted sexual content equivalent to its level of violence, it would be rated NC-17 and repulse even the most dedicated perverts.” Nathan Rabin AV Club

Wow, how bloody are we talking about?

“Gleefully bloody martial arts tribute – about a renegade ninja hunted by his clan – makes “Kill Bill” look like an episode of “7th Heaven”.” Joe Lozito Big Picture Big Sound

“Once you get past the novelty of watching various body parts slide off in a blurt of CGI blood — which, granted, may take a good 30 to 45 minutes — the film just stands there, flexing.”  Andrew Wright The Stranger (Seattle, WA)
“The epitome of excellence in film entertainment.” Fiore Mastracci Outtakes With Fiore

Wait.  What?

“The rotten cliches pile up faster than the bodies in this Z-movie disaster. A total dud start to finish.” Geoff Berkshire Metromix.com

Assuming that reviewer ever sees a worse movie, what would be it’s letter designation?  It already got a Z minus!

“This movie knows exactly what it is: Gonzo silliness about bodies turned into human salsa.” Kyle Smith New York Post

PDJ prefers human gaucamole

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