It's neat to see so many interesting films coming out on the same day (October 2). For the most part, each film is essentially a comedy (don't Michael Moore fool you). Now that we've entered the last quarter of the year, there will certainly be films of a higher quality debuting, so it's fun to have a comedy heavy slate hit before all the drowsy bleakness.
Whip It - Drew Barrymore's directorial debut features the ever stale Ellen Page. Increasingly the indie darling, Page turns in another performance as the alt-wunderkind trying to figure out her place in the world. I did not enjoy this film: the script was stale and common, the performances were wooden, and the direction was lacking. Barrymore's lovefest significantly hindered the development of the movie - long shots of quips and witticisms proved to be unnecessary. There is no real character development and the film is totally lost applauding its own subculture identity. Skip it.
Capitalism: A Love Story - The Michael Moore Propaganda Machine sets its sites on the American entrepreneurial system and hilarity ensues! I can see why Moore was able to release this film so close to the US economic meltdown: a majority of the film's footage comes from various archives and user material. While Moore continues his David vs. Goliath shtick, the film raises several interesting questions and points. As depressing as the subject matter can make you feel, Moore keeps plugging away with jokes and retorts that almost sugarcoat the dire straits we find ourselves in. As with Moore's previous films, he riles the audience up, ends on a hopeful note, but delivers no means of taking action. He leaves the viewers angry about the situation but with no method of doing anything about it. A majority of the people who will see the film will either be Moore supporters, eager to make a change in our society, or trying to escape the horrors of the situation with the help of Moore's heavy hand. And he's all the richer for it. Rent it.
The Invention of Lying - Admittedly, I wasn't sure what to expect going into this film. I haven't had much exposure to Ricky Gervais outside of "The Office," but I was pleasantly surprised. The film is funny from the outset based on the premise that Gervais lives in a world where no one has ever lied nor does anyone know of the concept of lying. Down on his luck, Gervais lies in a pinch and the results spiral out of control from there. The film takes a religious curve that I wasn't expecting, but continues to play to a comedy hilt. The third act seems to drag on and loses some of the comedic steam, but the film still wraps up in a timely fashion. There are several great cameos in the film (which were really unexpected), a true to life smarmy performance by Rob Lowe, and two particularly funny sight gags (of religious connotations). See it.
Zombieland - Of the four films debuting today, I didn't expect to enjoy Zombieland the most and yet I did. The film is a swift, crisply edited, funny romp through a zombie-ravaged America. While zombie films have become somewhat standard fare for the cineplex, the best films will always stand out. The film doesn't bother with all the pretense of how the zombie plague began to spread, where the remaining humans are, or what steps are being taken to reclaim the earth. Instead, the film is loose and goofy. It focuses on a list of rules for protection from zombies, twinkies, and hot chicks. The special effects were top-notch and the text/graphics were great. The opening sequence was one of the best I've seen in sometime. See it!