Friday movie roundup – Aug. 29

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Hoo boy! Do you smell that? That’s the movie studios dumping their leftover crap into theaters because it’s the last weekend of summer. Four wide releases this week, and THREE of them are Hollywood’s Shameful Secrets©®™. I don’t know if we’ve ever had that many in one weekend before. Perhaps this is Hollywood’s most shameful weekend in history.

The one that was screened for critics was “Traitor,” which actually opened Wednesday. I reviewed it for Film.com. It stars Don Cheadle as a man who might be a terrorist. Great cast, a few good ideas, not a very good movie.

The three that the studios were embarrassed by are:

  • “Disaster Movie,” which is the latest from the masterminds who brought us “Date Movie,” “Epic Movie,” and “Meet the Spartans,” which probably tells you everything you need to know right there.
  • “Babylon A.D.,” starring Vin Diesel as a mercenary transporting a woman from Russia to America. The director, Mathieu Kassovitz, has already publicly disowned the film, saying Twentieth-Century Fox forced him to water it down, cut 15 minutes out of the running time, and totally ruin it. Generally, if the director of a film tells you it’s lousy, you should go ahead and take his word for it.
  • “College,” in which some high school kids go on a “campus preview” weekend at the college; hilarity ensues. The film wants to be the “Animal House” or “American Pie” of the 2000s. I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

I’ll have reviews of “Disaster Movie” and “College” by tomorrow. I’m seeing them back-to-back this afternoon, so keep me in your prayers. “Babylon A.D.” is still up in the air. Of the three, it’s the one that has the most potential for being entertaining — bad sci-fi films are funnier than bad comedies — but it’s also the one that nobody’s paying me to review, and cramming three Shameful Secrets into one weekend is kind of rough. So we’ll see.

Also reviewed are the terrific indie drama “Frozen River” and the so-so prestige flick “Elegy,” starring Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz’s breasts. (For real! Both of them! They practically have speaking roles!)

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