Friday movie roundup – Jan. 4

To celebrate the first weekend of the new year, the major Hollywood studios have decided to just roll over and take a nap. “Go see ‘National Treasure’ a second time and catch the subtle nuances you missed the first time!” they seem to say.

The only wide release today is “One Missed Call,” which is one of Hollywood Shameful Secrets©, i.e., a movie that was not screened for critics, which is almost always a bad sign. In this case, it technically was screened — at 10 p.m. last night, at a theater 15 miles outside of town (though they probably didn’t arrange it that way in every market; just Portland). I went, but I ain’t writin’ a review at midnight just to tell you what you can probably already guess about a movie in which teenagers receive voice mails foretelling their own deaths.

My review will be posted at sometime today or tomorrow. [UPDATE: Here it is.] For now I’ll just say that it’s not as bad as it could have been. (If anyone from Warner Brothers is reading this, you may feel free to use that quote in your advertising.)

In limited release is a very good scary movie called “The Orphanage” that I heartily recommend to you. It is Spain’s entry for the foreign-language category at the Oscars, and while it’s slightly unusual to submit something as un-prestigious as a horror film, this one has an added layer of poignancy to it that makes it rise above being “just a scary movie.” Oh, and it’s also actually scary, which “One Missed Call” mostly isn’t.

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