Friday movie roundup – Sept. 3

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Since Labor Day weekend is usually pretty slow at the box office, Hollywood tends to put out movies that aren’t particularly worth seeing anyway. Or maybe the mediocrity of the movies is why Labor Day weekend tends to be slow. Who knows/cares? Either way, the quality trend is bucked this weekend, as everything new is actually pretty good.

“Machete” (review at Film.com), a movie based on a trailer based on a type of movie that once played at a type of theater, is over-the-top exploitation fun. It’s what “The Expendables” was in some ways trying to be, right down to the presence of Steven Seagal.

“Going the Distance” is also surprisingly good, given that it’s a romantic comedy starring a real-life couple. (It’s Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. I think they’re “on again, off again.” I’m not on Facebook, so I can’t check their current status.) The movie is funny and realistic, but still romantically satisfying. It’s easily the best rom-com I’ve seen this year, though I admit that isn’t saying much.

“The American,” starring George Clooney as a hitman, is also quite engaging, though it is NOT an action movie. It’s a slow, contemplative character study. Do not be misled. Also, I haven’t written my review yet. But I liked it.

In limited release, the Sundance hit “Animal Kingdom” will make you fall in love with hardcore Australian criminals all over again.

At Film.com, I wrote an article explaining “Machete” to aliens who have just arrived from space, and I transcribed the pitch meeting for Shyamalan’s “Devil.” “What’s the Big Deal” was about the early German talkie “M.” “Eric’s Bad Movies” is off this week because…

…I’m at the Telluride Film Festival! This is my first visit to the small but important fest tucked away in the mountains of Colorado, and so far I love it. (Except for the dearth of wi-fi and vending machines in the hotel, though neither of those are the festival’s fault.) I don’t know if I’ve ever been anyplace that was more physically beautiful than Telluride. The weather is perfectly sunny and clear, too, which I’m told is not necessarily always the case.

Oh, and there are some movies here. More on that later.

Since I was going to be gone on Friday, Bayer and I pretaped “Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider.” (We did that once before, too, but I’ll NEVER TELL which episode it was.) The pretaping led to some delightful time-travel shenanigans, as we had our old pal Dawn Taylor on as a guest, and also appeared on her show, “Ham-Fisted Radio,” which went out live after we taped “Movie B.S.” Enjoy, won’t you?

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Listen to “Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider,” a weekly Internet radio show featuring Jeff Bayer and Eric D. Snider, at PDX.fm. It’s live at 11 a.m. (Pacific) every Friday, then downloadable as a podcast. Ignore the iTunes “explicit” tag; we always keep it PG.

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