The Friday movie roundup – June 2

Happy birthday to my brother Jeff! He handles the geek aspects of this Web site in addition to his regular duties as my brother, and he turns, I don’t know, 30 or something today. So happy birthday to him!

The movies I got him for his birthday are “The Break-Up” and the semi-limited-release “District B13.” I enjoyed them both, which puts me in the minority in the case of the former and the majority in the case of the latter.

People going into “The Break-Up” insistent that it be a riotous Vince Vaughn comedy will be disappointed. It isn’t that, and it doesn’t try to be. (Don’t let the faulty marketing ruin the movie for you.) It’s very funny in places, but it’s also a very believable drama about two likable characters. I honestly wanted them to be happy, whether that meant being apart or together.

The characters in “District B13,” meanwhile, are meaningless (though they’re likable enough), with the focus instead on ACTION! ACTION! ACTION! And boy howdy, is there ever action. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a while, reminding me a lot of “The Transporter,” and with good reason: a lot of the same people are involved.

There’s also a limited-release drama called “Peaceful Warrior,” but don’t worry about that. The movie you need to watch for is “The Puffy Chair”. It’s playing in only a handful of cities, but it’s a real gem of a comedy, very laid-back and smart. Seek it out.

I also saw the remake of “The Omen” last night, but since it’s not released until Tuesday (6/6/06, get it?), no review yet. In preparation, my critic pals Dawn Taylor and Mike Russell and I convened at Dawn’s house to watch the original “The Omen” yesterday afternoon, just prior to seeing the remake. We knew the new film had the same screenwriter, and we wanted to have the original fresh in our minds so we could tell how close the two versions are. We’re serious journalists, you know, doing as much research as necessary to get the story.

We ate junk food and made sarcastic comments about the film, which is slow and should have starred overacting Charlton Heston instead of overacting Gregory Peck. (Mike said the remake should star “drunk angry Harrison Ford,” then did a very accurate impression of Mr. Ford.) Gregory Peck and Lee Remick seem so distant to each other as husband and wife. Could it be because he was 60 and she was 40 at the time? Who knows.

Anyway, the remake is astoundingly faithful to the original. Many scenes have the same dialogue word-for-word, and some of the shots even look the same. So why bother remaking it at all? That is an excellent question.

This weekend’s film reviews, along with loads of other movie-related stuff, DVD recommendations and general merriment, can be found in “In the Dark,” which is e-mailed free to lots of people every Friday. Sign up and be part of the crowd. It’s awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!