A&E | DVD Homework: Prep for new theatrical releases with some film schooling. | Theater | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

A&E | DVD Homework: Prep for new theatrical releases with some film schooling. 

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It’s the home stretch of the movie year, when the cinematic floodgates open and we are deluged by all the movies hoping for Oscar glory and other year-end awards notices … not to mention all the goofy counter-programming. So why not pile some more movies on yourself? You know, in preparation. Because there’s a whole ton of flicks coming your way this fall, and it can’t hurt to do some prep DVD homework for them. C’mon, it’s fun!n

There are the remakes, for starters. Remember the old sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still—“klaatu barada nikto” and all that? You might want to check out the 1951 film again—or for the first time—to get ready for the updated version opening Dec. 12. A mysterious human-looking alien came to Earth back then to warn us to mend our nuclear-proliferation ways; in 2008, he (now played by Keanu Reeves in what I think is going to be a brilliant bit of casting) will warn us about global warming. Whoa.

The Pang Brothers—Thailand’s answer to The Matrix’s Wachowskis—are bringing their own overseas 1999 flick Bangkok Dangerous, redone Hollywood style, to multiplexes Sept. 5 under the same title as the original. In the Thai version, the hitman is deaf and mute. The big-studio remake features Nicolas Cage snarking up a storm, of course, because that’s how we do it in America.

On the chick-flick side, there’s The Women (Sept. 12), an update of the 1939 George Cukor melodrama that starred Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard and Joan Fontaine. Are director Diane English and stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, Candice Bergen, etc., up to the task? Only a look at the original film will give you a basis for comparison.

And then there are the sequels. You can’t go into the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace (Nov. 14), if you haven’t seen the recent update of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s first outing as 007. This new Bond is a man of deep emotion, and some Serious Stuff went down in Royale that’s he’s gonna be dealing with (or not, as the case may be). You can’t go into Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Nov. 7) if you haven’t seen the first Madagascar, from 2005, which you should have seen anyway; it’s one of the better animated flicks of recent vintage. You can’t go into The Transporter 3 (opening Nov. 26), without having seen 2002’s Transporter and 2005’s Transporter 2—although, on second thought, you probably don’t need to bother with any of them unless you’re a really big fan of mockney Brit action “star” Jason Statham.

And you may want to avoid it, but the tweens will be clamoring for another look at High School Musical and High School Musical 2 on DVD before the franchise makes its big-screen bow with High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Oct. 24). Though if you happen to sneak a peek at the first two, you’ll find that they’re actually rather charming, in a ’60s-Disney, Annette Funicello kind of way.

And then there are the re-teamings. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro are a couple of New York’s Finest in Righteous Kill (Sept. 12), the anticipation of which can only have been stoked by the fact that these two iconic actors have appeared together on film only once before: in 1995’s Heat, and then only in one scene. It’s one amazing scene, though, and worth seeing before checking out their first extended team-up.

The Coen Brothers are back with Burn After Reading (opening Sept. 12), which not only reunites them with some of their favorite actors—George Clooney (check out O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Frances McDormand (check out Fargo)—but also sees Clooney teaming up again with Brad Pitt (see Ocean’s Eleven and Thirteen; skip Twelve) and Tilda Swinton (see Michael Clayton).

Get crackin’, kiddies. All of this will be on the quiz. tttt

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