Burn After Reading, Avatar, District 9 release dates and a somewhat general level of dissatisfaction

Unfortunately, this week has been somewhat of a disappointment in terms of the movie-watching pantheon. It's difficult to know where it began but I'd guess it started somewhere around the orbit of realising District 9's UK and US release dates were a month different, moved on to going and then not going to The Time Traveller's wife and concluded with a big whack-bang of Burn After Reading and the Avatar Trailer. But hey, first things first.

UK and US release date differences are highly, highly irritating for a number of reasons. Firstly, the press in England generally sees films as soon as they are available anywhere in the world so as soon as a film is released in the US, reviews and extended previews start appearing here not just from bloggers (which is very welcome) but from the general press corps who increasingly appear hell bent on spoiling entire films. Whilst the blogging of such releases is also great it would be nice to join in the discussion on them, rather than having to postpone any input for a month until some guy in a suit passes judgement that appropriate time has passed and the Director and star are available to do premieres and interviews.

Secondly, there is a big conspiracy theory that 3D is being pushed by auteurs and studios because it will eradicate or severely damage film piracy levels. I can tell you something now: globally identical release dates will do the same thing. I've seen at least two websites with District 9 on them, available to play directly from the site with no download and no fee. If the film was available in the cinema at least you are relying on the global conscious of the public to make a decision rather than relying on their (significantly weaker) willpower to wait another month until its official release.

Rant over. For now. My replacement for going to see District 9 (which was more annoying because I had convinced myself it was out this week!) was to be The Time Traveller's wife with The Misses. I can't say it was my sort of thing but hey, it was a new film at the cinema. Until we realised that due to the extremely poor crop of 'the kids are on summer holidays lets release any mindless old drivel to give the parents a night off' films our local cinema was showing, it had sold out. Balls.

At least the end of the week had the arrival of the much waited for Burn After Reading from Lovefilm and the trailer release for Avatar. Surely they would save us, right? Right?! Well no. Burn After Reading is all sorts of averageness. It seems confused about whether it is an ensemble drama with a mildly amusing plot or a comedy with mildly ensembled actors. As is always the case with films confused about what they are, it ends up being neither. Not funny enough to be comedy, not interesting enough to be a drama. The Cohen Brother's trope of killing off characters who don't necessarily deserve it is also becoming rather predictable and rather annoying. You knew what was going to happen to a number of the components of the plot which screws the idea up all together. Clooney is the only one of the cast who really stands out and his confused bodyguard is both funny and dramatic, entering and exiting a mid-life crisis via Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand who are guilty of perpetrating the above lack of state.

And so to Avatar to save my week. And did it? Did it hell. General web reaction has been a mildly 'interested but un-impressed' shrug in its preposterously CGI'd direction. If it's going to use 3D in the revolutionary way it claims it will be worth seeing just for that. If it's going to be a titanic battle straight from the hard drive of my Xbox then it's going to be snore inducing. A pretty prominent web blogger went as far as to suggest it looked like we could be in for a full-length version of Jar Jar Binks: The Movie which is a truly worrying and disturbing thought on the same level as Britain suddenly capsizing and falling into the sea and, on evidence, might not be too far off.

At this rate, I could very well be looking at the definition of a long summer.

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