The Week In Film: The Debt, Shark Night 3D, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

The Good, The Bad, And The Orgy

By , Columnist

The last week of August brings an awkward bridge between braindead summer entertainment and art house fall releases. The Debt signals a major change in the type of movies that will start filing up the multiplexes.

The film deals with controversial issues like Israel and Nazism, while also exploring complex themes about the nature of truth and heroism. Yet, it’s also filled with intense suspense and explosive action, so you needed worry about all that dry intellectualism dominating the movie. But if you aren’t ready to have to turn your brain on at the multiplex just yet, fear not!

Shark Night 3D promises like totally awesome sharks doing cool shit in 3D, so you can always treat yourself to that. Or if you want to giggle at grown men saying words like “penis” and “vagina” there’s always A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, a comedy that’s been on the shelf for so long that the previously unknown cast are now comedy stars. I’m not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad sign. Regardless, if you can choose between a shark, a political action/thiller, and an orgy, that ain’t a bad weekend at the movies.


The Good: The Debt

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Good news people, that balls-to-the-wall action/thriller about truth and heroism you’ve always waited for has arrived. Helen Mirren stars as a woman who has coasted for years off of the fame she received for killing a former Nazi doctor while working undercover for Israel.

The only problem is that it isn’t true, forcing Mirren to live out that fateful time in flashback before embarking on one last mission to set things right. The Debt features a remarkable ensemble cast featuring the likes of Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain, and Sam Worthington. None of the actors drop the ball either. It’s a virtual masterclass.

The Debt was directed by Shakespeare In Love’s John Madden and written by Kick-Ass’s Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, which should give you a rough idea of the film’s delicate balance of subtle characterization and down n’ dirty action. That balance is struck remarkably well and the film marks a nice transition between the blockbuster summer movie season and the fall’s award season stretch.

If you aren’t ready to put your smartypants hat on and actually think in a movie theater just yet, but are tired of brainless entertainment, this is a perfect transitional movie. Think of it as an art film with action movie training wheels. Or just think of it as a compelling and intelligent piece of entertainment that’s worth seeing. Either/or. Whatever works for you.


The Bad: Shark Night 3D

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Finally a chance to see sharks eating people in 3D! How lucky could we possibly get?! And it comes out only a year after the tremendous success of the 3D Piranha remake…hmmm I wonder if there’s a connection there?

Were it not for the fact that Steven Spielberg is the most powerful non-Scientologist in Hollywood, we probably would have gotten a Jaws remake this summer to capitalize on the success of the Piranha remake. Fortunately that didn’t happen and we just get this generic shark attack movie instead.

The film was director by David R. Ellis of Snakes On A Plane fame. The man knows how to craft a deliberately crappy B-movie with a knowing sense of humor, so there’s always a chance that he did that again here (although the fact that the movie wasn’t screened for critics suggests otherwise).

However, even if that’s the case, Shark Night 3D will not be a good movie. At best it’ll be a so-bad-its-good movie and I suppose if you’re just looking for a way to numb your brain over Labor Day weekend, it’s not a bad option.

In the end, this movie will probably be best remembered (if at all) as a watershed moment in audiences’ growing hatred of 3D. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen a TV ad for a movie with 3D in the title that actually features the line, “also available in 2D.” That can’t be a good sign for the 3D business, right?


The Orgy: A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

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In a way it’s weird that it took this long for a comedy to be made that’s based around an orgy. After all, there are few things sillier than the concept of a group of adults getting naked together and pillaging any available orifice (unless it only seems silly until you try it).

This flick comes courtesy of long time TV comedy writers Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck (Letterman, King Of The Hill, etc.) who make their directorial debut with this tale of a group of 30-year-old high school friends who decide to bid farewell to a beloved summer cottage with their first ever orgy. I’m sure it’ll be one of those things that seems like a good idea until the sweaty, flabby reality crushes everyone’s wet dreams.

This raunchy comedy was made several years ago, but sadly sat on a shelf while studio executives no doubt scratched their heads about how to market a movie with the word “orgy” in the title. The good news is that the film took so long to get released that the once unknown cast have all increased their profiles like Horrible Bosses’ Jason Sudeikis,

The League’s Nick Kroll, Party Down’s Martin Starr, Bad Teacher’s Lucy Punch, and SNL’s Will Forte. Whether or not those people will even want to be associated with the movie anymore is a question worth asking, but one thing is for certain: if you want to see a comedy about group sex this weekend, you really only have one choice.


Also Opening This Week: Apollo 18 (a cheesy sci-fi mockumentary that NASA wants you to know isn’t real and critics want you to know isn’t very good) Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame (a period action epic from China that combines a Sherlock Holmes-esque detective story with good ol’ Asian action), Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (a study of 60s pop star Serge Gainsbourg with jazz, painting, and Nazis. All the good stuff), Love Crime (office politics turned murderous rage. Sadly many people out there are only one bad day away from this being a documentary).

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