We don’t know where you are, but over here in New York, flights are grounded, streets are filled with snow, and the best place to get away from it all is the cineplex. Here we run down the movies hitting the theaters this weekend and the locations they’ll take you to. Hopefully it’s somewhere sunny and warm.
“Cop Out”—Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Ok, ok—so the Times and others didn’t much care for this Bruce Willis/Tracey Morgan badges-and-bullets buddy comedy from Kevin Smith. At least it offers a view of New York’s crustiest borough during the warm summer months. As A.O. Scott said in his review, “In the film’s favor, it should be noted that this chase winds through some actual Brooklyn locations, including a sylvan corner of Prospect Park and—twice!—the L&B Spumoni Gardens, a venerable and beloved al fresco pizzeria in Bensonhurst that serves some of the best Sicilian pie in the borough.” Usually you’d have it sit through 90 minutes of Mumblecore to get that kind of Brooklyn coverage.
“The Crazies”—Cordele, Georgia, U.S.A.
We love rampaging zombie films but, alas, the critics have it that this remake of a chilling George Romero creeper isn’t really all that insane. But at least it offers viewers a chance to take a look at that “real America” all those righty politicians keep going on about. Setting their feature in the fictional town of Ogden Marsh (a joke that anyone who took an American poetry class will get), producers seeded the ground with fake sheriff’s department and chamber of commerce websites. In reality, most of the film was shot in various other Iowa locations and Cordele, Georgia, the “Watermelon Capital of the World”.
“A Prophet”—Avenue Montaigne, Paris, France
This highly lauded new thriller from Jacques Audiard’s centers around a man who himself represents changing times in France—a young newly arrived Arab man who, by becoming a prisoner in the first act of the film, is run through the various corrupting institutions of French society, eventually becoming a killer for hire. As he heads toward his latest kill, Malik (played by Tahar Rahim) can’t help window shopping on Paris’ boutique bedazzled Avenue Montaigne. Sure it’s a metaphor for his poisoned conscience, but have you seen those shoes?
“The Art of the Steal: Manifesto From the Battle for the Barnes Collection”—Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Few groups of people are as catty and vicious as arts patrons and the flock of critics, scholars, detectives, and other hangers on that surround them. We won’t get into the various squabbles over Post-Impressionist artworks and the Philadelphia high-culture community (yes, they have one) that makes this new documentary a winning look behind the scenes of private arts collections and museum politics—they’re too complicated and, frankly, fun. But for a dedicated museum goer, this venture into the less attractive side of a beautiful, cloistered world offers rare close-up glimpses of invaluable paintings and tours of the homes of great private collectors.
“Formosa, Betrayed”—Bangkok, Thailand
Oh no! Dawson’s got a gun! Yes, James Van Der Beek has put down the childish things of his teen soap opera past and picked up a semi-automatic in this spy thriller about violence in the shadow of government oppression in 1980s Taiwan. Of course, setting a controversial story in Taiwan is an altogether different thing from being able to film one there. Producers went to Bangkok instead, which may be the greatest betrayal of Formosa of all.
For more obsessive details about movie locations the world over, snap up a volume from our “Film + Travel” series before your next trip to the airport or the multiplex.
Above (clockwise from upper left): “Cop Out”, courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures, “A Prophet”, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, “Formosa, Betrayed”, courtesy of Screen Media Films,”Art of the Steal”, courtesy of Sundance Selects
Tagged with: a prophet avenue montaigne bangkok Brooklyn Bruce Willis formosa France Georgia iowa james van der beek jaques audiard kevin smith movies New York Paris Philadelphia philadelphia museum pizza Prospect Park taiwan Thailand tracey morgan travel