A stealth movie opening

THE GRIPE

December 02, 2005|By CHRIS KALTENBACH | CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

A feature in which Sun writers and critics sound off about the movies.

Want to hear a secret, something you're apparently not supposed to know? OK, you didn't hear it from me, but here goes. ...

Aeon Flux opens in theaters today.

Normally, movie openings aren't kept so quiet, especially movies featuring big names like Charlize Theron. But for reasons known only to the honchos at Paramount, this film is opening under everyone's radar gun.

Movies open almost every week without being screened for critics; that's nothing new. But normally, they're films starring a bunch of no-names, or films in a genre critics can be counted on to despise (horror, teen comedies, etc.). And even if the film is bad, somebody, somewhere is out there trying to hype it.

But not this one. Several weeks back, The Sun looked into interviewing Theron about the movie. We were told she would be unavailable; in fact, interviews with anyone about this film seem to be scarce as hen's teeth. Outside of a few TV commercials, which do little other than confirm that Theron looks hot in her black Aeon Flux outfit, there has been hardly any mention of the film anywhere.

Besides Theron, the movie stars Frances McDormand, Sophie Okonedo and Pete Postlethwaite, all Academy Award nominees for previous work (Theron and McDormand have both won Best Actress Oscars). The film, based on an animated MTV series that ran in the mid-1990s, falls into the sci-fi and superhero genres - neither of which are critical pariahs. Theron plays the title character, an amoral killer in a post-apocalyptic world, whose ties to humanity were cut when her family was killed by government agents.

Heck, even Catwoman was screened in advance, while co-stars Halle Berry and Sharon Stone did all manner of publicity for the film. And Catwoman was as bad as anything released in the past 10 years. Aeon Flux can't be that bad, can it?

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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