Opening This Week (14 – 20 Feb, 2011)

14 Feb

For the first time ever, I am proud to report that the new Adam Sandler comedy won the box office battle for the weekend! Sandler’s Just Go With It, the lesser of two evils, narrowly beat out Justin Bieber’s 3D biopic/concert experience by a mere 0.7 million to top the Valentine’s Day weekend box office. While Cedar Rapids didn’t even make the Top Ten, I am hoping that this week someone will knock Sandler off because the thought of him having box office draw is beyond me. Here are this week’s contenders:

I Am Number Four

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Argon, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer

Director: D.J. Caruso

Synopsis from IMDB: John is an extraordinary teen, masking his true identity and passing as a typical high school student to elude a deadly enemy seeking to destroy him. Three like him have already been killed … he is Number Four.


Chris’ Take: This is another one of those films that I don’t know what to make of, but I am not that impressed with the trailer. It kind of reminded me of 2006’s The Covenant, all special effects, no story. The film does have a couple of things going for it, primarily the fact that it has Timothy Olyphant. The next is that D.J. Caruso is a decent director, not great, but I thought that his modern adaptation of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Disturbia, was a very respectful and intense thriller. He also directed The Salton Sea, an underappreciated film from 2002, starring Val Kilmer. While I wouldn’t completely count this film out, its two leads, Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Argon, make me very hesitant to recommend it.


Rated: PG-13

Starring: Liam Neeson, January Jones, Aidan Quinn

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Synopsis from IMDB: A man awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, (not even his wife), believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.


Chris’ Take: I read a satirical interview with the studio about how this idea came to light: “How do you top Liam Neeson’s daughter getting captured and Liam Neeson kicking ass to get her back in Taken? Simple, Liam Neeson’s identity gets stolen and he has to kick everyone’s ass to get himself back.” This film does look almost exactly like Taken, but do not be fooled, it is not a sequel (that’s coming out next year probably). I enjoyed Taken  enough to say that I probably want to see this.

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Brandon T. Jackson, Jessica Lucas

Director: John Whitesell

Synopsis from IMDB: FBI agent Malcolm Turner and his stepson Trent go undercover at an all-girls performing arts school after Trent witnesses a murder.


Chris’ Take: I don’t recall hearing anyone ask for this sequel, except for maybe Martin Lawrence. The trailer is lame, the humor looks like a bunch of fat, drag sight gags and the type of people they want to get to this film have grown up or just don’t know who Martin Lawrence is. Add to that the fact that John Whitesell, the director, has such wonderful film credits to his name as Big Momma’s House 2, See Spot Run, Deck the Halls, and Malibu’s Most Wanted and you might have an early contender for worst film of the year.

Limited Releases

Vanishing on 7th Street

Rated: R

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo

Director: Brad Anderson

Synopsis from IMDB: When a massive power outage plunges the city of Detroit into total darkness, a disparate group of individuals find themselves alone. The entire city’s population has vanished into thin air, leaving behind heaps of empty clothing, abandoned cars and lengthening shadows. Soon the daylight begins to disappear completely, and as the survivors gather in an abandoned tavern, they realize the darkness is out to get them, and only their rapidly diminishing light sources can keep them safe.


Chris’ Take: While I am not a fan of Hayden Christensen, this film does look decent, and the early reviews for it are pretty good (73% on RT). Plus, Brad Anderson (Transsiberian, The Machinist) is a great director and it looks like the studios are finally giving him a little bit more financing, even if this is only a limited release.


2 Responses to “Opening This Week (14 – 20 Feb, 2011)”

  1. 2blu2btru February 14, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    This seems like a good crop of moderately good movies. I love Niam Leeson’s acting enough to give just about any movie he’s in the old college try. I love Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo, and Hayden Christensen was OK in the last movie I saw him in. I Am Number 4 sounds very vague (I can’t see the trailer, as I’m at work and media is network restricted :-(), but it may be worth a Netflix rental if the trailer is OK. I have no comment on the Big Mama’s House remake.

    • Chris Petersen February 14, 2011 at 11:37 am #

      I can’t think of a film that I didn’t like Liam Neeson in. Even if the movie was terrible, Liam Neeson always ended up being a small spark in it. I do like Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo as well. I think Newton is an underrated actress who showed her versatility in films like “W”.

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