Opening This Week (18 – 24 Apr, 2011)

18 Apr

For the third week in a row, an animated movie topped the box office. Rio opened this past weekend with $40 million dollars, the best opening weekend so far this year, the second and third best were also animated films (Rango and Hop). Rio’s total was more than double the second place finisher, Scream 4, which finished below projections with $19.3 million. Hop remained in the top three this week, bringing in another $11 million. There probably won’t be much competition for Rio this week, with only a couple of modest releases this weekend.

Water for Elephants

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz, Paul Schneider

Director: Francis Lawrence

Synopsis from IMDB: A veterinary student abandons his studies after his parents are killed and joins a traveling circus as their vet.


Chris’ Take: I like the tone of the trailer for this film, and I am interested in seeing Christoph Waltz’s talents put to use again. However, I am still a little skeptical about the film as whole. Mainly the fact that Robert Pattinson hasn’t really proven himself as an actor who can truly anchor a film. Francis Lawrence is making a directorial shift here as well. His past two feature films were I am Legend and Constantine, so he is really going to need to focus on character development and story rather than special effects.

African Cats

Rated: G

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson

Director: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey

Synopsis from IMDB: A nature documentary centered on two cat families and how they teach their cubs the ways of the wild.


Chris’ Take: I think this is the exact same documentary I saw at the Boston Museum of Science in the fourth grade. The African Cats seem to be a very popular subject of nature documentaries and Disney is bringing it out this Earth Day with Samuel L. Jackson narrating. While I’m sure it will be interesting, you can also probably see the same thing on Animal Planet at least three times a week.

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Tyler Perry, Bow Wow, Isaiah Mustafa, Loretta Devine

Director: Tyler Perry

Synopsis from IMDB: Madea jumps into action when her niece, Shirley, receives distressing news about her health. All Shirley wants is to gather her three adult children around her and share the news as a family. But Tammy, Kimberly and Byron are too distracted by their own problems: Tammy can’t manage her unruly children or her broken marriage; Kimberly is gripped with anger and takes it out on her husband; and Byron, after spending two years in jail, is under pressure to deal drugs again. It’s up to Madea, with the help of the equally rambunctious Aunt Bam, to gather the clan together and make things right the only way she knows how: with a lot of tough love, laughter … and the revelation of a long-buried family secret.


Chris’ Take: I’m going to be honest, I have no interest in seeing this. I am not saying that it might not be good for those that are, but I just can’t find much to say about this film. It seems like Tyler Perry never leaves the studio, whether it is doing TV or making another Madea movie, it seems like he decides which days he wants to put on make up and which days he would rather just hang out behind the camera (which apparently is rolling about 24-7).

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Morgan Spurlock, Ralph Nader

Director: Morgan Spurlock

Synopsis from IMDB: A documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement.


Chris’ Take: This documentary looks like it was a lot of fun to make, searingly poking fun at advertising. I am intrigued by the premise and will probably get around to seeing this, but not in theaters.

Limited Releases


Rated: R

Starring: Maxime Gaudette, Remy Girard

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Synopsis from IMDB: A mother’s last wishes send twins Jeanne and Simon on a journey to Middle East in search of their tangled roots. Adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s acclaimed play, Incendies tells the powerful and moving tale of two young adults’ voyage to the core of deep-rooted hatred, never-ending wars and enduring love.


Chris’ Take: This film looks like a gripping dramatic mystery into a barren land. It was released last year internationally, but is now receiving a wider release in the States. It is currently at 96% on RottenTomatoes, so it is probably worth a look.

The Bang Bang Club

Rated: Unrated

Starring: Malin Akerman, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Phillippe

Director: Steven Silver

Synopsis from IMDB: A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.


Chris’ Take: I hadn’t heard of this film until I started writing this article, but out of the films this week, this one seems to have the most potential. There is a great cast and a compelling topic, combined with a relatively fresh director who is making his jump from documentaries to feature films. So, I’ll probably track this one down on Netflix.


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