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Opening This Week (19 Aug 2011)

17 Aug

Well, I have to say that I was a bit surprised that Rise of the Planet of the Apes was the box office winner again this week with a domestic total of $27.8 million. Apes became only the second film this summer season to take home top box office honors two weeks in a row (Thor was the other back in May). Finishing in 2nd was The Help with $26.0 million, and in third, Final Destination 5 with $18.0 million. The other major releases last week finished dismally. The action-comedy 30 Minutes or Less finished in fifth with $13.3 million, and Glee 3D finished in 11th wiht $6 million. With positive word of mouth and positive reviews, I think Rise could take the box office again this weekend since there isn’t a whole lot of competition again.

Conan the Barbarian

Rated: R

Starring: Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan, Stephen Lang

Director: Marcus Nispel

Synopsis from IMDB: The tale of Conan the Cimmerian and his adventures across the continent of Hyboria on a quest to avenge the murder of his father and the slaughter of his village.


Chris’ Take: I guess you could do worse for summer fare. Jason Momoa was great in Game of Thrones, but that may have been because he didn’t really talk, he just kind of stared menacingly and towered over everyone around him. I kind of lost interest in the trailer as soon as he opened his mouth. Anyway, if you’re looking for mindless action, this will definitely be your best bet this weekend. The early reviews are mixed (57% on RT), so it is difficult to say where this will land, but my guess is in the 30% range.

Fright Night

Rated: R

Starring: Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant

Director: Craig Gillespie 

Synopsis from IMDB: A teenager suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire.


Chris’ Take: The original 1985 Fright Night is one of the best horror-comedies ever. While I want to be excited about the film, especially since I think Colin Farell is a great pick as Jerry, it is hard to imagine that this film will re-capture the perfect combination of genres that the first one did. I also noticed that all the trailers are keeping Peter Vincent (David Tennant) pretty close to their chest, and he was an integral part of the original. Anyway, I will probably try to see this one and am holding on to hope that it will be decent.

One Day

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Tom Mison, Jodie Whittaker

Director: Lone Scherfig

Synopsis from IMDB: After spending the night together on the night of their college graduation Dexter and Em are shown each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives. They are sometimes together, sometimes not, on that day.


Chris’ Take: One Day looks like a mix of Friends With Benefits and A Lot Like Love, except they’ve thrown in British accents to make it seem different. However, as much as I’m not one who usually is interested in chick flicks, I do like Focus Features and I did like what director Lone Scherfig did with An Education, so I am somewhat intrigued by this film. I’ll probably put it down on the Netflix queue, but I won’t watch it alone, I will have to put it under the pretext of “date night in”.

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

Rated: PG

Starring: Jessica Alba, Joel McHale, Jeremy Piven, Alexa Vega

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Synopsis from IMDB: A retired spy is called back into action, and to bond with her new step-children, she invites them along for the adventure to stop the evil Timekeeper from taking over the world.


Chris’ Take: I can’t say I’ve seen any of the Spy Kids films, but I still have no desire to. The 4D Aromascope really sounds like a cheap gimmick. I read an article on it and it is just scratch and sniff. Yup, they give viewers a card of different scents and when you are prompted on the screen, you are supposed to scratch the appropriate one. I wonder if they will charge extra for that…..

Limited Releases

The Last Circus

Rated: R

Starring: Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Carolina Bang

Director: Alex de la Iglesia

Synopsis from RT: 1937, Spain is in the midst of the brutal Spanish Civil War. A “Happy” circus clown is interrupted mid-performance and forcibly recruited by a militia. Still in his costume, he is handed a machete and led into battle against National soldiers, where he single handedly massacres an entire platoon. Fast forward to 1973, the tail end of the Franco regime. Javier, the son of the clown, dreams of following in his father’s career footsteps.

Trailer (Caution: Red Band Trailer-disturbing content):

Chris’ Take: Wow, this trailer did nothing to help me get over the fear of clowns that I developed after watching It and Poltergeist, but for different reasons. This is a mix of comedy and disturbing drama and is receiving great reviews (90% on RT). The trailer alone is unsettling and unforgiving. Anyway, this is probably something that I will have to be in the right mood for, but I am definitely interested.

Griff the Invisible

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Maeve Dermody, Marshall Napier, Heather Mitchell

Director: Leon Ford

Synopsis from IMDB: Griff, office worker by day, superhero by night, has his world turned upside down when he meets Melody, a beautiful young scientist who shares his passion for the impossible.


Chris’ Take: It looks like this is trying to be a deeper look at the Spider-Man and pretty much any other superhero love story. I don’t know how I feel about it. The reviews are positive (83% on RT) which makes me want to give it a chance, but I am growing tired of superhero and superhero knock off stories.


Rated: Unrated

Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Tim Blake Nelson

Director: Rob Minkoff

Synopsis from IMDB: A man caught in the middle of two simultaneous robberies at the same bank desperately tries to protect the teller with whom he’s secretly in love.


Chris’ Take: The trailer makes this film look very entertaining, I like pretty much everyone in the cast, especially Tim Blake Nelson and Pruitt Taylor Vince, but the reviews are kind of vexing (25% on RT). So, I might add this to Netflix, but apparently there is a good chance that it won’t be good, although the reviews aren’t the final say.


Opening This Week (22 July, 2011)

18 Jul

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 broke just about every box office record for an opening weekend, raking in $168.6 million in 3 days, beating out the previous record held by 2008’s The Dark Knight (158 million). Not only that, but it brought in $307 million in international box office revenue as well, beating out Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tide’s previous record, which brought their combined opening weekend total to a staggering $475 million. Not only did it break all those records, it also set the record for the most successful midnight showing, preying on $43 million dollars from all those eager Harry Potter fans. The next movie behind Harry Potter this weekend was Transformers: Dark of the Moon which fell 55% to $21.2 million. Horrible Bosses finished third with $17 million. Here’s the next lineup to compete with young wizard:

Captain America: The First Avenger

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Hayley Atwell

Director: Joe Johnston

Synopsis from IMDB: After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals.


Chris’ Take: While I’m not as excited about this one as I was about X-Men: First Class, this is still a superhero movie that I am really pumped about. I like the visual style and the fact that it looks like they are trying to develop a character on top of just throwing a stock one into the mix. I like Chris Evans as Captain America as well and I hope he can wipe the stench of Fantastic Four off of him. Joe Johnston is familiar with both action and comedy elements, so he is a decent pick to helm as well. However, I haven’t really liked a movie he’s done since October Sky. I have high hopes for this film, but unfortunately there aren’t any early reviews yet for me to gauge how this might turn out.

Friends With Benefits

Rated: R

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Particia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman

Director: Will Gluck

Synopsis from IMDB: While trying to avoid the clichés of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis) soon discover however that adding the act of sex to their friendship does lead to complications.


Chris’ Take: It has been said multiple times by multiple people that this looks almost exactly the same as No Strings Attached, which came out earlier this year, and I am guessing they will end the same way….the two get together at the end and perpetuate the stereotypes of the chick flicks they claim to despise. I could be wrong though, but it would be quite a task to believeably take it in a direction that would have the “just sex” relationship ending in either disaster or getting together. Anyway, I could be pleasantly surprised. I like the two leads and Will Gluck directed last year’s Easy A, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Life in a Day

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Multiple People in All Over the World

Director: Kevin Macdonald, Joseph Michael

Synopsis from IMDB: A documentary shot by filmmakers all over the world that serves as a time capsule to show future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010.


Chris’ Take: This is a very intriguing concept and apparently did really well at film festivals. While I doubt I’ll catch this one in theaters, I am definitely adding to Netflix once it comes out.

A Little Help

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Jenna Fischer, Chris O’Donnell, Kim Coates, Lesley Ann Warren 

Director: Michael J. Weithorn

Synopsis from IMDB: A woman gets entangled in a series of bizarre lies in order to take care of herself and her 12 year old son.


Chris’ Take: I like Jenna Fischer, but I think she picks terrible movies to be in. I don’t think this will be an exception. There are no early reviews on RottenTomatoes, but it does have a poor 5.2 rating on IMDB. I want to see Fischer succeed, but I don’t think this film will help at all.

Opening this Week (08 July, 2011)

7 Jul

The holiday weekend proved to be a monster success for Transformers: Dark of the Moon with the film earning over $100 million domestically ($116M) and $416M globally through the 4th of July.  Last week’s other wide releases didn’t fare so well.  Larry Crowne bombed at the box office, finishing fourth behind Cars 2 (31.6M) and Bad Teacher (17.3M), both in their second week.  Monte Carlo (8.59M) was sixth at the box office behind Super 8 (9.3M).  Even with an expected significant drop off from this week’s total, I don’t expect Transformers to fall from the number one spot.

The Zookeeper

Rated: PG

Starring: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson and Leslie Bibb

Director: Frank Coraci

Synopsis from IMDB: A group of zoo animals decide to break their code of silence in order to help their lovable zookeeper (Kevin James) find love — without opting to leave his current job for something more illustrious. woman.


Chris’ Take: I expect come award season in February, this film will be nominated for more Razzie’s than any other, that is unless Twilight: Breaking Dawn pt. 1 can top it.  The jokes and videos circulating the internet about this film are probably all funnier than the actual film itself, and I wonder if the billable stars in this film are aware of the mockery,  James especially, with all the marketing he’s done for the film.  However, the sad reality of it all is that this film will probably be the highest grossing new release of the week.

Horrible Bosses

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis

Director: Seth Gordon

Synopsis from IMDB: Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness.


Chris’ Take: I have high hopes that Horrible Bosses will overcome the Jennifer Aniston curse and be a success.  With the three stars and a highly touted supporting cast I expect this film to be pretty funny, it helps that the trailers have done well not to give away too much either.  The early reviews for this film are strong (87% on Rotten Tomatoes) so hopefully that adequately reflects the quality of the film.

Limited Releases

Project Nim

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Bob Angelini, Bern Cohen and Reagan Leonard

Director: James Marsh

Synopsis from IMDB: Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.


Chris’ Take: This documentary is directed by the same guy who directed Man on Wire, one of the most critically acclaimed documentaries of all time. The early reviews for this have been very positive (96% on RT). I like James Marsh’s approach of taking little snippets of history and fleshing them out so that they become something more significant in the broader scope of humanity. I’ll put this one on my Netflix when the chance comes.

Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest

Rated: R

Starring: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammad

Director: Michael Rapaport

Synopsis from IMDB: Having forged a 20-year run as one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time, the Queens NY collective known as ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ have kept a generation hungry for more of their groundbreaking music since their much publicized breakup in 1998. Michael Rapaport documents the inner workings and behind the scenes drama that follows the band to this day. He explores what’s next for, what many claim, are the pioneers of alternative rap.


Chris’ Take: Seems more up Pac’s alley than mine, but recently documentaries have really intrigued me. Maybe I’ve become more aware of them in the last year since we started the blog, or maybe it was how I recently fell in love with Exit Through the Gift Shop, but whatever it is, I certainly am looking forward to more of these in the future. This looks similar to the Beastie Boys doc that came out this year. Maybe they should coin a term for this style, the rap-umentary.

The Ward

Rated: R

Starring: Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer and Danielle Panabaker

Director: John Carpenter

Synopsis from IMDB: A thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost.


Chris’ Take: The Ward hasn’t been receiving positive reviews so far (40% on RT), but it is a new John Carpenter film, so I will probably give it a look. Hopefully, it won’t turn out to be like Wes Craven’s film My Soul to Take, which showed how a veteran horror director seems to be losing his touch. However, My Soul had a whopping (8%), so this is at least 5 times better than that.


Rated: R

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Jason Flemyng and Brian Cox

Director: Jonathan English

Synopsis from IMDB: In 13th-century England, a small group of Knights Templar fight to defend Rochester Castle against the tyrannical King John.


Chris’ Take: After watching the trailer, I don’t fully have a grasp on what’s going on besides a bunch of shouting. Paul Giamatti, even though I love the guy, when he shouts, he doesn’t inspire me, it sounds more like whining. I can’t really buy Giamatti as a leader, he is more of a sad sack everyman, but he could prove me wrong. The RT ratings are pretty low though, 37%, so there isn’t much hope for this film being good. I’ll probably pass on this one.

Opening This Week (01 Jul, 2011)

27 Jun

As expected, Car 2 sped past all the other competition in the box office this past weekend, with a final weekend total of $68 million. Bad Teacher had a decent start for an R-Rated comedy, enough to take the #2 spot with $31 million. Green Lantern‘s light dimmed significantly, dropping to #3 with $18 million, an almost 66% drop in revenue from last weekend. If two summers ago is any indication of the box office this weekend, we will have a new #1 this weekend:

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Opens June 29th)

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro

Director: Michael Bay

Synopsis from IMDB: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.


Chris’ Take: I really hope that there is more Navy involvement in this movie. That provided most of my entertainment in the last film. I love learning about new weapons systems that I didn’t know we had. Apparently, Shia LaBeouf and Michael Bay have apologized about how crappy the last Transformers movie was, and vowed to make this one better, even going as far as filming it in 3D. I heard a lot about the 3D technology used in this film, so I will probably try to see it in that format. There are 4 reviews in so far on RottenTomatoes, and 3 of them are good reviews, but they are pretty luke warm. We’ll see what happens, but like a car wreck that I can’t look away from, I will probably stick around to watch this one.

Larry Crowne

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Bryan Cranston

Director: Tom Hanks

Synopsis from IMDB: After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.


Chris’ Take: That Thing You Do was one of my favorite films when I was younger, and that was Tom Hanks’ last directorial effort. While this film looks fairly formulaic, pretty much anything Hanks is involved with turns out to be at least “decent”. So, I am not normally one for chick flicks, but I think this could be one that I could be convinced to see. There aren’t any early reviews yet, but if you’re looking for a nice alternative to the bombastic Michael Bay Transformers film, this is probably a safe bet.

Monte Carlo

Rated: PG

Starring: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy

Director: Thomas Bezucha

Synopsis from IMDB: Three young women vacationing in Paris find themselves whisked away to Monte Carlo after one of the girls is mistaken for a British heiress.


Chris’ Take: I guess they needed a movie that appealed to tween girls in order to cash in on a group that might feel ostracized during the weekend release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. There was not a single clever moment in the whole trailer, and based on the talent found in this group, I doubt there will be through the whole movie. No early reviews yet, so nothing really to compare it to. Anyway, if you’re looking to drop off your tween daughter for some harmless fun while you get some adult time, this would be a great movie for them . Just make sure you make them pay their own way.

Limited Releases


Rated: R

Starring: John C. Reilly, Creed Bratton, Jacob Wysocki

Director: Azazel Jacobs

Synopsis from IMDB: Centers on a large 15-year-old boy in a small town as he struggles to adjust to his difficult life.


Chris’ Take: John C. Reilly is co-starring in another indie film with a guy’s name as a title, and focuses on a troubled large person (Cyrus and Terri). While Cyrus seemed more for laughs, this seems like a film that has a more poignant dramatic focus. I think it will also be nice seeing Creed out of The Office. With 75% on RT, this probably will be a decent and thoughtful viewing.

The Perfect Host

Rated: R

Starring: David Hyde Pierce, Nathaniel Parker, Helen Reddy

Director: Nick Tomnay

Synopsis from IMDB: A criminal on the run cons his way into the wrong dinner party where the host is anything but ordinary.


Chris’ Take: I was just musing the other day, while watching Wet Hot American Summer, about what happened to David Hyde Pierce. He is a humorous, yet quirky fellow, even if he would probably be pegged as a nerdy chemistry type for the rest of his career. When I watched this trailer, I didn’t really know what to make of it. It seemed like an odd mix of The Collector, Weekend at Bernie’s and House Party. I am a bit confused, but a bit intrigued. The reviews are mixed (50% on RT), which seem to mirror my confused state about this film.

Finally, if you’ve read this far, you really probably have nothing better to do today do you? To reward you, in honor of Michael Bay’s “genius”, I give you one of my favorite South Park clips:

Opening This Week (24 Jun, 2011)

21 Jun

Green Lantern‘s light was powerful enough to take the #1 box office spot this past weekend, bringing in $52.1 million. While this was apparently below studio expectations, especially after the extensive marketing campaign, it is right about where I thought it would end up, especially since Green Lantern is not one of the better known superheroes. Super 8 ($21.5 million) beat out Mr. Popper’s Penguins ($18.4 millioin) to take the #2 spot. Here’s what we got opening this week:

Cars 2

Rated: G

Starring: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Emily Mortimer, Michael Caine

Director: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis

Synopsis from IMDB: Star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix race. But the road to the championship becomes rocky as Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.


Chris’ Take: I was never really interested in seeing the first Cars, and this one looks even less interesting to me. Pixar films are usually great quality, and the first Cars did receive a mid-70% on RT. This one is at 80% on RT right now, and I’m sure it will be enjoyable, but it looks a lot like Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift meets Cars, which doesn’t really appeal to me.

Bad Teacher

Rated: R

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, John Michael Higgins

Director: Jake Kasdan

Synopsis from IMDB: A comedy centered around a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague — a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher.


Chris’ Take: While I normally take exception to Cameron Diaz, I am willing to give her a chance because this preview is pretty funny. Justin Timberlake has proven his comedic chops as well, so they might be a humorous duo to watch together. The early reviews have been mixed (50% on RT), but I am still willing to give it a shot because some of my favorite comedies (Step Brothers in particular) are right around that percentage.

Limited Releases

A Better Life

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Demian Bichir, Jose Julian, Dolores Heredia

Director: Chris Weitz

Synopsis from IMDB: A gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.


Chris’ Take: Looks like it has the potential to be a little bit more than the run-of-the-mill “father wants a better life for his son” story. The performances appear subtle and heart moving, and the 86% on RT, seems to echo those sentiments. While it might not be a theater viewing, it could be a good Netflix choice.

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop

Rated: R

Starring: Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter

Director: Rodman Flender

Synopsis from RT: After a much-publicized departure from hosting NBC’s Tonight Show – and the severing of a 22-year relationship with the network – O’Brien hit the road with a 32-city music-and-comedy show to exercise his performing chops and exorcise a few demons. The “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” was O’Brien’s answer to a contractual stipulation that banned his appearance on television, radio and the Internet for six months following his last show. Filmmaker Rodman Flender’s resulting documentary, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, is an intimate portrait of an artist trained in improvisation, captured at the most improvisational time of his career. It offers a window into the private writers room and rehearsal halls as O’Brien’s “half-assed show” (his words) is almost instantly assembled and mounted to an adoring fan base.


Chris’ Take: Conan O’Brien has a very dedicated fanbase, and this seems like the film for them; a rare look behind the curtain. I think the trailer looks intriguing, equal parts comedy and drama.  The reviews are fairly good, 75% on RT, but it might be hard finding it in theaters, so check it out on Netflix.

Opening This Week (17 June 2011)

14 Jun

The summer movie season is in full swing, but it doesn’t look like the Box Office is delivering the numbers the studios hoped for. Super 8 led this past weekend, and while $37 million is nothing to scoff at, it is surprisingly low for the summer opening weekend of a J.J. Abrams/Stephen Spielberg film. X-Men: First Class finished second with $25 million, and The Hangover Part II  held strong in third with $18 million. The real surprise box office story right now is Bridesmaids, and while it finished in sixth place for the weekend, it hasn’t really lost steam  in its fifth week of release. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was only in its third week of release and it barely beat out Bridesmaids ($10.8 million to Bridesmaids’ $10.2 million). So, the huge blockbusters aren’t really paying off the way that the studios anticipated. This does not bode well for the big release this week either:

The Green Lantern

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Peter Sarsgaard, Blake Lively, Geoffrey Rush

Director: Martin Campbell

Synopsis from IMDB: A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.


Chris’ Take: Green Lantern is a series I’m only mildly familiar with. I read some of the comic books when I was younger, but not enough to grasp the full scope of the comic. The closest I’ve come to The Green Lantern after th comic was beating the crap out of some Mortal Kombat characters with him in Mortal Kombat vs. D.C. Universe. While I think that the film looks overly-CGIed, I’ll probably see it for the sake of seeing a comic book character come to life. RT doesn’t have any early reviews, so it is hard to gauge how good it might be. I’ll just have to tell you on Monday.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Rated: PG

Starring: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury

Director: Mark Waters

Synopsis from IMDB: The life of a businessman begins to change after he inherits six penguins, and as he transforms his apartment into a winter wonderland, his professional side starts to unravel.


Chris’ Take: ” Oh, Jim Carrey…what the heck are you doing?” There used to be a good way to phrase that question, but I found myself asking it with very negative connotations while I watched this preview. The preview looks almost on par with Kevin James’ new project The Zookeeper, which you can see parodied perfectly in this video:

Anyway, while it is unfair to judge a movie based off its trailer, I can’t see a way that this can be good. The book itself was rather cheesy and forgettable. This film will most likely not be enjoyed by anyone over the age of 10.

 Limited Releases

The Art of Getting By

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Elisabeth Reaser, Michael Angarano

Director: Gavin Wiesen

Synopsis from IMDB: George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who’s made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, is befriended by Sally, a popular but complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.


Chris’ Take: This arthouse project has a lot of young talent, and certainly a cinematic eye, but the early reviews have been a little rough (29% on RT). So, while this may be something that could pay off for the patient, it probably is something that requires a Netflix viewing to save money.

Opening This Week (10 Jun, 2011)

9 Jun

It might be hard topping last week’s big release, X-Men: First Class, but there is some competition this week, mainly from the master of summer cinema, Stephen Spielberg:

Super 8

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, Joe Lamb

Director: J.J. Abrams

Synopsis from IMDB: After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the creepy phenomenon.


Chris’ Take: J.J. Abrams plus Stephen Spielberg means Cloverfield meets E.T..  I miss the coming of age films of the eighties and early nineties that I grew up watching and this seems to echo that, so I hope that it brings back the instilled sense of wonder that those films captured. The reviews so far have been positive (82% on RT), but most of them are saying that while it is entertaining, it is a little emotionally flat. I wasn’t really expecting J.J. Abrams to write or direct anything emotionally profound, just to tell a good story.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

Rated: PG

Starring: Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Parris Mosteller

Director: John Schultz

Synopsis from IMDB: Third-grader Judy Moody sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life.


Chris’ Take: You know those car commercials with that obnoxious kid who tells his parents that they need to spend $35,000 on a new car if they want to be cool? And because the parents apparently let the kid run their finances and need to be considered cool, they buy it? Yeah, it looks like a two hour version of that commercial, except the added travesty this time is that they drag Heather Graham into it; she deserves better. The 14% on RT right now doesn’t seem to indicate that I am wrong about this one.

Limited Releases


Rated: PG-13

Starring: Otto Jesperson, Hans Morten Hansen, Johanna Morch

Director: Andre Ovredal

Synopsis from IMDB: A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.


Chris’ Take: Boasting that a film is “The Most Important Film of Our Time” in the trailer is a pretty bold statement, but it looked more sarcastic than anything. The film itself looks interesting, even though the documentary style horror film is getting way over-used right now. The reviews are positive (73% on RT) which bodes well. Pac also included this on his list of Most Anticipated Summer Movies, so we’ll probably try to track this one down.

The Trip

Rated: Unrated

Starring: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Margo Stilley

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Synopsis from IMDB: When Steve Coogan is asked by The Observer to tour the country’s finest restaurants, he envisions it as the perfect getaway with his beautiful girlfriend. But, when she backs out on him, he has no one to accompany him but his best friend and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon.


Chris’ Take: The Trip was apparently a popular miniseries in England before becoming a feature film, and now the film has gained popularity while debuting at various film festivals. It really looks like Coogan and Brydon made an entire movie of them just hanging out, which looks enjoyable, but the trailer is kind of repetitive. I hope that they do more than just impressions in the film because that could get old. However, with the positive reviews (80% on RT), it looks like it could potentially be a sleeper comedy hit that would be worth watching on DVD….probably with a couple drinks.