Tag Archives: Motion Picture Association of America film rating system

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 (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 (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 (Apr 25 – May 1, 2011)

28 Apr

There are definitely some candidates this week threatening to oust Rio from its two week run atop the box office, with another childish idea for a movie (Fast Five) and also an actual kids movie (Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil). Let’s run ’em down:

Fast Five

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jordana Brewster

Director: Justin Lin

Synopsis from IMDB: Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.


Chris’ Take: I have seen every single one of these films and despised them more with each viewing. While the reviews for this film are by far the best out of the franchise, the previous four have taken out of me any desire to see this installment. To add more meatheaded madness to Fast Five, the cast has added Dwayne “Forever Known as The Rock” Johnson. Maybe this will finally be his first overall positively reviewed film ever.

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil

Rated: PG

Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Patrick Warburton, Glenn Close, David Ogden Stiers 

Director: Mike Disa

Synopsis from IMDB: Red Riding Hood is training in the group of Sister Hoods, when she and the Wolf are called to examine the sudden mysterious disappearance of Hansel and Gretel.


Chris’ Take: The first Hoodwinked film was “OK” at best. There were moments of humor, but were offset for me when I discovered it was a musical. So, suffice to say, it was not my cup of tea, but I know that there were a lot of people, mainly kids, that thoroughly enjoyed it. After watching the trailer for the second one, and reading some of the early reviews (18% on RT), it sounds like the sequel will be more of the same, except with less humor.


Rated: PG

Starring: Thomas McDonnell, Aimee Teegarden, Siu Yin Chang, De’Vaughn Nixon

Director: Joe Nussbaum

Synopsis from IMDB: A group of teenagers get ready for their high school prom.


Chris’ Take: This Prom seems about as exciting and creative as the synopsis posted above. I suppose every generation needs multiple movies about the big event to call their own, but I doubt this one will go down in memory as one of the best. It is receiving mixed reviews (54% on RT), which is better than I would expect, but not enough for me to recommend seeing this one.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Brandon Routh, Taye Diggs, Sam Huntington, Anita Briem

Director: Kevin Munroe

Synopsis from IMDB: The adventures of supernatural private eye, Dylan Dog, who seeks out the monsters of the Louisiana bayou in his signature red shirt, black jacket, and blue jeans.


Chris’ Take: Brandon Routh proved that he can pull of dead pan humor, as seen in his character in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, so this film certainly has something going for it right there. It looks like it is trying to be the next Shaun of the Dead, which will be very hard to pull off and from the early reviews, it does not look like it does. I’m willing to give it a chance though and hope to find it entertaining at least.

13 Assassins

Rated: R

Starring: Arata Furuta, Hiroki Matsukata, Kazuki Namioka, Koji Yakusho

Director: Takashi Miike

Synopsis from IMDB: A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.


Chris’ Take: The premise seems simple, but the trailer looks to make it much more spectacular. The cinematography especially looks far above average, and it looks like it could be a more sophisticated version of 300. The early reviews have been outstanding (87% on RT), so this looks like it would definitely be worth checking out.

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.

Opening This Week (28 Mar – 3 Apr, 2011)

28 Mar

Even with all the negative buzz about Sucker Punch, I expected it to top the box office this past weekend. However, it was outdone by Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules. Still, both of them sputtered around this weekend, Wimpy Kid made $24 million and Sucker Punch made $19 million. Limitless took third place with $15 million. We definitely have an eclectic bunch of films coming out this weekend, but this week there is a treasure trove of limited releases that might be worth checking out as well.

Source Code

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright

Director: Duncan Jones

Synopsis from IMDB: An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.


Chris’ Take: I was hesitant to be interested in this film. I am not a huge fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, that might be because my fiance is, but that is beside the point. While it looked like a cool concept, it also looked a lot like Deja Vu. Also, I hadn’t seen a full length trailer until just now either. I had seen the frenetic tv bits of explosions and looks of sad sack desperation that Gyllenhaal has mastered, so I was skeptical. But the full length trailer is pretty solid and it is directed by Duncan Jones, who wrote and directed 2009’s Moon, which was a great film. This will be his second full length feature and the early reviews have been positive (currently 86% on RT) so this is probably a safe bet this weekend.


Rated: PG

Starring: Russell Brand, James Marsden, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins

Director: Tim Hill

Synopsis from IMDB: E.B., the Easter Bunny’s teenage son, heads to Hollywood, determined to become a drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band. In LA, he’s taken in by Fred after the out-of-work slacker hits E.B. with his car.


Chris’ Take: While James Marsden usually does better in comedic roles, this isn’t really what I had in mind. Plus, Russell Brand is just a grating british accent when you take away his continual string of vulgar humor. Throw in the words, “From the Director of Alvin and the Chipmunks” and you can guarantee I’ll be staying away from this one. While I might not be excited about this film, I know people who love animated cute furry animals are, so if that is your thing, this could be the movie for you this weekend.


Rated: PG-13

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins

Director: James Wan

Synopsis from IMDB: A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.


Chris’ Take: It has been a little while since there was a decent horror film, but based on the cast and people involved with this project, I am mildly optimistic. James Wan hasn’t done a whole lot for the horror genre since he gave us the first Saw film, but that became the gift that kept on giving. I hope that this film is more focused and finished than that, but I will probably wait for DVD for this one.

Limited Releases


Rated: Unrated

Starring: Rainn Wilson, Liv Tyler, Ellen Page, Kevin Bacon

Director: James Gunn

Synopsis from IMDB: After his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills.


Chris’ Take: My first thoughts about this were that it looked exactly like Kick-Ass, but with a higher billed cast. I watched the trailer though and found myself chuckling quite a bit. Unfortunately, since this is a limited release, I will probably have to wait for Netflix. While Rainn Wilson does look funny in this film, I still am not sure about his ability to anchor an entire movie. Fortunately, this time around he has some better talent surrounding him than his last starring venture, The Rocker.


Rated: R

Starring: Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Wings Hauser, Roxane Mesquida

Director: Quentin Dupieux

Synopsis from IMDB: When Robert, an inanimate tire, discovers his destructive telepathic powers, he soon sets his sights on a desert town; in particular, a mysterious woman becomes his obsession.


Chris’ Take: Yes, you read that synopsis correctly. No, you were not hallucinating when you were watching that trailer. This is a movie about a murderous, telekinetic tire. The trailer for this film started making tracks (pun intended) several months ago, circulating in movie forums like Reddit, usually with the headline, “Is this a joke?” To tell you honestly, I am still not sure. I mean, it is being released in theaters on April Fools Day, but I hope so much that it is for real because this movie looks subversively hilarious.


Rated: R

Starring: Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Noah Emmerich

Director: David Schwimmer

Synopsis from IMDB: A teenage girl is targeted by an online sexual predator.


Chris’ Take: I’m really glad that I don’t really have to see David Schwimmer’s face anymore. His first directorial feature, Run Fatboy Run, was a comedy, he stuck with what he knows and he didn’t do half bad, making me like him much more behind the camera than in front of it (not that that was difficult). Now, he is stepping into unfamiliar territory with Trust and it is doing really well with critics and was an official selection at a couple of Film Festivals. I am intrigued by the premise, hopefully going away from the overwrought tone of most predatory films and delving into the ripple effect it creates in the lives of those it involves.


Rated: R

Starring: Adrien Brody, Caroline Dhavernas, Ryan Robbins, Jacob Blair

Director: Michael Greenspan

Synopsis from IMDB: A man trapped in a car wreck at the bottom of a ravine must overcome incredible odds to survive.


Chris’ Take: This film looks like a mix of Buried, Alive and Unknown. I like Adrien Brody, except when he is pretending to be an action hero, so hopefully this will recover him from that. I am on the fence about this one, but it might be worth checking out.

In a Better World

Rated: R

Starring: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Markus Rygaard

Director: Susanne Bier

Synopsis from IMDB: The lives of two Danish families cross each other, and an extraordinary but risky friendship comes into bud. But loneliness, frailty and sorrow lie in wait.


Chris’ Take: In a Better World was the Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Language Film and it is now getting a limited release in U.S. theaters. It looks like a pretty intense view of a long distance family and is probably worth viewing on Netflix, or it might be available On Demand.

Opening This Week (07 – 13 Mar, 2011)

8 Mar

We have a lot of new releases coming out this week. While some might be worth checking out, others are laughable, but all in all it is still better than just about any offering that February had. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got:

Red Riding Hood

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, Gary Oldman, Julie Christie

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Synopsis from IMDB: Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family’s displeasure.


Chris’ Take: This is the second emo-adaptation of a fairy tale this year, the first being the critically panned Beastly. As soon as I saw “From the Director of Twilight….” roll across the screen, I groaned. So did just about everyone in the audience when we saw the trailer. While I could be wrong, since Gary Oldman always brings some spark to the screen, chances are it will be more about sacrificing everything for the love of some creepy hunk instead of taking a more reasonable approach to love. Great stuff for the teenage girls, not so much for the adults.

Battle: Los Angeles

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridgette Moynahan

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Synopsis from IMDB: A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles.


Chris’ Take: My anticipation around this one is all about the trailer, mainly the hauntingly robotic soundtrack that seems to set a different tone than other invasion films.

Marvin went uncredited for vocals in that song.

The director, Jonathan Liebesman, is kind of sketchy.  Maybe he is finally able to pick his projects, but Darkness Falls was pretty awful. He is taking on quite a conglomeration of genres. Here is a breakdown that I found on Filmschoolrejects

I love invasion movies, they have always excited me despite their triteness. So, Pac and I will probably check this one out this weekend.

Mars Needs Moms

Rated: PG

Starring: Seth Green, Dan Fogler, Joan Cusack, Elisabeth Harnois

Director: Simon Wells

Synopsis from IMDB: A young boy named Milo gains a deeper appreciation for his mom after Martians come to Earth to take her away.


Chris’ Take: I suppose I can’t be too hard on this film, even though it looks like one of the worst ideas for an animated adventure in a while.

Oh wait...maybe it hasn't been that long.

Since it is for kids, I think it will probably be harmless fare.

Jane Eyre

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench

Director: Cary Fukunaga

Synopsis from IMDB: A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he’s hiding a terrible secret.


Chris’ Take: Well, the cast is good and Focus Feature bats around a .750 for decent films, so it has that going for it. I was enjoying the trailer hinting at a new approach to the novel, but could not help but chuckle as Michael Fassbender shouts after Jane at the end. It seemed rather melodramatic and I hope that was not indicative of the film as a whole.

Limited Releases

Elektra Luxx

Rated: R

Starring: Carla Gugino, Alicia Silverstone, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Timothy Olyphant

Director: Sebastian Gutierrez

Synopsis from IMDB: Life for porn actress Elektra Luxx gets turned upside down when she finds out she’s pregnant.


Chris’ Take: It looks like a mix between the familial bonds of the adult film industry, as seen in Boogie Nights, and the Kevin Smith style humor from Zach and Miri Make a Porno. I think it has the potential to be a decent, humorous, and somewhat insightful film.

Black Death

Rated: R

Starring: Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, David Warner, Carnice van Houten

Director: Christopher Smith

Synopsis from IMDB: Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is tasked with learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life in a small village.


Chris’ Take: I kept waiting for Nic Cage to show up for some reason. Maybe because this looks like Season of the Witch, but with a much better cast and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of distracting special effects. I think Sean Bean feels most comfortable when dressed in medieval attire, but I am on the fence about whether or not I think this will be good.

Kill the Irishman

Rated: R

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken, Vincent D’Onofrio

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh

Synopsis from IMDB: The true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970’s.


Chris’ Take: I hope this finally brings around another good crime thriller; it’s been a little while. I think Ray Stevenson is a great actor for this role and I think the ensemble cast is promising. I think I would be even more excited if the trailer had a decade appropriate soundtrack.