Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weekend Movie Guide

"Cowboys and Aliens" - Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde
In the Old West, a group of cowboys find themselves besieged by an army of aliens. The key to their salvation lies in the hands of a mysterious stranger (Craig) who happens to have an alien weapon attached to his arm. I think "Cowboys" to be a classic case of over exposure. When the trailers started rolling out last year, I was THOROUGHLY on board but the more I see of the film, the more nervous I get. It has an outstanding pedigree with an excellent cast, a proven action director (Jon Favreau), and a killer writing team (Damon Lindelof and the rest of the "Lost" team) but you start to wonder if there's really much you can do with the premise. Early reviews have been fairly spotty and I'm really not sure what to expect at this point. Hoping (cautiously) for good things.

Value: $7 I can't, with any certainty, say this'll be worth the full price of a theatrical admission but it's impossible for me to ignore the potential of a raucous summer blockbuster like this. Plus, if nothing else, it won't look as good on your home TV as it will on screen.

"Crazy, Stupid, Love." - Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone
A middle aged family man (Carell) has his world rocked when his wife (Moore) leaves him for another man (Kevin Bacon). Distraught and unsure of himself, he reenters the dating world with the help of a younger playboy (Gosling) who happens to be having his own problems with a new girl (Stone). I've been looking forward to "CSL" for a while now. I'm a big fan of dark-tinted comedies but on top of that, there are very, very few actors in this world who can bring real, genuine heart to a comedy like Steve Carell can. I was also very intrigued by the fact that apparently Carell demanded that Gosling be his co-star; such a different and original pairing. With a "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I'm probably more excited about this than I am "Cowboys and Aliens."

Value: $10 for me, probably $7 for you I'm a pretty self-aware guy so I recognize that it's likely that I'm more interested in this film than the average person. Still, I'd be willing to bet this is worth your time.

"The Smurfs" - Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays
When the Smurfs invade the life of a hip New Yorker (NPH), the 86 minute runtime turns into a Saturday morning cartoon on CGI steroids. I'm not going to say one bad word about this "film"; instead, I'd just like to present you with the collected works of director Raja Gosnell and let you make your own decisions: "Home Alone 3"; "Never Been Kissed"; "Big Momma's House"; "Scooby-Doo"; "Scooby Doo 2"; "Yours, Mine, and Ours"; "Beverly Hills Chihuahua." If you've successfully sat through more than two of those movies without attempting suicide in "Airplane" fashion, you're a better man than I.

Value: $0 If you end up seeing this, you're either high or you have kids who aren't old enough to see "Captain America." Either way, the theater should probably be forced to give you some sort of compensation for watching this mess.

"Attack the Block" - John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Nick Frost (limited)
A gang of British teenagers defends their housing project against a group of invading aliens. It's a big week for odd alien encounters. Brought to you by the producers of "Hot Fuzz" and "Shaun of the Dead", "Attack the Block" is absolutely tearing it up in the critical review department. It's very interesting, too, because this sucker kind of came out of nowhere; it really didn't do much in the festival circuit until South By Southwest and hit the release calendar very late (as in, last week). Personally, this looks like a blast. It'll open up in wider release in a couple of weeks and you can bet I'll be there.

Value: $10 I'm going out on a limb here given how very little I really know about this film, but it's "Certified Fresh" 92% rating is enough for me to expect big things.

"The Devil's Double - Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier (limited)
After becoming a body double for Uday Hussein, a man (Cooper) gives a voyeuristic view of the life and times (and atrocities) of Saddam Hussein. Cooper's performance has drawn some acclaim but the whole product hasn't been as well received.

Value: $2 This is the type of movie that I would add to my Netflix Instant Queue and then forget about for months.

"The Guard" - Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle
A black comedy that pairs a screw up beat cop (Gleeson) with a by-the-book FBI agent (Cheadle). To call this a cross between "In Bruges" and "Hot Fuzz" seems too easy but that's exactly what I've gleaned from the information I've seen. Gleeson and Cheadle are both fantastic actors who have proven comedic timing and Gleeson is getting a TON of well deserved pub for his role.

Value: $5 Whether you rent it, Netflix it, or whatever other method you have of procuring movies in your home, I would definitely take a chance on "The Guard."


  1. Is it possible to give the Smurfs a negative value?

  2. One of the very few "positive" reviews from Rotten Tomatoes: "Diverting and weird but harmless." So that's good.


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