Monday, February 13, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 2/12

I usually start this column with some movie news from the weekend. Trying something new this time, however, as I work through a few ideas and changes around here. For all the pertinent movie news of the last week, please see the Movie News Weekly Digest.

Weekend Box Office Results
So…um…you people really wanted to go to the movies this weekend, didn’t you? Despite the fact that all four of the major releases received less-than-favorable attention from critics, they combined to score a total $130 million take. This begs the question: Were these films exceptionally marketable or was America just looking to shake off the January doldrums? I plan on seeing Safe House in the coming days but Chronicle got my money this weekend and man, was it good! (Review to come.)

1. The Vow - $41.7M
2. Safe House - $39.3M
3. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - $27.55M
4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace - $23M
5. Chronicle - $12.3M ($40.16M)
6. The Woman in Black - $10.3M ($35.46M)
7. The Grey - $5.08M ($42.82M)
8. Big Miracle - $3.9M ($13.2M)
9. The Descendants - $3.5M ($70.72M)
10. Underworld: Awakening - $2.5M ($58.9M)

New to DVD
What I’ll Be Renting This Week
Take Shelter (2011) - Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham
If I asked 20 Oscar experts which film or performance ranked as the biggest snub of the year, 19 of them would say, “Michael Shannon, Take Shelter.” (The other expert would jokingly say Bucky Larson and then I would murder him/her before he/she could retract the statement.) I’ve been looking forward to seeing this film, about a Midwest father who begins to have religious-oriented visions, for a long time but never got an opportunity in theaters. Hoping it lives up to the hype!

What I Wish No One Would Watch
Human Centipede II: Full Sequence (2011) - Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie, Maddi Black
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) - Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Christopher Nicolas Smith
If I had ridiculous money, I’d purchase the film rights to both of these franchises just so I could lock them away and make sure no one ever, ever suffered through one again. Please stop helping these films, people.

Also New
The Rum Diary (2011) - Johnny Depp, Giovanni Ribisi, Aaron Eckhart
American Teacher (2011) - Matt Damon
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - John Wray, Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim (New to Blu-Ray)

Coming to a Theater Near You
My hot streak on predicting Rotten Tomatoes score has cooled down considerably, though I (of course) had The Vow and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island pegged as Rotten. I missed badly on Safe House and I’m truly disappointed to see the low marks it received across the board. Apologies for misleading you. I’ll try to do better.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - Nicolas Cage, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba
In this much-anticipated (that’s a lie) sequel, Ghost Rider (Cage) attempts to prevent the devil from taking human form. Three things to love/hate about this movie:
1. The original Ghost Rider is one of the five worst superhero movies to ever receive mainstream release (I’d have Catwoman, Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, and Spiderman 3 filling out that list) and I don’t know anyone who’s been clamoring for a second installment.
2. Writer/Director partners Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor make atrocious films (Crank, Jonah Hex) so clearly the studio did not learn its lesson with Mark Steven Johnson, director of the first Ghost Rider.
3. This movie’s trailer features Nic Cage in full Ghost Rider mode urinating a rope of fire. Because anytime you can get away with a superhero peeing on screen, you have to do it.
Not-so-bold prediction: this is the early favorite for next year’s Razzie Awards. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 22%.

This Means War - Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon
Two best buddies (Pine, Hardy) who also happen to be world-renowned spies, battle over the love of a single woman (Witherspoon). Director McG makes enjoyable if unspectacular films and I really dig the work of both Pine and Hardy. I’m not a fan of Witherspoon, however, and I get the impression that the only worthwhile and non-embarrassing sequences are in the trailer. I’d like this to be a good date movie but… Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 52%.

The Secret World of Arrietty - Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Carol Burnett
A new take on The Borrowers done in Japanese-style animation. I’ve heard really, really good things about this movie. Unfortunately, I cannot handle Japanese animation in any of its forms. So I cannot see myself enjoying it. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 87%.

We’ll also be treated to a wider expansion for Undefeated, a documentary from late last year about a high school football team and Thin Ice (Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup, Alan Arkin), a Coens-like dark comedy about blackmail in the Wisconsin winter. 

1 comment:

  1. Take Shelter does look interesting. I'm looking forward to the review of Chronicle. As for Ghostrider, I cannot imagine going to a sequel of something I never wanted to see in the first place. Bleh.


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