Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., Matthijs van Heijningen
Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up. When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish. The Thing serves as a prelude to John Carpenter’s classic 1982 film of the same name. (Synopsis by Universal)
If you were a fan of the 1982 version, then this is going to be a skip. While cleverly making homage to the earlier films (1951’a The Thing from Another World being the original), it fails to live up to expectations. Upping the special effects does not necessarily make for a better film.
Director: Craig Brewer
Writer/Director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) delivers a new take of the beloved 1984 classic film. Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald) is transplanted from Boston to the small southern town of Bomont where he experiences a heavy dose of culture shock. A few years prior, the community was rocked by a tragic accident that killed five teenagers after a night out and Bomont’s local councilmen and the beloved Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) responded by implementing ordinances that prohibit loud music and dancing. Not one to bow to the status quo, Ren challenges the ban, revitalizing the town and falling in love with the minister’s troubled daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) in the process. (Synopsis by Paramont)
Welcome to 80’s revival week. While garnering good reviews, it must be noted that much of the goodwill is rooted more in nostalgia than the movie. Director Craig Brewer has the credentials to make this work, but doesn’t appear to have provided much more depth than the Bacon version.
The Big Year
Director: David Frankel
Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson are at a crossroads — one is experiencing a mid-life crisis, another a late-life crisis, and the third, a far from ordinary no-life crisis. From David Frankel, the director of The Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me, comes a sophisticated comedy about three friendly rivals who, tired of being ruled by obligations and responsibilities, dedicate a year of their lives to following their dreams. Their big year takes them on a cross-country journey of wild and life-changing adventures. (Synopsis by 20th Century Fox)
Check out my review on The Dagger later this week.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Martin Campbell
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds). Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Awful. Just awful. Wait until you can see it for free on basic cable.
Director: Seth Gordon
For Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day), the only thing that would make the daily grind more tolerable would be to grind their intolerable bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston) into dust. Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con (Jamie Foxx), the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers… permanently. There’s only one problem: even the best laid plans are only as foolproof as the brains behind them. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
Coarse and far-fetched, the only thing that keeps this going is the strength of the cast. Good for the low-brow comedy crowd and a better option than “The Hangover Part II.”
The Tree of Life
Director: Terrence Malick
From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life. (Synopsis by Fox Searchlight)
Previously reviewed by The Dagger.