Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Andrew Stanton
From filmmaker Andrew Stanton comes John Carter: a sweeping action-adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). John Carter is based on a classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose highly imaginative adventures served as inspiration for many filmmakers, both past and present. The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands. (Synopsis by Walt Disney)
Garnering early positive reviews, this should be a hit with the older kids in the family that sat through “The Lorax” last weekend to appease a younger sibling. A film which takes pages from just about every sci-fi and fantasy story ever told and is based on pulp fiction which originally inspired most of them, the film blends old school adventure and new technology into chaotic imagery. While it might be short on storytelling, it has all the pieces of a weekend blockbuster.
A Thousand Words
Director: Brian Robbins
Eddie Murphy is Jack McCall, a fast-talking literary agent, who can close any deal, any time, any way. He has set his sights on New Age guru Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis) for his own selfish purposes. But Dr. Sinja is on to him, and Jack’s life comes unglued after a magical Bodhi tree mysteriously appears in his backyard. With every word Jack speaks, a leaf falls from the tree and he realizes that when the last leaf falls, both he and the tree are toast. Words have never failed Jack McCall, but now he’s got to stop talking and conjure up some outrageous ways to communicate or he’s a goner. (Synopsis by Paramount)
After promising us in last year’s Rolling Stone article that he was going to go back to edgier roles, Murphy proceeds to sell out again. Before his role in “Tower Heist” this would have passed without comment. Now that we’ve been reminded why he is such a great comedian, it is just painful to see him pander for laughs at this level.
Director: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau
From the directors of the hit film Open Water, Silent House is a uniquely unsettling horror thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah, a young woman who finds herself sealed inside her family’s secluded lake house. With no contact to the outside world, and no way out, panic turns to terror to terror as events become increasingly ominous in and around the house. Directed by filmmaking duo Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, Silent House uses meticulous camera choreography to take the audience on a tension-filled, real time journey, experienced in a single uninterrupted shot. (Synopsis by Open Road)
In a surprising change from the typical genre film, most of the praise is being placed on the camera work. Technical achievements aside, the story lacks purpose and becomes muddled with a psychological twist. The cast surrounding Olsen are essentially nobodies that harm their characters by uttering their lines. This is one that will surely divide audiences, but even detractors will appreciate the technical merits.
DVD Releases This Week
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 Paramount)
What should have been a basic cable re-make is at least enjoyable—at least if you like this sort of dated, empty-headed dribble. You can get just as much (free) enjoyment out of watching a series of Youtube dance clips.
Director: Tarsem Singh
The brutal and bloodthirsty King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and his murderous Heraklion army are rampaging across Greece in search of the long lost Bow of Epirus. With the invincible Bow, the king will be able to overthrow the Gods of Olympus and become the undisputed master of his world. With ruthless efficiency, Hyperion and his legions destroy everything in their wake, and it seems nothing will stop the evil king’s mission. As village after village is obliterated, a stonemason named Theseus (Henry Cavill) vows to avenge the death of his mother in one of Hyperion’s raids. When Theseus meets the Sybelline Oracle, Phaedra (Freida Pinto), her disturbing visions of the young man’s future convince her that he is the key to stopping the destruction. With her help, Theseus assembles a small band of followers and embraces his destiny in a final desperate battle for the future of humanity. (Synopsis by Relativity Media)
Because we needed “300” Part II. Or is this Part III if you count the “Conan” remake? It didn’t seem possible to make a movie displaying less acting ability than was portrayed in “300,” but this film sure does its best to try.
Jack and Jill
Director: Dennis Dugan
Jack and Jill is a comedy focusing on Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler), a successful advertising executive in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife and kids, who dreads one event each year: the Thanksgiving visit of his identical twin sister Jill (also Adam Sandler). Jill’s neediness and passive-aggressiveness is maddening to Jack, turning his normally tranquil life upside down. Katie Holmes plays Erin, Jack’s wife. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
As the rhyme goes, you will feel like you busted your crown after watching this. At this point, I think Sandler is actively trying to find out how bad a movie he can make and still get it released in theaters.
The Skin I Live In
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Ever since his wife was burned in a car crash, Dr. Robert Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon, has been interested in creating a new skin with which he could have saved her. After twelve years, he manages to cultivate a skin that is a real shield against every assault. In addition to years of study and experimentation, Robert needed a further three things: no scruples, an accomplice and a human guinea pig. Scruples were never a problem. Marilia, the woman who looked after him from the day he was born, is his most faithful accomplice. And as for the human guinea pig… (Synopsis by Sony)
A uniquely Almodóvar film that puts a modern twist on the Frankenstein story. Both creepy and seductive, it was unfortunately passed over during awards season. A must-see for fans of Almodóvar or David Cronenberg.