Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Larry Charles
R; 83 mins
The heroic story of a North African dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. (Synopsis by Paramount)
Check out my review on The Dagger later this week.
Director: Peter Berg
PG-13; 131 min
Peter Berg produces and directs Battleship, an epic-scaled action-adventure that unfolds across the seas, in the skies and over land as our planet fights for survival against a superior force. Inspired by Hasbro’s classic naval combat game, Battleship stars Taylor Kitsch as Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, a physical therapist and Hopper’s fiancée; Alexander Skarsgård as Hopper’s older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; Rihanna as Petty Officer Raikes, Hopper’s crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones; and international superstar Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone’s superior (and Sam’s father), Admiral Shane. (Synopsis by Universal)
Early reviews are universally negative. There is almost nothing to like here unless you are in love with explosions. Apparently Berg wanted to outdo Michael Bay on overproducing special effects instead of writing a decent script. Best skipped unless you have two hours you never want back.
What to Expect When You Are Expecting
Director: Kirk Jones
PG-13; 110 mins
Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don’t stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy’s husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who’s expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn’t so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a “dudes” support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and Marco’s surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date? (Synopsis by Lionsgate)
Apparently the theme this week is source material that should never be turned into a film. Somehow they’ve managed to write a script around a pregnancy guide. Low expectations probably won’t help you through this superficial chick flick. So here’s what to expect when you see this: Step 1: Do you have a sense of humor? If yes, then see something else.
Director: Steve Rash
PG-13; 90 mins
A mixed-blood Native American, Joe Logan, eager to modernize his reservation, must first prove himself to his father, the traditionalist Tribal Chairman, by rediscovering his spirit. He is tasked with coaching the reservation’s high school lacrosse team which competes against the better equipped and better trained players of the elite Prep School League. Joe inspires the Native American boys and teaches them the true meaning of tribal pride. Ignited by their heritage and believing in their new-found potential, coach and team climb an uphill battle to the state championship finals against their privileged prep school rivals…will they win? (Synopsis by the Official Site)
Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in America, but this film might set that trend back a few years. A generic sports movie with racial sensitivity on the side. Take your $15 and buy the greatest sports movie ever: The Mighty Ducks.
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
PG-13; 110 mins
Beth (Diane Keaton) saves a bedraggled lost dog from the side of the freeway on a wintry day in Denver. Struggling with her distracted, self-involved husband Joseph (Kevin Kline) and an empty nest at home, Beth forms a special bond with the rescued animal. When Joseph loses the dog after their daughter’s (Elisabeth Moss) wedding at their vacation home in the Rockies, Beth, distraught and angry with Joseph, enlists the help of the few remaining guests (Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Mark Duplass) and a mysterious woman (Ayelet Zurer) in a frantic search. (Synopsis by Sony Classics)
The dog has it right – run away from this. The cast’s talent level is too high for what amounts to a terrible attempt to ride the “Marley and Me” wave of dog lovers. Go outside and take your pet for a walk. You’ll both be happier for it.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Josh Trank and Jay Alaimo
PG-13, 1 hr. 23 min.
Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny powers beyond their understanding. As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control, and their darker sides begin to take over. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
Previously reviewed on The Dagger.
The Devil Inside
Director: William Brent Bell and Joaquin Perea
R, 1 hr. 23 min.
In 1989, emergency responders received a 9-1-1 call from Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) confessing that she had brutally killed three people. 20 years later, her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) seeks to understand the truth about what happened that night. She travels to the Centrino Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Italy where her mother has been locked away to determine if her mother is mentally ill or demonically possessed. When she recruits two young exorcists (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) to cure her mom using unconventional methods combining both science and religion, they come face-to-face with pure evil in the form of four powerful demons possessing Maria. Many have been possessed by one; only one has been possessed by many. (Synopsis by Paramount Insurge)
You could feel better about this if it was made by a high school film class. Unfortunately it was “professionally” produced (and I use that term as loosely as possible). Keeping in the premise of the film, they should bury all the copies of this somewhere and forget about them for 20 years.
Director: Rodrigo García
R, 1 hr. 53 min.
Five-time Academy Award nominee Glenn Close stars in this emotional and thought-provoking tale of a woman forced to live as a man in 19th Century Ireland. After thirty years of keeping up the charade, a new love threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build. (Synopsis by Roadside Attractions)
A fantastically performed film with a script that doesn’t live up to the same standard. Overly melodramatic and stuffy at points, but it does manage to create some tension and drama. See it for the acting if nothing else.