Upcoming Theatrical Releases
The Last Exorcism Part II
Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
PG-13; 88 mins.
Continuing where the first film left off, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found terrified and alone in rural Louisiana. Back in the relative safety of New Orleans, Nell realizes that she can’t remember entire portions of the previous months only that she is the last surviving member of her family. Just as Nell begins the difficult process of starting a new life, the evil force that once possessed her is back with other, unimaginably horrific plans that mean her last exorcism was just the beginning. (Synopsis by CBS Films)
The predecessor (should have been “The Not-Quite-Last-Exorcism”?) could have been much worse—but it also could have been much better. More of the same is in store for the sequel. A decent job is done of building suspense, but a lack of character building and narrative keeps it from being superior.
21 and Over
Director: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
R; 93 mins.
The night before his big medical school exam, a promising student celebrates his 21st birthday with his two best friends. (Synopsis by IMDB)
The writers of “The Hangover” bring another crude joke-filled script to life. There are sure to be some funny moments sprinkled into a “genre” comedy.
Jack the Giant Slayer
Director: Bryan Singer
PG-13; 115 mins
“Jack the Giant Slayer” tells the story of an ancient war that is reignited when a young farmhand unwittingly opens a gateway between our world and a fearsome race of giants. Unleashed on the Earth for the first time in centuries, the giants strive to reclaim the land they once lost, forcing the young man, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) into the battle of his life to stop them. Fighting for a kingdom, its people, and the love of a brave princess, he comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legend-and gets the chance to become a legend himself. (Synopsis by Warner Bros.)
On the surface, this looks like another attempt to cash in on the fairy tale craze (no Snow White remakes this year?). However, this is closer to the adventures of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Sure the story is simplistic,but look at the source material. If nothing else, this is the fun movie to see this week.
Director: Todd Robinson
R; 97 mins
Academy Award (R) nominee Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind, The Abyss), David Duchovny (“The X-Files,” “Californication”) and William Fichtner (The Dark Knight, Black Hawk Down) star in PHANTOM, a Cold War-era suspense thriller about a Soviet submarine captain, haunted by his past, who is forced to lead a covert mission that could spark a global nuclear war. Written and directed by Todd Robinson (Lonely Hearts, White Squall) and inspired by true events, PHANTOM is a riveting deep-sea adventure about extraordinary men facing impossible choices. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
The only reason this is watchable is the skill of the cast. Otherwise, this is a bland pile of confusion that somehow manages to get worse in the final act. I stand by my rule: If the movie is based around a boat, it isn’t worth watching.
Upcoming DVD Releases
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
R; 138 mins.
A striking portrait of drifters and seekers in post World War II America, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master unfolds the journey of a Naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman). (Synopsis by Weinstein)
Many critics felt that this was the best film to come out last year. Many moviegoers felt that this was the most esoteric, confusing, piece of crap to come out last year. There are certainly great performances and great meaning present (buried somewhere deep down). But much like “Meek’s Cutoff,” it just isn’t going to be for everyone.