Theatrical Releases This Week
Conan: The Barbarian
Director: Marcus Nispel
A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan (Jason Momoa) realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.
Somewhere between “300” and “Ong-Bak” lies this latest adaptation. Early reviews are mixed with most moviegoers opting to skip it in theaters. Not helping the situation is director Marcus Nispel’s track record – he is responsible for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Friday the 13th” remakes of late. Neither was worth the price of admission.
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D
Director: Robert Rodriguez
On the surface, Marissa Cortez Wilson (Jessica Alba) has it all…married to a famous spy hunting television reporter, a new baby and intelligent twin stepkids. But in reality, trying to mother Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook), who clearly don’t want her around, is her toughest challenge yet. Also, her husband, Wilbur (Joel McHale), wouldn’t know a spy if he lived with one which is exactly the case – Marissa’s a retired secret agent. Marissa’s world is turned upside down when the maniacal Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) threatens to take over the planet and she’s called back into action by the head of OSS, home of the greatest spies and where the now-defunct Spy Kids division was created. With a little help from a couple of very familiar Spy Kids, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara), they just may be able to save the world and possibly bring their family together while they’re at it.
Given the Sophie’s Choice between “Conan” or this…I choose drinking on the back porch. Even fans of the series will give a collective “meh” to this latest endeavor. The greatest take-away might be the use of 4D, first popularized (Smell-o-vision) by Baltimore’s Jon Waters.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Greg Mottola
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) reunite for the comedy adventure Paul as two sci-fi geeks whose pilgrimage takes them to America’s UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet an alien who brings them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever. For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. When he discovers he’s been taken prisoner, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town-a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost). Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.
Continuing the trend of questionable releases this week comes the tale of why you shouldn’t smoke too much while writing your screenplay. This must have seemed like it had potential in the purple haze, but down here on Earth the jokes fizzled.
Mars Needs Moms
Director: Simon Wells
Take out the trash, eat your broccoli-who needs moms, anyway? Nine-year-old Milo (Seth Green) finds out just how much he needs his mom (Joan Cusack) when she’s nabbed by Martians who plan to steal her mom-ness for their own young. Produced by the team behind Disney’s A Christmas Carol and The Polar Express, Mars Needs Moms showcases Milo’s quest to save his mom – a wild adventure in 3D that involves stowing away on a spaceship, navigating an elaborate, multi-level planet and taking on the alien nation and their leader (Mindy Sterling). With the help of a tech-savvy, underground earthman named Gribble (Dan Fogler) and a rebel Martian girl called Ki (Elisabeth Harnois), Milo just might find his way back to his mom – in more ways than one.
Seriously Hollywood? Did everyone call in sick this week? Was there a “company retreat”/golf game? Besides the shaky premise that aliens will steal your parents–there’s a good theme for a kid’s movie–this one misses more times than Dan Uggla against the Cubs.