Thursday, November 4, 2010

Movie Openings: Week of November 5th, 2010

With Halloween in our rear view mirror and most of the horror films out of the way, this week is pretty light on big name movie releases but we have some good and some not so good ones.

First up, we have Paramount's latest animation feature film, "Megamind," which features the talented voice acting cast of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt. Here's the synopsis:

"Megamind is the most brilliant super-villain the world has ever known... and the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt has been a colossal failure, thanks to the caped superhero known as "Metro Man," until the day Megamind actually defeats him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, the fate of Metro City is threatened when a new villain arrives and chaos runs rampant, leaving everyone to wonder: Can the world's biggest "mind" actually be the one to save the day?"

Reviews so far have been so-so for "Megamind," with an almost even split among critics (57% on Rotten Tomatoes). It should entertain the kids but I would just wait for the Blu-ray release early next year.

Moving on, we have a Robert Downey Jr.-helmed comedy, "Due Date." I'm sure you've seen the trailer countless times on TV and Warner Bros. seems to be promoting the heck out of it. It's a very simple story, really but can it rise up to entertain and make us laugh? Here's the gist of what it's all about:

"A high-strung father-to-be is forced to hitch a ride with a college slacker on a road trip in order to make it to his child's birth on time."

Last seen in "The Hangover," co-star Zach Galifianakis reprises his slacker role from that movie in "Due Date." I would be careful of typecasting there, pal. But hey, if it pays the bills.....
Anyway, this movie has not received favorable reviews, only a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, among critics. Maybe wait for it to come on HBO or something. Probably not worth your money.

If you are an aspiring mountain climber, I suggest you avoid "127 Hours" at all cost. Just like how "Jaws" made us afraid to go swimming, "127 Hours" should do the same for mountain climbing. This is a true story of Aron Ralston, the mountain climber whose arm was crushed by a falling boulder and was trapped in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next 5 days, Aron examines his life and makes one of the hardest decisions any human being can make. Written and directed by British Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire," "28 Days Later," "Trainspotting") and starring James Franco as Ralston, "127 Hours" is an inspiring movie of survival. Highly recommended (92% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Up next is "Fair Game," a well-received, matter-of-fact true story chronicling the Valerie Plame fiasco from a few years back. It stars Naomi Watts as Plame and Sean Penn as her husband, Joseph Wilson. For anyone who needs a refresher, here's a short synopsis:

"Valerie Plame's status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq."

This political thriller has received favorable ratings from most critics, citing its well-penned story and great chemistry between Watts and Penn as reasons to watch. (81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes)

Sticking with the political theme, we have a good documentary, "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer." This is an in-depth and thought-provoking look at the rapid rise and dramatic fall of the former New York Governor. Directed by Alex Gibney, who also made "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," "Client 9" has been rated quite favorably by the majority of critics (93% on Rotten Tomatoes). It opens in limited release.

Here is yet another Tyler Perry drivel. Tyler takes a Tony-nominated play by Ntozake Shange titled "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf" and translating it onto the screen, losing the impact of the play along the way. The rich dialogue and grand soliloquies from the play is just not adaptable to the screen. By assembling big name African-American stars like Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad and Whoopi Goldberg to star in "For Colored Girls," Perry seems to be trying too hard, choosing to attract an audience with big stars rather than big stories. The synopsis:

"Based on Ntozake Shange's award-winning 1975 play, which consists of a series of poems performed through a cast of nameless women, known only by a color. It deals with such subjects as love, abandonment, rape, and abortion."

A pass for sure (22% on Rotten Tomatoes).

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