Friday, February 11, 2011

Movie Openings: Week of February 11th, 2011 - Never Say Bieber?!

I have just one word to say: WHY?!?! Does the world really need a Justin Bieber movie? Well, if you are the Biebz and his entourage, then yes. Why not make a pretty penny off your legions of fans while you are still on top, right? The rest of us are just gonna shrug and go, "whatever." Other than the Bieber movie, we also have an Adam Snadler-Jennifer Aniston comedy, an animated tale about Romeo and Juliet starring garden gnomes and a swords and sandals Roman empire flick.

Last weekend, an upset happened at the box office. Despite some major advertising muscles, the 3-D-driven survival-adventure film, "Sanctum," finished only second at the box office with $9.5M, way behind "The Roommate," which picked up $15M. "No Strings Attached" stayed strong, picking up another $8M, boosting its total take to $51M in just 3 weeks, not bad for a rom-com. Rounding up the top 5 are "The King's Speech," which continues to benefit from its post-Oscar nominations, and "The Green Hornet." Last week's first place movie, "The Rite" dropped off by more than 60% to land in sixth place ($5.6M), followed by Jason Statham's "The Mechanic" ($5.3M). Now on to this week's movie releases:

All I can say is, the person managing Justin Bieber's career should be awarded a presidential medal for some of the best marketing and promotional strategies, resulting in this slick, made-strictly-for-his-fans movie, "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never." Oh, and it's in 3-D too. This movie is a carefully packaged promotional tool, charting Bieber's life from an unknown to an internet sensation and finally, the megastar he is today, culminating with a performance of his sold-out show in Madison Square Garden. Directed by John Chu, who also directed Step Up 3 and Step Up 2: The Streets, "Never Say Never" is concert film in the same vein as Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience, all promoting some of this generation's biggest teen idols. Surprisingly, this Bieber movie has not been lambasted by most critics, landing a better-than-average 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. You be the judge. I just feel sorry for the legions of adults who have to sit through the movie chaperoning their tween daughters. Here is the brief synopsis:

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is the inspiring true story and rare inside look at the rise of Justin from street performer in the small town of Stratford, Ontario to internet phenomenon to global super star culminating with a dream sold out show at the famed Madison Square Garden in 3-D.

How many ways can one tell the same story over and over again? I like Adam Sandler's romantic comedies (my favorite is still 50 First Dates) but at some point, they all seem to blur into this giant mess of generic rom-coms that is lacking in the ideas department. Sandler seems to have a knack for working well with kids and in this new comedy "Just Go With It," he is again paired with a couple of kids, together with former America's sweetheart, Jennifer Aniston, SI Swimsuit cover model Brooklyn Decker and Nicole Kidman. "Just Go With It" is currently ranked at a low 24% on RT, not exactly a ringing endorsement for the film. Here is the synopsis:

In Just Go With It, a plastic surgeon, romancing a much younger schoolteacher, enlists his loyal assistant to pretend to be his soon to be ex-wife, in order to cover up a careless lie. When more lies backfire, the assistant's kids become involved, and everyone heads off for a weekend in Hawaii that will change all their lives.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, we have one of the move beloved love stories ever told, "Gnomeo & Juliet." Wait, what?! Yes, the Bard's classic tale has been reduced to one set in a backyard inhabited by garden gnomes. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt voice the star-crossed gnomes, Gnomeo and Juliet and are ably backed up by the voices of Michael Caine, Dame Maggie Smith and even Jason Statham! I have mixed feelings about this one. It could be funny but then again, these gnomes seem to all have British accents. If only the Monty Python crew had their crummy hands on this one. Oh well, we can dream, right? "Gnomeo & Juliet" is also shown in 3-D and is currently rated at an OK 53% on RT. Here is the synopsis:

The greatest love story ever told, gnomes? In the upcoming "Gnomeo & Juliet," Shakespeare's revered tale gets a comical, off-the-wall makeover. Directed by Kelly Asbury ("Shrek 2") and showcasing both classic and original songs by Elton John, the film features the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt as Gnomeo and Juliet, who have as many obstacles to overcome as their quasi namesakes when they are caught up in a feud between neighbors. But with plastic pink flamingos and thrilling lawnmower races in the mix, can this young couple find lasting happiness? Two garden gnomes, Gnomeo (voice of James McAvoy) and Juliet (voice of Emily Blunt), try to avoid tragedy and find a happy ending to their star-crossed love affair when they are caught up in a feud between neighbors.

Gladiator it is not but "The Eagle" tries its best to mimic its swords and sandals brethren in this Roman Empire epic, based on the novel, The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. Too often, films such as this suffer from believability when the supposedly Roman gladiators speak with an American or British accent. Here, it is no different. Directed by Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland) and starring a charisma-challenged Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) in the lead role, "The Eagle" has some credibility problems and is in dire need of a good story and direction to bring it to the fore. Unfortunately, most critics gave it the thumbs down, scoring a low 37% on RT. Here is the synopsis:

In 2nd-Century Britain, two men – master and slave – venture beyond the edge of the known world on a dangerous and obsessive quest that will push them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism…The Roman epic adventure The Eagle is directed by Kevin Macdonald and produced by Duncan Kenworthy. Jeremy Brock has adapted the scr eenplay from Rosemary Sutcliff's classic novel The Eagle of the Ninth.

In 140 AD, the Roman Empire extends all the way to Britain – though its grasp is incomplete, as the rebellious tribes of Caledonia (today's Scotland) hold sway in the far North. Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) arrives in Britain, determined to restore the tarnished reputation of his father, Flavius Aquila. It was 20 years earlier that Rome's 5,000-strong Ninth Legion, under the command of Flavius and carrying their golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth, marched north into Caledonia. They never returned; Legion and Eagle simply vanished into the mists. Angered, the Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered the building of a wall to seal off the territory; Hadrian's Wall became the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire – the edge of the known world.

Now here's a comedy we can all climb on board. "Cedar Rapids" will certainly appeal to many in a way that it is highly relatable to the common folk. Here, you won't find any of those wacky and outlandish characters that we see in so many films these days. Ed Helms (The Hangover) stars as a sheltered insurance agent, sent out of town for the very first time. Navigating the treacherous ins and outs of a business convention, our lovable agent must shed his self-imposed straitjacket and hang loose or be eaten alive by the other convention veterans. "Cedar Rapis" has been given an outstanding 87% rating on RT. Here is the synopsis:

To call insurance agent Tim Lippe (Ed Helms), "naïve" is a gross understatement. He's never left his small hometown. He's never stayed at a hotel. And he's never experienced anything like Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sent to represent his company at the annual insurance convention, Tim is soon distracted by three convention veterans (John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who will show him the ropes and push his boundaries. For a guy who plays everything by the book, this convention will be anything but conventional.

No comments: