Friday, March 4, 2011

Movie Openings: Weekend of March 4th, 2011 - Rango Your Fate

Well, the 2011 Oscars have come and gone and it was business as usual, with no big surprises in any of the major categories. Those who were expected to win, won. In short, the show was predictable, stale and in dire need of an overhaul. Even the two youthful hosts could not inject any excitement into the evening's well choreographed proceedings. As expected, The King's Speech took home four Oscars, for Best Picture, Actor (Colin Firth), Director (Tom Hooper) and Original Screenplay. If you are looking to take home one of those golden statues, just make a film like The King's Speech. It was the ultimate Oscar bait. No doubt, it was a great film but all the same, it was a film catered perfectly to Academy voters. While Inception deservedly picked up the Oscars for visual effects, sound editing and cinematography, the Boston-based pugilist film The Fighter took home two of the supporting actor prizes (Christian Bale and Melissa Leo). Early favorite, The Social Network picked up 3 Oscars but they were in lesser categories like Film Editing, Original Score and Adapted Screenplay. By most accounts, David Fincher was robbed as Oscar stayed true to the arcane concept of always awarding the Best Director prize to the director of the Best Picture winner. Oh well, maybe next year.......

So last weekend, which film did you think came out on top at the box office? Well, the only logical pick is of course the Farrelly Bros' raunchy comedy "Hall Pass," which easily bested the other new release, the Nic Cage-crash and burn-tour-de-force, "Drive Angry." "Hall Pass" picked up $13.5M, narrowly edging out the still-going-strong animated film, "Gnomeo & Juliet," which garnered another $13.4M to bring its 3-week total gross to an impressive $74M. The Liam Neeson thriller, "Unknown" came in at number 3 with $12.5M and finally, the teen sci-fi thriller "I Am Number Four" lived up to its moniker, coming in in 4th place with $11M. The Adam Sandler comedy "Just Go With It" rounded up the top 5 with $10.5M. So where did "Drive Angry" end up? Well, down at #9 with a mere $5.1M. Can you believe that Nicolas Cage was a former Oscar winner and going by his recent choice of bad movie roles, he can't really go anywhere else but up. Seriously, Cage needs to fire his current agent and hire someone that might have an ounce of brain matter, someone like maybe a trained chimpanzee or something.

OK, now on to this week's movie releases.......

Up first is an animated Western starring a chameleon voiced by the indomitable Johnny Depp (how appropriate, don't you think?). Directed by one of Depp's co-conspirators, Gore Verbinski (who also directed Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy), Rango has been positively received by many critics, calling it smart, stylish and refreshing. It's not often that we come across a non-Pixar animated film carrying such high praise. It is currently holding steady at a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here is the brief synopsis:

A chameleon that aspires to be a swashbuckling hero finds himself in a Western town plagued by bandits and is forced to literally play the role in order to protect it. 

Ever wanted to tempt fate? Well, would-be US Senator David Norris (Matt Damon) does and he would do anything to win over the one woman (Emily Blunt) that he loves. Dubbed the next Inception, "The Adjustment Bureau" is loosely based on my favorite sci-fi author, Philip K. Dick's short story, Adjustment Team. Dick's writings have been adapted into some of my favorite sci-fi films of all time, films like Blade RunnerMinority ReportTotal RecallA Scanner DarklyScreamers and Paycheck. Imagine that our fates are controlled by a mysterious force called the Adjustment Bureau and they must ensure that things always fall according to "plan." Our fates may be written but can they be changed? Check out this intriguing film to find out. Rated at a good 71% on RT, here is "The Adjustment Bureau"'s synopsis:

Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he's ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt)--a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself--the men of The Adjustment Bureau--who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path...or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.

How about a trip back to the 80's this weekend? A blast from the past for many from the baby boomer generation, "Take Me Home Tonight" is a raunchy comedy starring baby-faced Topher Grace (In Good Company), Anna Faris (Smiley Face) and Dan Fogler (Kung Fu Panda). If the title sounds familiar, that's because it is also the title of that famous Eddie Money song that keeps playing on the trailers for this movie. Critics are torn on this one (50% rating on RT). Hot Tub Time Machine it may not be but all the same, it could be fun. Here is the synopsis:

Take Me Home Tonight is a raunchy, romantic and ultimately touching blast from the past set to an awesome soundtrack of timeless rock and hip-hop hits. Recent MIT grad Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) should be working for a Fortune 500 company and starting his upward climb to full-fledged yuppie-hood. Instead, the directionless 23-year-old confounds family and friends by taking a part-time job behind the counter of a video store at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. But Matt's silent protest against maturity comes to a screeching halt once his unrequited high school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), walks into the store. When she invites him to an epic, end-of-summer party, Matt thinks he finally might have a chance with the girl of his dreams. With his cynical twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris) and best friend Barry (Dan Fogler), Matt embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime evening. From stealing a car to a marriage proposal to an indescribable, no-holds-barred dance-off, these friends share experiences that will change the course of their lives on one unforgettable night in the Go-Go 80s.

Now here's a movie specifically catered for the teen set, asking the proverbial question, is beauty skin-deep? In the new teen romance film "Beastly," Alex Pettyfer, recently seen in "I Am Number Four," stars as Kyle Kingston, who seems to have it all, good looks, wealth and even the brains to go along with all that. All that is missing is humility and when his life suddenly becomes all that he despises, Kyle must find something within himself to overcome his predicament. Billed as a modern retelling of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast, "Beastly" also stars the former Disney IT girl, Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical trilogy). This film als stars for 80's sitcom actors, Neil Patrick Harris and Mary-Kate Olsen. Expect a predictable story with so-so acting. I mean, what do you expect? It is currently scoring a 33% rating on RT. Here is the synopsis:

Beastly is an edgy teen romance about learning how to see past false surfaces to discover true inner beauty. Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer) has it all - looks, intelligence, wealth and opportunity - and a wicked cruel streak. Prone to mocking and humiliating "aggressively unattractive" classmates, he zeroes in on Goth classmate Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen), inviting her to the school's extravagant environmental bash. Kendra accepts, and, true to form, Kyle blows her off in a particularly savage fashion. She retaliates by casting a spell that physically transforms him into everything he despises. Enraged by his horrible and unrecognizable appearance he confronts Kendra and learns that the only solution to the curse is to find someone that will love him as he is - a task he considers impossible. Repulsed by his appearance, Kyle's callous father (Peter Krause) banishes him to Brooklyn with a sympathetic housekeeper (LisaGay Hamilton) and blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris). As Kyle ponders how to overcome the curse and get his old life back, he chances upon a drug addict in the act of killing a threatening dealer. Seizing the opportunity, Kyle promises the addict freedom and safety for his daughter Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) if she will consent to live in Kyle's Brooklyn home. Thus begins Kyle's journey to discover true love in this hyper-modern retelling of the classic "Beauty and the Beast" story.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you should update your blog more often Baron.