REPUBLIBOT WEEKEND MOVIE PREVIEW: Movies Opening 1-22-10

Republibot 1.0
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And we’re back. Sorry, my holiday leave kept extending itself unitl R2 sat me down and said I had to get back to work or they would start to withhold my precious supply of spice from Arrakis ... Dune ... wasteland of the Empire, and the most valuable planet in the universe. It is important to note also that I‘m not really reviewing anything here. Unless stated otherwise I’ve not seen any of the movies in this ‘Preview’. I am really just thoughtlessly passing judgment on films that are scheduled to open this week and that I haven’t researched at all (well nothing purposefully, just what I come by in my normal weekly reading and that I retain). All of the film information in these previews, including the plot summary, has been pulled from the Opening This Week page of IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/nowplaying/). In this week’s installment we are taking quick looks at: Legion, Tooth Fairy, and Extraordinary Measures – amongst others…

Very well, let’s not wait another second then...

Legion
Director: Scott Stewart
Stars: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton
Studio: Screen Gems
The Plot: God has lost his faith in humankind, causing him to send his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. A remote diner becomes the battleground, where the Archangel Michael (Bettany) bands together with a group of strangers, though Michael's true focus is to protect a pregnant waitress whose unborn child is humankind's hope for survival.

The Republibot Take: So, the obvious comment is; is this a remake of The Prophecy (not the one about the giant mutated Grizzly, rather the one about the war between the angels) but with a bigger budget and a couple of higher profiles stars? I gotta say that I am kinda torn on this – on one hand, bad assed angels going to war over the human race, on the other hand bad assed angels are kind goofy – even more so when their wings are edged like a knife and they try to swing them around like large clumsy weapons while hunching over, trying not to bump into anything too big.

The Sci-fi quotient is 6.5 (I am trying to get a little more specific on this Sci-fi quotient thing, so I figure hard scientific elemetns used in a fantastical manner is closer to 10, boring character dramas in old-timey clothes is closer to 1, with 5 being the middle-ground and 0 being reserved for stuff that is just lame).

Already, I can tell you the biggest problem with this is movie is going to be the palpable lack of Christopher Walken.

Tooth Fairy
Director: Michael Lembeck
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews
Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
The Plot: A bad deed on the part of a tough minor-league hockey player (Johnson) results in an unusual sentence: He must serve one week as a real-life tooth fairy.

The Republibot Take: If I remember correctly from my olden days when I was a full time geek, the script for this has been around for a while – Arnold Schwarzneggar was attached for several years during the period when he was pursuing less violent films and trying to build a comedic sensibility to his body of work (Twins anyone?). The problem with movies like this is that they are almost impossible to make fun of because they have set themselves up already so the only shots you can take are so obvious that you feel like you are slumming.

The Sci-fi quotient is around a 4 (see, you would think this would get a score a bit above the mid-line, but really the fantastical elements in this are lame so that means it loses points).

I wont see it until it plays on TBS repeatedly, but I am sure it will make a decent amount of money. Johnson is charismatic and likeable and relatively non-threatening to the youth market at which this is very obviously squarely aimed.

Extraordinary Measures
Director: Tom Vaughan
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell, Harrison Ford
Studio: CBS Films
The Plot: A drama centered on the efforts of John and Aileen Crowley (Fraser and Russell) to find a researcher (Ford) to develop a potential cure for their two children's rare genetic disorder.

The Republibot Take: The plot synopsis on this sounds about as dumb as anything I have ever heard and I am a bit astounded that this was even made into a movie. It might as well be a factual account of the murder of the last Unicorn at Woodstock. The lack of believabilty to the premise is astounding. I base that last statement on the expecation that based on level of talent that is attached it is destined to have a happy ending. By that I mean that the researcher buckles down and finds a cure and saves the children. Soon we will have people pulling guns on nerdy nutritionists, forcing them to come up with a cure for childhood obesity.

The Sci-fi quotient is 3.5 – it is a boring character drama, but with a bit of hollywood science thrown in keepiing it from plunging to limbo.

Creation [limited]
Director: Jon Amiel
Stars: Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly
Studio: Newmarket Films
The Plot: English naturalist Charles Darwin (Bettany) struggles to find a balance between his revolutionary theories on evolution and the relationship with religious wife (Connelly), whose faith contradicts his work.

The Republibot Take: I am not a scientist, though I have a pretty good understanding of the scientific method, and I personally believe in the theory of evolution in broad strokes, I have also been a relatively religious person as well at times in my life (I am just too lazy to maintain it). Having said this and kinda showing where my sympathies lie, my personal feeling is that the implications of his book and the religious beliefs of his wife probably weren’t as dramatic as we are going to be shown in this movie. You can point to their journals or whatever and say, “see, they are struggling with it, the movie is dead on”. But the real truth is, when we write abour our lives in the privacy of our own worlds, things are always much more dramatic than they are in real life.

Now, that aside, Jennifer Connelly is hot – though a tender bit too thin, and Paul Bettany is weird looking and still sought after as an actor. Wait, how ironic is it that in the same week he appears in a movie where he outlines the theory of evolution which becomes a rallying cry for atheism and also in a movie where he plays an battle armored angel looking to save the chosen one.

The Sci-fi quotient is at a solid 5, good science mixed with character based drama, neither hot nor cold. Just right in the middle.

The Girl on the Train [LA/NY]
Director: André Téchiné
Stars: Émilie Dequenne, Catherine Deneuve, Michel Blanc
Studio: Strand Releasing
The Plot: A lie told by Jeanne (Dequenne), where she claims she was attacked on a train by six young men, grows into France's biggest news story of the day.

The Republibot Take: This couldn’t sound more uninteresting. Don’t get me wrong, I love foreign film. I love independent film too. What I don’t love is slow moving dramas that take forever to make their point. The only thing worse that that is when those self-same slow moving dramas that take forever to make their points are also heavy layered with preachy social issues.

The Sci-fi quotient is a 1.

To Save a Life [limited]
Director: Brian Baugh
Stars: Randy Wayne, Deja Kreutzberg, Joshua Weigel
Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
The Plot: Jake Taylor (Wayne), an all-star high school athlete, re-examines his life and priorities after one of his childhood friends commits suicide.

The Republibot Take: Ugghhh… I don’t know any of these people, and I am so tired of how awesome high school athletes are and how the world revolves around them. Don’t you think I had to put up with that enough when I was actually n high school? Always being relegated to the smart kid with the poor taste in clothes and weird sense of humour. Always being ignored by the hot girls. Always being thought of as a possible mascot instead of the captain of the team.

Anway, this movie sounds like it is by the numbers – so, let’s pass on it.

The Sci-fi Quotient is 0.

And that is it for this week, I think I will be warmed back up by next week and then can really start getting back into this. Or at least have something of middlin’ interest for you all, especially since we will be discussing (one moment while I hop out to IMDb): When In Rome and Edge of Darkness.

Until then, see you in the comments section.

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