REPUBLIBOT WEEKEND MOVIE PREVIEW: Movies Opening 1-29-10

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Hi and welcome to the Republibot Weekend Movie Preview. We got a jim-dandy of an installment for you this week – we get to preview 2 big studio releases and two movies you have never heard of. It is going to be a blast. Honestly. I wouldn’t lie to you. Much.

Before we get started it is important to note that I haven’t seen any of these movies, nor have I done any extra special research for this article. I am basically just passing judgment on these films sight unseen. 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/). This week we are previewing When In Rome, and Edge Of Darkness – amongst others… It’s going to be fun so jump on through and let’s get to it.

When in Rome

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Stars: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel

Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Plot: Beth (Bell) is a young, ambitious New Yorker who is completely unlucky in love. However, when she impulsively steals some coins from a reputed fountain of love during a whirlwind trip to Rome, she finds herself aggressively pursued by a band of suitors.

The Republibot Take:  I don’t get the huge geek allure of Kristen Bell – I mean, yeah, she is attractive… in a bouncy, elfin sort of way. But what is the geek-appeal? Has she been in anything solidly genre related? Other than Heroes which, let’s face it, doesn’t count – other than the first season, that show has seriously stunk up the atmosphere (as a matter of fact, I heard that the stolen emails from the University of East Anglia were mostly about how Heroes was more responsible for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming than Carbon Emissions, but those particular emails have mysteriously not gotten much plan in the media…). That Nancy Drew-like show she was in doesn’t count as genre either, and I think it should go without saying, though I will go ahead and say it anyway, romantic comedies don’t count either.

So for this I will have to give it a Sci-Fi Quotient of 3.5 – the fact that it has magical fountains in Rome only means that it is lame and not that it is fantasy in any way. However, it isn’t completely a boring-nothing-cool-happens period piece so it gets a bit of credit. Now if it involved her in some partial nudity or car chases with gunfire then of course I would have to rise the Sci-Fi Quotient accordingly, but nothing I have seen so far leads me to think anything interesting like that happens. At all.

Edge of Darkness

Director: Martin Campbell

Stars: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Plot: As homicide detective Thomas Craven (Gibson) investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent (Winstone) tasked with cleaning up the evidence.

The Republibot Take: Well thanks IMDb… I suspected that this is what the movie was going to be about, especially with regard to his daughter, but I was looking forward to finding that out while watching the movie.

I am actually looking forward to Edge of Darkness. Mel at his best has a visceral and brutal elegance that can be mesmerizing – and that is whether he is directing or acting. Apocalypto was like that, the first Lethal Weapon was that in spades even though it was fairly clichéd plot wise. I had issues with Braveheart though – don’t get me wrong it was a fine film, however the fact that his character’s  true love was roughly the same age as he when they were kids, but 30 years younger than him when they were grown up was a huge distraction. And there was a lot of Oscar posturing going on in that movie, too.

Sci-Fi Quotient on this is a solid 5 (remember a 10 means that the film has a solid hard extrapolation of real science as a base, a 1 is a period drama in which all they do is talk to each other, screw and connive, and a  0 is for anything that I just really couldn’t care less about).

North Face [limited]

Director: Philipp Stölzl

Stars: Benno Fürmann, Florian Lukas, Johanna Wokalek

Studio: Music Box Films

The Plot: In 1936, two German climbers (Fürmann and Lukas) look to be the first people to conquer the unclimbed north face of the Eiger mountain in the Bernese Alps.

The Republibot Take: Ohhhh!! A mountain climbing movie!! In German!! Didn’t Clint Eastwood scale that north face in the Eiger Sanction? Just asking… I actually wouldn’t mind seeing this at some point, but it isn’t something I am absolutely dying to see. What would make me interested is if Mr. Sly himself, Sylvester Stallone was in it and he had a death defying leap across a large crevasse  as a helicopter hovered nearby while taking sniper pot-shots at him. Who am I kidding, Stallone doing that would make any movie better. A Room With A View? Bam!! 10 times better! Out of Africa? Bam!! 15 times better! Star Wars: The Phantom Menace? Bam!! 50 times better. See? It’s science.

Sci-fi Quotient (currently as is, without any Stallonification™) 2.5.

Saint John of Las Vegas [LA/NY]

Director: Hue Rhodes

Stars: Steve Buscemi, Romany Malco, Sarah Silverman

Studio: IndieVest Pictures

The Plot: John (Buscemi) is a compulsive gambler who fled Las Vegas for a more normal life and steady job at an auto insurance company in Albuquerque. Tasked with co-investigating a dubious car accident, however, John finds himself back on the road to Sin City.

The Republibot Take: Man, it must be bittersweet having Steve Buscemi’s life, don't you think? I mean on the one hand, the guy is well respected and works regularly, on the other hand he only plays low-life scums that are either criminals or addicts or creepy neighbors that no one really likes. Steve Buscemi, to me, sums up the entirety of the Hollywood experience: You suck, but we love you, but just remember you do suck.

How many roles do we have to see him in as a sad sack loser that gets thrown back into the thick of it – when can we see him play a happily married father of three with a good job and a nice house? I am making a demand to the Hollywood decision makers right now – let’s show Steve some love and give him, just once, a role that doesn’t make people feel icky to be around him in real life. Who’s with me?!?

Sci-fi Quotient on this is 3.75

That is it for this week.

See, didn’t I tell you it would be a lot of fun. You really should tell your friends. They will be forever grateful for pointing them here. Especially next week when we preview such interesting films that I know very little about like From Paris With Love, Dear John and Frozen.

 See you then!!

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