Finally! A half-way decent week for new movies. It isn’t huge, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. I was starting to feel like I was stuck in a Russian love story – one in which passion is demonstrated by not speaking to each other in order to avoid finding out damning information that you could trade to the government in return for the basic necessities of life. Ahhhhh, romance.
Boilerplate disclaimer: I have not seen any of these movies, nor have I gone out of my way to research any of them. I am just passing mindless judgment on them. All of the film information presented here, 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 The Crazies, Cop Out, and Defendor, amongst others.
Very well then – let’s get started right after the jump.
Director: Breck Eisner
Stars: Radha Mitchell, Timothy Olyphant, Danielle Panabaker
Studio: Overture Films
The Plot: As a toxin begins to turn the residents of Ogden Marsh, Iowa into violent psychopaths, sheriff David Dutton (Olyphant) tries to make sense of the situation while he, his wife (Mitchell), and two other unaffected townspeople band together in a fight for survival.
The Republibot Take: I don’t remember the original George Romero movie this is based on, which is surprising for me since for a decade I was a dyed in the wool Romero Aficionado. (I have no idea what that saying means – Dyed in the Wool. What was dyed, and why is it important that it happened while in the wool? Maybe it was originally “Died” in the wool. That could be pretty dedicated smell, if something died in the wool.)
The trailer for this doesn’t look horrible – the kind of fast moving zombies thing still has some legs, action and jump scare wise. I have totally dug Radha Mitchell since Pitch Black. I didn’t even recognize Timothy Olyphant though, but I only know him from Hitman, which totally rocked.
Staying on relatively the same lines as last week’s scoring system, we are using a 0 to 100 scale, however, we are moving over to a traditional public education scoring system (A = 90-100, B= 80-89, C = 70-79, D = 60-69, F = 59) with 96 being 2001: A Space Odyssey and 0 being Out of Africa. Therefore, the Sci-Fi Quotient is a solid 78 or a C+.
Director: Kevin Smith
Stars: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
The Plot: A comedy about a veteran NYPD cop (Willis) whose rare baseball card is stolen. Since it's his only hope to pay for his daughter's upcoming wedding, he recruits his partner (Morgan) to track down the thief, a memorabilia-obsessed gangster.
The Republibot Take: I don’t like Kevin Smith movies. And I say that fully understanding that it is driven mostly by envy. But there is a little part of me that also knows that if the situations were reversed I would totally do so much better than him that it wouldn't even be a contest. Yeah, yeah, Clerks wasn't absolutely unredeemable, but you would think at some point he would show some growth in his storytelling ability.
Cop Out is supposed to be his big leap. At least, that is my expectation. This is the first time that he is a Director for hire, as opposed to writer/director. Certainly, he probably did a rewrite on the script to give it his own highly imitable profanity and obscenity laced spin, but he is basically here working with someone else’s words and vision. However, the rest of my expectation is that the final product will be execrable. To defend that opinion watch the trailer below.
Sci-Fi Quotient is a 43 for a solid F. Why not a zero? Well regardless of how much I dislike his movies, there is always the moments when he does appeal to my darker side and I do laugh.
The Yellow Handkerchief [LA/NY]
Director: Udayan Prasad
Stars: William Hurt, Maria Bello, Kristen Stewart
Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
The Plot: An ex-con (Hurt) hitches a ride with two teenagers (Stewart and Redmayne) to see his estranged wife (Bello).
The Republibot Take: Just to show you how seriously I take my assignment for the Republibot Weekend Preview – I took the time to go out and find the trailer for this movie, but didn’t take the time to actually watch it.
I have always liked William Hurt, all the way back to Body Heat and Altered States (which sometimes still haunts me when I am suffering from a particularly bad cold or the flu and am taking a shower and an overpowering dread will take me as I expect to see six toes on my feet rather than my standard five). I dig Maria Bello more often than not, though I can’t say that she is always the best judge of material – she was great in The Cooler, but I have no idea what she was thinking by being in Mummy 3. Kristen Stewart has the same dead look in her eyes that Kirsten Dunst does, so I am not very taken with her.
Based solely on the synopsis I can only assume that this is a road trip character drama with an above average cast – that however, doesn’t win it any extra points when it comes to our flawless scoring system. Sci-Fi Quotient is a 63 for a solid D. Mainly because, there might be a car chase or possibly a magical mathematical equation that brings Hurt and Bello back together.
Director: Jacques Audiard
Stars: Tahar Rahim
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
The Plot: A young Arab man (Rahim) serving time in a French prison transforms into a mafia kingpin.
The Republibot Take: Again, I didn’t actually take the time to watch the whole trailer. So your guess is as good as mine. Though I do question the cavalier way in which they throw about the word “Mafia” here. Based on my extensive understanding of La Cosa Nostra based on seeing all 3 Godfather movies and My Blue Heaven (starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis), I don’t think that the Sicilians would welcome a person of middle eastern descent into their ranks. At all.
Sci-Fi Quotient though is a 63 for a D, for pretty much the same reasons as The Yellow Handkerchief – though I suspect that instead of a magical mathematical formula, it could possibly turn out that one of the older prisoners that befriend him and mentors him turns out be an alien.
Director: Peter Stebbings
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Kat Dennings, Sandra Oh
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) Worldwide Acquisitions Group
The Plot: Every night, Arthur Poppington (Harrelson) becomes Defendor, a superhero looking to rid his city of drugs, weapons, and the crime lord known as Captain Industry. With a new ally, teenage prostitute Katerina (Dennings), Defendor infiltrates the criminal underworld, steps away from a showdown with Captain Industry.
The Republibot Take: I wanna see this. I hate that I live in Utah, firstly because I am tired of winter(s) and secondly because all the cool things are sneaked and released first in California or New York or San Francisco. Plus, the kinda artsy, eclectic, semi-granola but still hygienic, liberalish types of girls I dig tend to congregate in those places.
And I wanna see this.
I am sure it isn’t perfect, but even so, it still looks like it could be a ton of fun.
I will leave the trailer for you which I saw a couple of weeks ago for the first time and let you decide on your own. But I wanna see it.
Sci-Fi Quotient is a 85 for a very respectable B.
There. That was relatively painless wasn’t it? I mean, for me. I like weeks in which I can quickly plow through this and still feel good about my biased opinions, like this one. I am very much looking forward to blockbuster season, too. Those will be gravy days for me. My ability to quickly criticized stuff I know nothing about will be much easier since I will have already made up my mind on most of the films just by osmosis.
And that all starts right here, next week with our preview of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Also, we will discuss Brooklyn’s Finest and The Secret of Kells, no idea… sounds like a leprechaun movie… (See!! How awesome was that, a preview of a preview – this is gonna be a great blockbuster season.)
Until next week – see you in the comments.