Blergh… Kind of a mixed week this week. On one hand, genre-wise, a good 66% of the releases are near our sweet spot, on the other hand, only 3 movies are opening. But, such is life – you take a little of the good with a bit of the bad and get a tuna casserole. (I have no idea what that means, but it made sense when I wrote it 30 seconds ago.)
Anyway, let’s quickly get our disclaimer out of the way and dig in: I’ve very obviously not seen any of these movies, nor have I invested any effort into researching them. I am trusting in the universal power of pop culture osmosis to inform my admittedly clueless opinions. 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 Alice In Wonderland, Brooklyn’s Finest, and the Secret of Kells.
So, without further ado, grab hold of my hand, close your eyes, take a deep breath and let’s make the jump…
Alice in Wonderland
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Plot: 19-year-old Alice (Wasikowska) returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.
The Republibot Take: It is strange, every time I hear that Tim Burton is associated with a new film, I get a little surge of excitement and hope, and then I remember everything else he has done and it all comes crashing down around my ears. So, here’s my problem with Tim Burton; he doesn’t understand character and he can’t direct action. And he struggles with structure. His one great success from beginning to end, Nightmare Before Christmas, probably was more due to the influence of Danny Elfman on the music than anything else.
I did, also, love his short film Vincent. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory didn’t have a fraction of the heart that the Gene Wilder version had. My expectations for Alice in Wonderland are very low.
However, on the new and improved Sci-Fi Quotient scale of 1 to 5 Gigawatts with 1 Gigawatt being 3:10 To Yuma and 5 Gigawatts being Moon (and 0 Gigawatts being The Horse Whisperer), this gets a solid 2.25 Gigawatts.
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke
Studio: Overture Films
The Plot: In Brooklyn, New York, three veteran cops (Gere, Hawke, and Cheadle) struggling with their own personal and professional dilemmas dispatched to a notorious housing project, where they will each collide with destiny.
The Republibot Take: I haven’t seen Training Day which was directed by this same director, but I have heard good things about it. I did see King Arthur, which was awful – what I hated most about it was the extreme lengths they went to in order to set up the premise of this gritty, rough and tumble true life inspiration story for the legend of King Arthur and then all the battles were held on perfectly manicured fields.
Regardless, this does sound kinda compelling, except for that last line in the synopsis which can’t be read any other way than a harbinger of lameness.: “…where they will each collide with destiny.”
Sci-Fi Quotient is a respectable (for this kinda movie and only because of the hokey reference to destiny) 1 Gigawatts.
The Secret of Kells [NYC]
Director: Tomm Moore Nora Twomey
Stars: Evan McGuire, Brendan Gleeson, Mick Lally
The Plot: As his medieval outpost faces a threat from advancing barbarian hordes, talented, young Brendan looks to finish illuminating an ancient book that could help keep his home safe. To do so, he will have to overcome his fears of an enchanted forest where mythical creatures are thought to hide.
The Republibot Take: Is this a cartoon? (At the time of writing this, I haven’t tracked down the trailer yet.) If not it might be kinda cool in a cheapSyFy Original sorta way. Actually, that is kind of how I see it in my mind already if it is live action. Low budget, poor acting, CG effects that look like they were state of the art back before Young Sherlock Holmes came out. With locations just off of LA.
If it is animated though, in my mind I see it looking like a cross between a 70’s Rankin Bass and an 80’s Nelvana Animation film. With voices provided alternately by Second City Alumni and Orson Bean.
It gets a free 1 Gigawatt bump to its base Sci-Fi Quotient score just for being a heavily genre based film, giving it an overall rating of 2.5 Gigawatts.
(Ok, now that I saw the trailer I hadn’t realized that it was produced by the same people that did Triplets of Bellville which I loved. The animation looks beautiful.)
I will probably see Alice in Wonderland this weekend, and based on how motivated I am I will post up a review to see how close my gut reaction is to my post viewing reasoned opinion. Would like to see The Secret of Kells now, but since it is only out in limited release I will instead rail against the heavens for not living some place closer. I’ll most likely wait for Brooklyn’s Finest to come to premium cable.
Next week, join us as we preview Green Zone, Remember Me, and She’s Out of My League, amongst others.
Until then – see you in the comments.