Whenever an action film blows my expectations, I am apt to give it more credit than it is probably due. It’s like being impressed by the habitual underachiever. Much like last year’s “The Last Stand” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was left impressed enough to warrant a higher rating than normal and Liam Neeson’s plane thriller “Non-Stop” left the exact same way. Yes, the twists were nothing mind blowing, but the plot keeps you guessing enough to welcome the ending and with Liam Neeson dominating his actions roles, I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the movies.
If I wanted to see “Son Of God”, I would a) first spend my time watching “Passion Of The Christ” which is the same idea but much more intensely executed or b) I would watch “The Bible” mini-series from which this film was re-purposed. With a somewhat close to Easter release, this is a studio capitalizing on a religious group that will likely venture out to see this film in groups. With a marketing campaign that has been pumping for months and keeping the mini-series on the hush, this film will likely do a lot of business, just not mine.
After all these years and after countless strange choices, I still feel some sort of connection to seeing John Cusack’s films. Now, with independent film “The Bag Man” where he’s given a bag to deliver with instructions from none other than Robert De Niro, Cusack’s character gets wrapped in something that involves a stripper and the police. Not the most interesting film I’ve ever encountered, Cusack and De Niro are enough of a draw to get me to see this film but my expectations are definitely not high.
Melodrama at its finest, “Bottled Up” suffers from way too much going on and it’s just too bad that Academy Award winner Melissa Leo got tied to it. As her daughter suffers from an addiction to pain killers, Leo’s character welcomes a stranger into their home that they try to get to help smuggle pills back from Canada, but instead of this being a thriller or a heavy drama, it becomes a fluff piece of zero consequence and lackluster performances, especially from Leo, who should be better.
A little too independent for my liking, even Vincent D’Onofrio cannot save “Chlorine”, a film about an investor who gives his savings to some shady guy and even though the trailer doesn’t really explain it in detail, I’m guessing he loses everything. Also starring Kyra Sedgwick, the look and feel of this film just does not look appealing and with yet another look an financial crisis, there’s nothing that lifts this film out of the darkness that is every other independent drama.
Reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “Ernest and Celestine” captures the essence of dark comedy bordering on adult themes all while playing nicely for children. The story of a mouse breaking the taboo on friendships with bears, this foreign animated film is nominated for Best Animated Feature and became one of my favorite viewings of the year, allowing for several laughs and just an adore concept and execution throughout. If you opt out of the sub-titled version, Forest Whittaker and many other celebrities offer their voices to the American dubbed version.
“Hair Brained” sees a child prodigy played by Alex Wolff get rejected by Harvard ending up at an average college with “late bloomer” Brendan Frasier as his wing man. The only thing worse than Frasier in this film looks be the impossible worn down plot of a brainy kid learning to let go and assimilate to the idiots around him. Were this film rated R I might give it the smallest of considerations but without even a raunchy factor, this film feels like a kids movie that is definitely not designated at kids.
“The Lunchbox” is actually an interesting little Hindi Indie romantic comedy. As part of Mumbai’s lunchbox delivery system, an attractive middle aged woman attempts to reach out to her husband through the food she prepares for him, but his lunchbox ends up going to a stranger, played by Irrfan Khan from “Life Of Pi”. Through notes, they communicate and begin a relationship through love letters, even though the woman is in a failing marriage. The emotions are definitely present in the trailer and I feel a very heart-warming film projecting from it.
Low budget science fiction films such as “Odd Thomas” are hard for me to jump on board with. Anton Yelchin takes his “Fright Night” expertise and carries on in a similar looking paranormal film where he can see spiritual entities that predict mass destruction. Attempting to save his town he ventures out to stop whatever is about to happen. The super attractive Addison Timlin stars and someday she’ll find herself in something that warrants a viewing, but for now she’s stuck in this Dean Koontz adaptation.
Forest Whittaker is an Academy Award winning person, so why is he showing up in this strange thriller with Anthony Mackie called “Repentance”. I thoroughly enjoy both of these men, but playing in a cross between “Misery” and “Cape Fear”, I can’t begin to imagine how this became a good idea. Mackie plays a famous author that reaches out to Whittaker’s character, who sees his dead mother and uses her as an excuse to hold Mackie and his family hostage in his home.
How this unknown film went from never being heard of to getting a huge theatrical push in IMAX 3D of all things, “Stalingrad” becomes one of the biggest mysteries of this year. Unless you’re a history buff or have some connection to this film, I cannot see anyone shelling out the premium ticket prices to see this war film. I’ll be interested to see the numbers on Monday, but if this thing does more than register, I will be completely surprised.