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Friday, February 18, 2011

In Theaters This Weekend

Buckle in. This is going to be a long one - three days, eight releases, one of which has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (you read that right. Zero.). In order, we have:

... is that an Android Market tag?

I Am Number Four, Unknown, Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son, Vanishing on 7th Street, I Am, Immigration Tango, Even the Rain, Brotherhood. Interestingly enough, I Am and Brotherhood are only opening in two random cities - Portland, Oregon and Dallas, Texas, respectively. But, both are opening to noteworthy reviews full of praise. Could there be awards potential? Most likely, I'm thinking.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this weekend's releases is not that there are so many, not that I Am Number Four has been advertised since December last year, it's that up until a couple of weeks ago when the film's promotion really took off, I thought that the guy in the poster was Jim Caviezal. It's not. And I feel stupid.

More after the cut --

Last week, Adam Sandler just went with it all the way to the top of the box office, while the Justin Bieber documentary (I hate that I have to type those words one after another, and for the rest of the year) trails the comedy slightly at number two. The King's Speech is now number six in theaters across the country, with numbers three through five being Gnomeo and Juliet, The Eagle, and The Roommate (!).

This week, however, the releases seem to be (maybe) a bit more promising that a documentary about Justin Bieber (there that is again) and an Adam Sandler rip-off of Cactus Flower. Let's take a closer look at each, shall we?

We shall.

I Am Number Four. PG-13. 

Three are dead. Alex Pettyfer is number four. And while the plot-line in the trailer might seem a bit... incomprehensible, what we will know going in is that John (Pettyfer) is a new guy in a small town where he's hiding to evade a deadly enemy. There, he teams up with locals and his new love interest. It's an alien film, a sci-fi epic in the grand tradition of later Spielberg, and it has been hyped for months. This is the kind of film that will either make a career, or wipe its star from the face of the Earth. Personally, I think it will be a culmination of "right place, right time" for everyone involved. Expect a big hit.

Unknown. PG-13. 

Liam Neeson is an action star that I trust, simply because he wasn't always an action star. And he brings the soulful thoughtfulness of his mainly dramatic career to his action tent-poles, making them endlessly watchable. Taken is one of the best films of 2008, and gave us one of his best performances. Now, teaming with Orphan director Juame Collet-Serra, he's back - but he has no idea who he is. And for the next two hours, we get a blistering mystery film that promises lots of Neeson being offended by arrogance. I honestly can not wait. And while this film co-stars January Jones and Diane Kruger, it's this type of film that makes me long for Debra Kara-Unger's career to kickstart again.

Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son. PG-13.

Martin Lawrence's Big Momma's House movies are now a trilogy. Why? Because there was nothing else he could be doing with his time, presumably. Do we need a third one? Probably not. Does anyone remember what the second one was even about? I erased it from my memory. Do I like the first one? Yeah. I do. It's not good, by any means, but it's enjoyable because of the supporting cast. But, honestly, I'd rather suffer another Madea movie than another Big Momma's House. At least the Madea movies can be intelligent and thought-provoking. 22 reviews in, Rotten Tomatoes has labeled this 0% on the Fresh-meter. Obviously, this is going to be the best movie ever made.

Also, in oddly limited release -

Vanishing on 7th Street - A massive power outage causes an entire city's population to vanish. Except for Hayden Christensen and the rest of the cast. Why? I assume we'll find out. But, early reviews indicate that there isn't much of a reason behind anything in this film. But, I like Christensen quite a bit, and I'm always down for a 'Mist'-esque survival film. So, I'll be checking it out.

I Am - Director Tom Shadyac is the brilliant mind behind the ridiculously funny Jim Carrey film Liar, Liar. He suffered through a bicycle accident that left him with serious injuries and he was incapacitated for quite some time. During that time, life and death and God and the point of it all were topics of constant thought. Now, we have the birth from that thought - he set out with a video camera to document conversations with world leaders and famous thinkers about what is wrong with the world, and how it can be fixed.

Immigration Tango - Two couples decide to "Chinese fire drill" their love life in order to keep their loved ones from being deported. What follows is a reportedly strong, and politically charged romantic comedy that unfortunately became under rug swept after Roadhouse Attractions had to launch Oscar campaigns for Winter's Bone and Biutiful. Expect great things, though, if you don't mind thinking while you eat your popcorn.

Even the Rain - Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Tosar star in a film about people rising up. Bernal is a controversial director, and he and his crew are in a third world village in Bolivia, making a film about Christopher Columbus. The people of the town don't have time for this, however, as they are busy revolting against the privatization of their water supply. I've read nothing but great things about this film, all reviews pointing to another critical hit in a long string of critical hits from Gael Garcia Bernal. He's one of the best actors around, so I don't expect to be disappointed.

Brotherhood - From Dallas, Texas, we're being given (eventually) a startling film about a fraternity initiation gone horribly wrong. A young college kid is asked to participate in a convenience store robbery as part of his pledge, but things slowly become drastic, and every decision becomes a life threatening one. Early reviews are hailing the film's performances and script. For those of you who have a festival screener, consider yourself lucky. The film isn't due to open anywhere else for a while.

Give this list a look one more time before you make your decision. Depending on where you live, there are a lot of options. Really, the only thing I'm not interested in seeing is the Big Momma movie. I'm giving a fair shot to everything else. Especially Brotherhood.