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Saturday, March 5, 2011

In Theaters This Weekend

You'll have to forgive the semi-late posting of this, but I'm dealing with a ripped open fingertip while typing this. Note that the wound is covered and I'm not bleeding all over my precious laptop. But, since all is held together by glue (quite literally), we can bask in the glory of the films opening this weekend - Rango - the Johnny Depp animated flick from Gore Verbinski, The Adjustment Bureau - a Matt Damon thriller, Beastly - Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens' take on Beauty and the Beast... with Mary-Kate Olsen, and Take Me Home Tonight - Topher Grace's trip back to '88.

This makes me laugh. So hard. 

More after the cut --

It's always interesting to see an animated feature film directed by a predominantly live-action feature director. Much like Zack Snyder did with Legend of the Guardian, or as Tim Burton did with Corpse Bride, Gore Verbinski does with Rango. It's a story about a chameleon with an identity crisis. An idea so simple, I'm surprised this hasn't been made at least thirty times by now. Especially in a Hollywood that would greenlight Beastly. 

Rango. PG.

Part Fievel Goes West, part The Wild Thornberries, and I'm sure there are dashes of every other Nickelodeon film ever made (except of course Peter Bogdanovich's Nickelodeon). The thing that makes Nickelodeon features so much fun is that they remain completely accessible at any age. I can watch Harriet the Spy now and feel just as good about it as I did when it came out about fifteen years ago. The voice talent involved in this film is another reason to pay attention, too - Johnny Depp, Ilsa Fischer, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina... the cast is stacked with "name" actors. Expect a great script, and lots of gags.

The Adjustment Bureau. PG-13.

I get happy just typing out that title. The Adjustment Bureau. The only negative thing I can say about this film so far is that it should have come out last year like planned. I hate that I've been teased for months and months with the bad fedoras, the cult-hit-in-the-making posters, Emily Blunt's legs the thrilling musical score... I'm writing a piece about the posters for the film tomorrow, so look for that. But, for now, know that this is one of my most anticipated of the year, and has been since last year. It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm a Matt Damon apologist, and this is going to be the latest in a long stretch of doing no wrong for him.

Beastly. PG-13.

I'm slightly furious that I even have to write about this. Embedding this trailer into my blog is a lot like typing the words "Justin Bieber documentary" in the same sentence - unnecessary and painful. But, the country gets what the country wants. After getting The King's Speech, Black Swan, and True Grit to over 100 million dollars at the box office, this CW retelling of Beauty and the Beast (with more than a few shades of Penelope thrown in) gets the hasty greenlight. Why? Certainly not the relevance of its young cast. Certainly not because I Am Number Four's Alex Pettyfer needed two flops so quickly in succession. And certainly not because it hopes to answer the school bullying problem. Honestly, I'm out of theories. Maybe they just need the cash. There's no urgency for a movie like this. This is the type of film that separates the pawns from the thinking crowd.

Take Me Home Tonight. R.

Go ahead. Sing the song. Get it out of your system. There's something radically jubilant about this trailer... I'm not even old enough to remember '88, but I feel like I'm being taken back for a visit every time I hit play. I love the cast, especially Topher Grace and Anna Faris, and I'm hoping that Dan Fogler lives up to the promise he showed in Fanboys in 2007. The idea of this picture reminds me quite a bit of Blast From the Past, the Brendan Fraser comedy from 1999, but I know they have nothing in common. I just get that sort of feel from it - a time-bending, "era" appreciation comedy that makes no mistake in knowing that it's a new millennium film. I like those. Broad comedy, but with enough thinking power to keep me going.

I used to do these "coming to theaters" articles in one lump sum, but I don't really see the point in elongating this article for the three or four independent features that are being released as well, seeing as not every one lives in either New York or Los Angeles. So, the limited releases are getting their own separate post. I think it'll run better that way - I can give more attention to each feature, and maybe spread the word a bit more aply.

Either way, you've had a tough week. Go to the movies and escape a bit. You've earned it.