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Friday, April 15, 2011

In Theaters This Weekend

Edvard Munch gets it.

In theaters this weekend, we've an interesting mix. The long awaited, much applauded four-quel to a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek horror series, a cutesy kid's movie about birds, a mauling of a classic novel, and a peek inside the assassination of President Lincoln. For those of you who are wondering, the classic novel being adapted is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, in three parts by director Paul Johansson. 

More after the cut --

It's getting late in the day. So, we'll get right down to it. We have to figure out which one might be worth catching before the others this weekend. I'll bet money that it's Scream 4 (with the apt moniker "Scre4m"). But, for what it's worth, we'll look at each of them. Starting with the big one...

Scre4m. R.

There's something oddly classy about everything Wes Craven does. He is, without a doubt, the master of suspense (when he's on his game). He's a fascinating director, and the Scream series is the best showcase of his talent today. Back in the 70's, he changed the game with The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. In 1996, he changed it all again with the first Scream. Now, eleven years since the last installment, he and original screenwriter Kevin Williamson are back with the fourth and final part of the puzzle. Who's behind the mask this time? It's anyone's guess, really. But, there's a reported "shocking" twist at the very end. I'm not even going to venture into it with any sort of presupposed idea. I'm more interested in the journey than the destination here.

For a bonus, at the bottom, leave a comment and tell me what your favorite scary movie is!

Rio. G.

Rest assured that at least the film is cute. Staggeringly unimportant, but cute. Of course, all films don't have to have weight. It succeeds as it should, as a kid's movie with bright colours and flare. But, where the film should soar, it keeps itself grounded, for fear - it feels like - of leaving its audience behind. There isn't anything above the mark about it, except for the high profile cast of voice talent. Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Leslie Mann (who is actually quite fantastic)... all lend their voices to this Happy Feet-esque tale of a bird finding his inner-strength. Blu, a rare and endangered macaw, is domesticated at a very young age. He lives a life of comfort and routine until he's found and taken to Rio to mate with one of the last of his kind. It's a kid's movie, that's almost strictly for kids. Full review later.

The Conspirator. PG-13.

I have a special interest in all things directed by Robert Redford. The man has always been an intelligent actor, and as early as A River Runs Through It, he's been an intelligent director. I remember seeing The Legend of Bagger Vance when it came out and being amazed by his low-key subtlety as the man behind the camera. Here, we're being shown the true story of Mary Surratt - the only woman brought to trial after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The theories and actualities behind the assassination are utterly fascinating - read Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation for a closer look at the Lincoln killing, as well as others. And go see this for the dramatic retelling of an unfortunate moment in one of America's darkest times.

Atlas Shrugged: Part I. PG-13.

If this is Atlas Shrugged, well... Ayn Rand rolled in her grave. Of course, I'll be fair - I've only read segments of the novel, and I've yet to see the movie. So, I'll refrain from final judgement until I've seen it. But, I can tell you this - it looks horrendous, and a slap in the face to a powerful source text. I recommend obviously reading the book first - check the link here. And as far as the film goes, watch it. You might wind up enjoying it, but I'm guessing it's not something I'll get into. Director Paul Johansson is already threatening parts two and three, but I doubt it'll ever be allowed to get that far.

There we have it. Go see a movie. You've earned it.