Spring Movie Guide: April 2012 – Week 4

The Five Year Engagement

Written by Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, & Chris Pratt

“A comedy that charts the ups and downs of an engaged couple’s relationship.”

After their hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller and his star/co-writer Jason Segel are back at it again, this time with a more grown up story of love, about a couple (Segel and Emily Blunt) who just can’t seem to get married.  In the past, the team has proven that they can make a funny movie, and with the duo doing last year’s The Muppets, they’ve also proven they can have mass appeal.

Here, they’ll grab their bread and butter, the young male audience, and pack on top of it old people and women of all ages.  Their trajectory money-wise can only go up from here, and they’re releasing it at the height of wedding season, killing many birds with one funny stone.  I hope I can find the time to see it myself this weekend, but if you aren’t convinced, you can read Courtney’s positive review right here.

Common Sense Media has rated the film 15 years old.

The Raven Screenplay by Ben Livingston & Hannah Shakespeare

Directed by James McTeigue

Starring John Cusack and Luke Evans

“When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality.”

Like the works of Seth Grahame-Smith, this movie is a bit of revisionist history where a serial killer in Baltimore is killing using methods found in the works of Edgar Allen Poe (played here by John Cusack).  Naturally, the detective investigating the murders (Luke Evans) turns to Poe himself to get a lead on the murders and be one step ahead of the killer.

It’s a period piece, but there is something about the films of James McTeigue that just makes them feel really fake.  There is a gloss present, that while looks nice, detracts in certain instances.  I thought it was a plus in V For Vendetta and Ninja Assassin.  However, here, it takes away from the period feeling, and it doesn’t help that John Cusack looks like John Cusack in the 1830’s.  Too many things don’t add up, and the advertising hasn’t really helped the film much.

Unfortunately, Jeremy wasn’t impressed, you can read all about that in his review.

Common Sense Media has rated the film 16 years old.


Pirates! Band of Misfits

Screenplay by Gideon Defoe

Directed by Peter Lord & Jeff Newitt

Starring Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, and Jeremy Piven

“Pirate Captain sets out on a mission to defeat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz for the Pirate of the year Award. The quest takes Captain and his crew from the shores of Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London.”

The films of Aardman Animations are unique and often very smart, with humor that isn’t pointed so directly at the adult supervisor crowd, instead it’s just the quirky style Aardman has become known for as a company.  Promotion has ramped up the past few weeks for this one, and since Aardman has a cult following that will show up for their movies, I have a feeling the film will do well for the weekend, especially with few family friendly choices on the barren spring landscape.

Courtney wasn’t super impressed, read her review of the film here.

Common Sense Media rates the film age 6.

Safe

Written & Directed by Boaz Yakin

Starring Jason Statham

“Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei’s trail.”

Details on this film have been relatively scarce, and besides the trailer, I haven’t seen a single TV spot.  It could just be the channels I’m watching, but usually I see promotion ramp up for a film’s release, but so far I’ve seen little on this Jason Statham actioner.  It could be that the film didn’t test well so Lionsgate didn’t put up the usual money, or I’ve just missed it.  Either way, no one seems to be too excited for this one, so here’s hoping they made it on the cheap.  It’s still hitting a decent 2,700 screens, and Statham is a bankable action name, so maybe the weekend will be kind to it, but I doubt it will do much more than crack the top 5.

On the positive, Boaz Yakin is an established writer with a lot of genre movies under his belt, as well as the mass appeal hit Remember the Titans.  He is/was one of Eli Roth‘s producing partners, and he’s written some obscure and big budget action hits in the past, as well as some flops.  This one will probably land in the middle, but we’ll see.

No rating from Common Sense Media yet, but sounds like a 16 rating most likely.

Read Jeremy’s review for the film right here.

IN LIMITED RELEASE

Bernie

Based on the article by Skip Hollandsworth

Written by Skip Hollandsworth & Richard Linklater

Directed by Richard Linklater

Starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, & Shirley McClain

“In small-town Texas, the local mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that she’s alive.”

Richard Linklater is an interesting filmmaker, from his unconventional start with Slacker to his big budget studio comedies like The Bad News Bears remake, or his famous teaming with Jack Black for School of Rock, which did great in theaters and even better on video.

The duo is back together for the other side of Linklater’s coin, a small, personal project, based on a true story, about a small town Texas mortician who kills a wealthy widow, then pulls a darkly humorous Weekend At Bernies style attempt to maintain the illusion that she is still alive so the town won’t get suspicious.  The trailer looks funny, and Matthew McConaughey is back with Linklater again doing what he does best:  Being funny in odd films.  Their most famous pairing is Dazed and Confused, probably Linklater’s most famous film, and they’ve recently spoke of resurrecting Wooderson for a new film.  Only time will tell, but in the meantime, this one might be checking out for fans of Linklater’s passion projects like A Scanner Darkly.

Review from Jeremy is coming as soon as we’re allowed to post it.

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