Spring Movie Guide: March 2012 – Week 3

21 Jump Street

Based on the TV Show by Stephen J. Cannell & Patrick Harsburgh

Story by Jonah Hill & Michael Bacall

Screenplay by Michael Bacall

Directed by Chris Miller & Phil Lord

Starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, & Ice Cube

“A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.”

Everyone’s favorite 80’s TV show is back, and like many TV-shows-turned-modern-movies, it’s a comedy to mock what everyone liked in the 80’s, while following the same basic plot that we all know and love.  Many might not remember 21 Jump Street as anything more than the one show Richard Greico was actually acting in (and not playing himself) and the show that made Johnny Depp a household name.  Now, the hottest comedy writer in town, Michael Bacall has worked with Jonah Hill to bring it to current audiences, and he’s paired with Channing Tatum who proves he does have a sense of humor, and it’s not written by Nicholas Sparks.

The directing team is the same one behind the extremely successful Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and here they step into the adult arena of humor.  Early reviews are fantastic, the red band trailer is funny, even the TV spots work well.  The film is sure to be the first real comedy hit of the year, easily surpassing Project X and its niche audience, finding wide audiences young and old.  By this time next week, I’m sure we’ll have a greenlight on the sequel.

See what Jeremy thought of the film in his review right here.

Rated R, releasing from Columbia Pictures in theaters nationwide.

LIMITED RELEASE

The rest of this week’s releases will be in limited theaters, going from widest down to smallest, although I’m still unsure how many theaters Seeking Justice will hit.  Casa De Mi Padre will be in 350 theaters, which means most cities of 100,000 people or more should see it on one screen around town.  Jeff, Who Lives at Home will be in 250 theaters, limiting it to the more urban areas of the US, mostly major cities, but a few prints will probably find their way to the suburbs in limited areas with big comedy audiences. While I’m still looking for more info on Detachment, all signs are pointing to a very limited New York and Los Angeles release, although I’ll update everyone if I hear anything more than that.

Casa De Mi Padre

Screenplay by Andrew Steele

Directed by Matt Piedmont

Starring Will Ferrell, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Diego Luna

“Scheming on a way to save their father’s ranch, the Alvarez brothers find themselves in a war with Mexico’s most feared drug lord.”

In an ode to Mexican ‘narco cinema’, Will Ferrell went and shot this Spanish language film, with the two hottest Spanish speaking stars on the planet, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna.  The two have often shared the screen, but never in this fashion.  Ferrell and Bernal play brothers who end up embroiled in a battle over their father’s ranch with a feared Mexican drug lord, played by Luna.

Not many reviews are out for this one yet, but the few that have snuck online are glowingly positive.  I don’t know if wide audiences will get the joke that they are making fun of an entire genre of films a world away, but the concept of Ferrell as the Mexican brother of Bernal is funny enough for most audiences to get that the film itself is a joke.  With that said, the trailers are funny, and is often the theme with Ferrell’s movies, it seems like it has a bit of a heart to it.  I wouldn’t expect anything less from the undisputed king of comedy at the moment, so I think everyone that can track this film down is in for a treat.

Rated R, releasing from Pantelion Films.

Jeff, Who Lives At Home Written & Directed by Mark & Jay Duplass

Starring Ed Helms, Jason Segel, & Susan Sarandon

“Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.”

Jason Segel has made a career for himself playing a wide variety of slackers, from his days on Freaks and Geeks, his role in Knocked Up, or his first big starring role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  Here, he plays a special type of extreme slacker that is content to live out live in his mother’s basement.  His brother (Ed Helms) is a well to do young man who thinks following the rules of life will yield the best results.  When Jeff spends the day with his brother, they both learn about each other, and life, as they skate through comedic escapades.

Although, knowing the Duplass Brothers, you know that’s not all your in for, there will always be an emotional core, supported by dark, often inappropriate humor.  Most people would probably know Jay Duplass best from his role as ‘Pete’ on The League, but he and his brother have carved themselves a nice little niche as indy filmmakers with such hits as Baghead, and last year’s Cyrus, their biggest release to date.

Jeremy loved the movie, it was his first favorite of the year, check out his review here.

Rated R, releasing from Paramount Vantage in limited theaters.

Detachment

Written by Carl Lund

Directed by Tony Kaye

Starring Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, & Marcia Gay Harden

“A substitute teacher who drifts from classroom to classroom finds a connection to the students and teachers during his latest assignment.”

I haven’t heard much on this one, but the trailer was intriguing, and it’s the first movie with a big star for director Tony Kaye since the debacle he faced with American History X, and the lawsuit that followed its release.  While everything has not gone well for Kaye in the past few years in the world of Hollywood, if this film gets good reviews, it’s his chance to return to the scene he so despises.  Either way, Adrien Brody always picks projects where he has something to work with, and this looks like it could be his Half Nelson. This won’t be a big movie by any means, but it’s a good stage to showcase the skills you might have missed in Predators.

Rated R, releasing from Tribeca Films in limited theaters.

Seeking Justice

Screenplay by Robert Tannen

Directed by Roger Donaldson

Starring Nicolas Cage, January Jones, & Guy Pearce

“After his wife is assaulted, a husband enlists the services of a vigilante group to help him settle the score. Then he discovers they want a ‘favor’ from him in return.”

Entering into the pantheon of strange Nicolas Cage films, Seeking Justice is an average thriller that has been disguised by a strange story and the inexplicable casting of Guy Pearce.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s enjoyable in the film, but it’s a wonder how he got there in the first place.  Nicolas Cage‘s oddness is compounded with each film he does, and this one won’t help anyone to make sense of the man.

His odd wardrobe choices are explained by the control he exerts over his films, as well as his hairstyles, and lack of chemistry on screen are all explained by his strange personal life.  Hell, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant just sold a script about the oddity that is his life, so it’s obvious he’s here for our entertainment, one way or another.  It has enough action and cool stunts to keep people interested, even if it doesn’t make any sense in the end.  People lo0king for stuntwork and a fast pace will be satisfied enough.

Read my review of the movie right here.

Rated R, releasing from Anchor Bay Films.

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