Spring Movie Guide: March 2012 – Week 5

Wrath of the Titans

Screenplay by David Johnson & Dan Mazeau

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman

Starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, & Ralph Fiennes

“Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world.”

I feel that I can’t have an opinion on this film until I actually man up and see 2010’s Clash of the Titans remake.  I’m a huge fan of Ray Harryhausen and his original 1981 Clash of the Titans so a big, CGI action movie remake was not something that was especially interesting to me.  I still have a copy that I haven’t watched, just because every time I go to watch a movie, there’s something better to see.  I’m typically a fan of Louis Leterrier’s movies (Incredible Hulk, The Transporter 1 &2) but that one just didn’t click with me.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t much of a fan of Jonathan Liebesman‘s previous movie Battle: Los Angeles, although it did have some cool action scenes, but not much more.

The sequel seems to feature more Liam Neeson so that’s always a good thing in my eyes, but on the same coin it does have Sam Worthington.  I guess most of the motivation to see this would be because you were a fan of the last one, and for that purpose it sounds like it’s similar in quality, so those people probably won’t be disappointed.  Judging by the box office from the last one, that was quite a few people, so it looks like Liebesman may have a full head of steam going into Ninja Turtles for Paramount and Platinum Dunes, but then again, the film might get lost quickly and not pull in the money they’re expecting.  This one is a coin flip, because even a $60 million weekend would only be a chip into the $150 million budget, and after the demise of John Carter, I’m curious to see where this one lands.

See what Jeremy thought in his review.

Common Sense Media says ages 13 and up.

Mirror Mirror Based on the story by The Brothers Grimm

Screenplay by Melissa Wallack & Jason Keller

Directed by Tarsem Singh

Starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, & Armie Hammer

“An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.”

The re-telling of old fantasy tales is nothing new, we’ve seen countless versions of Cinderella, with even Disney‘s recent sequels to their versions doing well on home video, it’s no wonder Hollywood often returns to the well of a concept more than others.  This has the leisure of being the “first” Snow White film out in the year that will also see the “grittier” Snow White and the Huntsman in June.  For now, we are left with the “winner”, Mirror Mirror that everyone seems to see as a quick fluffy Disney rip-off film, without the quality of a Disney film.  Tarsem Singh, who used to go by just Tarsem, was in director jail for a long time after The Cell, but I find it odd that The Fall, and infinitely similar movie to The Cell (key differences being star power and budget) is the movie that got him working again.  

Even then, it took him 6 years to get each of his last two movies made.  Now, after the financial (critical success has no bearing on the former) success of Immortals, a film that everyone seemed to hate, he’s back in the chair for this one to try to do the same feat again.   Unfortunately, he has reviews fighting against him again, and the film looks a little too adult, even at PG for parents to be rushing to take their kids to it.  However, that audience will probably be a large portion of the film’s weekend gross, although I’m worried they’ve reigned in Tarsem from his usual psychotropic visuals and kept the film looking too flat.  We’ll see, and I wonder what impact the weekend box office will have on the development of Maleficent and other projects of its ilk in the coming weeks.

Courtney wasn’t very impressed, you can read her review right now.

LIMITED RELEASE Bully Directed by Lee Hirsch

“A documentary on peer-to-peer bullying in schools across America.”

This is the film that has caused so much controversy over the past month or so, as Harvey Weinstein has been fighting the MPAA over the rating of this film.  We’ve followed the story when it started, as Congress stepped in, and the MPAA‘s final decision.  Being released Unrated the film has limited theatrical options, but this weekend it opens in New York and Los Angeles, if per screen averages are high enough, it will expand further I’m sure.  Harvey Weinstein has done well in this ordeal, grabbing himself tons of celebrity support and publicity, but the whole ordeal has been a redemptive act of sorts for the man that used to rule Hollywood with an iron fist.  He’s won the past two Best Picture awards at the Oscars, so he can’t complain that his career is dwindling anymore. Such an important film, there should be a copy provided to schools and shown to everyone 10-18, but unfortunately that’s not possible without an MPAA rating in most school districts.  

At the same time, I’m sure some ballsy teachers will put their neck on the line to show the film, particularly when they’ve been witness to bullying incidents.  It’s laughable that Common Sense Media rates the film at 14 years old, but the MPAA and its rigid standards won’t bow for anything, not even a culturally important film as this.  Sad that this is the way the world works, but good word of mouth will change a lot of minds after they are initially afraid of the lack of rating.  We’ll bring you a review of this one as soon as we can, this is a film we all want to see.    

Goon Written by Jay Baruchel & Evan Goldberg

Directed by Michael Dowse

Starring Jay Baruchel, Seann William Scott & Liev Schreiber

“Labeled an outcast by his brainy family, a bouncer overcomes long odds to lead a team of under performing misfits to semi-pro hockey glory, beating the crap out of everything that stands in his way.”

Seann William Scott hasn’t had the type of success that people expected from the American Pie crew.  None of them really did though, so he’s still probably the biggest single star from the series, besides John Cho, so it’s not really saying a whole lot.  However, with roles like Doug Glatt, Seann William Scott can rise up and beyond the dumb jock.  Although the plot of Goon is basically a dumb jock’s rise to fame as a hockey goon, the team’s enforcer that has no real skills outside of his ability to intimidate the other team and beat the snot out of anyone that isn’t intimidated.  Doug’s best buddy Ryan (Jay Baruchel) is a huge, loud, rude hockey fan that gives him strategic advice, and provides a lot of the humor.

The film has some pretty graphic hand to hand bloodletting, and Liev Schreiber is great as Ross “The Boss” Rhea, the league’s long dominating enforcer that Doug has to eventually face off against.  Full of some really cool hockey action, and some brutal fights, Goon doesn’t forget that it’s a funny movie, it just has a darker sense of humor, more like Observe & Report than Superbad.  Seth Rogen‘s longtime writing partner Evan Goldberg teams up with Baruchel on the script, and Take Me Home Tonight director Michael Dowse directs the bloody fights and balances them well with the humor.  This one has been on VOD for a few weeks, but this weekend it hits limited theaters from Magnet Releasing, so check your local listings.  Common Sense Media rates it 16 and up.

I saw the film and liked it quite a bit, check out my review right here.


Written by Nicolás Casariego & Jaime Marques

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Starring Clive Owen, Daniel Bruhl

“Two children living in different countries are visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them.”

This one has had very little marketing, but the trailer looked creepy, and Clive Owen is often smart with his project choices, so this is one I want to see.  It’s been out overseas for a little while, but this weekend it hits limited theaters in the US.  This will likely only hit the arthouse circuit as it looks too weird to cross over into a major mainstream hit (the language problem won’t help that either), but it looks like its doing well enough worldwide for the US domestic gross to not have too heavy an impact.  I never saw Juan Carlos Fresnadillo‘s 28 Weeks Later despite strong praise, although I was a fan of his film Intacto which I first saw browsing the foreign section at Bloockbuster.

The trailer makes it look a bit like The Stranger in some aspects, but it looks creepy, so it’s one I’m looking forward to, even if I haven’t seen many English language reviews yet.   As with all limited releases, if it has a high per screen average, it’s destined to expand.  We are working diligently to bring you a review as soon as possible.

Common Sense Media rates it ages 16 and up.

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