Now that the worst is hopefully finally over (cough February cough), are we finally closing in on the good stuff? Admittedly, January wasn’t a total bust, there was some fun to be had, and Sundance was a total blast as expected. However, I think February decided to make up for it. While the summer movie season doesn’t hit full tilt until May, there is still almost too much to look forward to in March, let alone April (so much so that we’ll have to get to that one in a few weeks).
Picking up the slack from the abomination that was Gnomeo and Juliet, comes Rango, a new computer-animated family flick I’ve been anticipating since we first saw that orange wind up fish toy float across our screens. At first everyone clamored that it was “too weird” and there were lots of “I don’t get its,” I’ve been expecting good times from director Gore Verbinski working with Johnny Depp for a fourth time now. Even if not in another Pirates film. With Timothy Olyphant, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina, Ned Beatty, Stephen Root and Ray Winstone rounding out the voice cast, Verbinski and writer John Logan (Sweeney Todd, The Aviator, Gladiator) have my anticipation set even higher as the full length trailers and TV spots fare much better than anything we’ve seen for Cars 2.
George Nolfi may not be a household name but he’s dipped his hand in some pretty good stuff so far. Crafting his mold by working alongside everyone from Richard Donner to Steven Soderbergh to Paul Greengrass, it was probably only a matter of time before he brought his best screenplay yet to the big screen all by himself. Expect a full review on The Adjustment Bureau soon. While the creators of That ‘70s Show tried their hand at ’80s fare before with That ‘80s Show and failed before, try, try again I suppose. Writers Jackie and Jeff Filgo are at it again with the appropriately titled Take Me Home Tonight starring Topher Grace no less. If that movie title doesn’t immediately spring to mind the song it’s taken from and bathe you in a sense of the ‘80s then apparently you were asleep for 10 years and have never watched VH1 for a second. Hopefully the film is as fun as its trailer with Anna Faris, Michelle Trachtenberg, Dan Fogler and Chris Pratt along for the shenanigans.
It’s a busy day as we get a fix of aliens and period drama. Disney unleashes its latest dismal-looking Robert Zemeckis-produced motion capture flick, Mars Needs Moms which had me hopeful until I saw the trailer. Now all the fun has been sucked out of it by the endlessly lifeless humans and their inexpressive faces once again. It hasn’t worked before (Polar Express, Beowulf, and worstly Disney’s A Christmas Carol) so go ahead, Zemeckis, prove me wrong! Meanwhile Jonathan Liebesman will try to prove us all right that the man can finally make a good movie with the less family friendly Battle: Los Angeles. Thankfully all of the trailers have made it look head and shoulders above his previous entries consisting of Darkness Falls and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Here’s to hoping.
Meanwhile, two oft-told, well-known tales get updated versions competing for recognition. The better looking of the two belongs to Sin Nombre’s director Cary Fukunaga’s thriller tone twist on the classic Jane Eyre. With Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Craig Roberts and Sally Hawkins in the mix, should at least be some great acting to say the least. On the other hand, the director of the first Twilight installment brings us an updating of Red Riding Hood. I’m sure they dropped the Little once they cast Amanda Seyfried in the lead but Catherine Hardwicke’s sets all look like she’s filmed on a high school auditorium and we all know her idea of sensuality is people staring at each other and biting their lips for two hours. Hopefully Seyfried will maintain the watchability factor as there’s no doubt Gary Oldman will overact to steal the show, and why not?
With the last name of Burger, lets hope that director Neil Burger can bring something tasty to the table with Limitless. While the screenwriting duties of Leslie Dixon over the past ten years may make her seem out of place (The Heartbreak Kid, Hairspray, Just Like Heaven, Freaky Friday, and Pay It Forward), none of those films have been complete busts with more wins than losses. And seeing how Burger gave us The Illusionist (2006), underseen thanks to Christopher Nolan’s superior The Prestige; a story about an enhancement drug could be the right fix to bring his career to the forefront. Having Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro in front of the cameras hopefully help too, however, their hit to miss ratio have been more middling lately than most so we’ll just have to see.
While Matthew McConaughey tries to prove he can still act in a movie you’ve never heard of called The Lincoln Lawyer, the real winner of this weekend will undoubtedly befall upon yet another alien movie for sure. However, Paul happens to feature the awe inspiring conglomeration of director Greg Mottola (Arrested Development, Superbad, Adventureland), writers/stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), and a true slew of additional funny people: Seth Rogen (voicing the title alien), Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, Jeffrey Tambor and David Koechner; this film is primed to explode with hilarity.
Finally we get a weekend that seems to live up to the title of at least one of the films coming out. While absolutely no one saw this sequel coming, a second Diary of a Wimpy Kid is headed our way. I know everyone has mortgage payments to make, but Steve Zahn, you’re better than this! So alas, along comes Zack Snyder to make up for the final 30 minutes that his Owls of Ga’Hoole turned into once it never recovered its blundering pop song montage blundering. Hot chicks kicking major ass and visual wonderment rears its head in a new blue screen extravaganza as Snyder gives us a cinematic Sucker Punch. Casting Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung and Carla Gugino to wear as little as possible while maneuvering through fight scenes has sold me since the first teaser arrived. Come male or female, if this film doesn’t entice you, you need to check your pulse. Throwing Jon Hamm and Scott Glenn into the mix can’t hurt things either.
With such a busy month we’ll all just have to wait to see what April will be throwing our way, but spoiler alert, summer may be arriving early, that is if Ghostface himself doesn’t kill us with scares and laughs first. Bet you can’t tell which movie I’m personally most excited for. So until then, I’ll be right back!
Photos courtesy Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures