The second stage in the build towards blockbuster season begins now. A couple of weeks ago, Watchmen signaled the trend towards the bigger films, striking early in an attempt to drive some life into theaters. Unfortunately, it did not work too well. Perhaps this weekend's premium animation will have a different effect. In any case, it looks to be a good weekend of fun with a goofy action picture, a hopefully creepy horror, and a family-friendly animation.
12 Rounds. (2009, 108 minutes, PG-13, action) This looks utterly ridiculous. However, it does look like it could be dumb fun; or I hope that it is dumb fun while secretly believing it will be terrible. WWE wrestler John Cena stars as a a New Orleans cop who thwarts a master thief's plan, which also causes said thief's girlfriend's death. Obsessed with revenge, the thief breaks out of jail, kidnaps the cop's fiancee and sets about a series of twelve rounds of tests. The trailer strikes me as a cross between Speed and Die Hard with a Vengeance. The movie is directed by Renny Harlin.
Monsters vs. Aliens. (2009, 94 minutes, PG, animated) I am expecting this one to be huge. It is the latest from Dreamworks Animation and looks to be a real crowd pleaser. It begins with a woman who grows to enormous heights and is confined with a motley crew of assorted monsters, including a scientist with head of a cockroach, a gelatinous blob, and a half fish-half ape critter. They become a necessity to the government when an alien arrives with an ultimatum. I cannot see this living up to the likes of Kung Fu Panda, but it could approach something like Over the Hedge. It does have the added bonus of being presented in 3D, and I like this latest wave of 3D films. The voice cast is also impressive, including Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Hugh Laurie, Paul Rudd, Renee Zellweger, and John Krasinski.