This week brings with it three new wide releases, each with a different target audience. The big question, as it is any week, are they any good? Is it really worth your or my time? Each one is a good question. We all know that besides Oscar nominees going wider, or returning to the theaters, the early months of the year tend to be dead zones in terms of quality films. Fortunately, we have had a couple of worthy additions mixed in. Hopefully we will be able to report on good movies this weekend too, but I am not holding my breath.
Date Movie. This would probably have been better off opening prior to Valentine's Day, but here we have a romantic comedy proudly marketed as coming from "2 of the 6 writers of Scary Movie." Now is that something to be proud of? I'm not so sure. Whatever the case, this looks as if it could be a very funny farce, or fall flat on its face with the best jokes in the trailer. Among the movies it lampoons are Hitch, Napoleon Dynamite, The Wedding Planner and Meet the Fokker's. It stars Alyson Hannigan, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, and it was directed by the same two writers of the Scary Movie movies, making their directorial debuts, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. TRAILER
Eight Below. Targeting children and the family crowd comes the latest "inspired by a true story" film from Disney. This one centers on a man and his team of sled dogs. A storm rips through the Antarctic base where they had been stationed, and when the helicopter arrives to lift them out, there is no room for the dogs, and they are left behind. The movie chronicles the dogs survival and their owners efforts to get back and find them. The trailer looks like it could be fun, but it does star Paul Walker who can't act his way out of a wet paper bag. It was directed by Frank Marshall who has been a producer for most of his career, last directing Congo back in 1995. It may also be interesting to note that this is a remake of a Japanese film called Nankyoku monogatari. TRAILER
Freedomland. Bringing a little suspense to the weekend is this film from director Joe Roth (Christmas with the Kranks). Julianne Moore plays Brenda, a woman whose child is kidnapped during a carjacking. Detective Council (Samuel L. Jackson) is brought in to investigate. Along the way he teams with a reporter played by Edie Falco as they search for the accused African American culprit. The trailer looks good, although I had an immediate flash of the awful The Forgotten where Julianne Moore also lost a child. TRAILER