Opening May 11th – I want to care, I really do, but I just don’t

Does that make me a bad person?
Come on, do Any of these movies generate any interest?

Would you take on Cap?
I didn’t think so
That’s really the only question about the new releases this week, isn’t it? I mean you have either seen The Avengers or you haven’t. If you didn’t see The Avengers opening weekend you are one of the people that decided to wait to avoid some of the insane crowds, in which case if you go to the movies this weekend it will be to see The Avengers, or you are one of the very small minority of the movie going public that hates superheroes (shocking I know, but they do exist). If you saw The Avengers last weekend then chances are you loved it, The Avengers is one of only 16 movies to receive an A+ cinemascore (an exit polling score that has people grade the movie as they are leaving the theater). And if you loved it you may well be thinking “I might want to see that again” (I know my son and I have been talking about it). So what chance do these movies have? To be blunt, not much, and most are gunning for OnDemand or VOD money more than theater goers. Still nine movies are entering the fray to see if they can survive.

Dark Shadows
Interest Level: 5
Batting Average of Burton/Depp collaborations: .500
I love Tim Burton. I love Tim Burton so much that I even like the movies he has made that everyone else says they hate. I say “says they hate” because his two most critically lambasted films (Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) also happen to be hit two biggest box office hits (what was the Chris Rock joke, everybody makes fun of K-Mart but we all know what a blue light special is). So why am I not more excited about Dark Shadows? I honestly can’t put my finger on it. I mean, beyond Tim Burton, the cast is amazing – Johnny Depp (awesome), Michelle Pfeiffer (after my wife the love of my life), Helena Bonham Carter (always terrific), Eva Greene (the only thing that made Camelot on STARZ watchable), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, Bad News Bears, I even like him on that Fox show Human Target), Chloe Grace Moretz (knew she would be something special after her first scene in Kick-Ass) – that is six deep of really good to great actors. I even liked the original TV show. But this whole thing just seems off, like they don’t have the tone. I am scared it will be caught in the middle of comedy and soap opera (which is what the TV show was) and you’ll be sitting in the theater saying “man this movie looks really cool” or “wow, Michelle Pfeiffer is still gorgeous” or “I’ve never seen Helena Bonham Carter play a character normal before, its kind of weird” but you’ll never be saying “this is awesome!”

Where Do We Go Now?
Interest Level: 6
Will I have To Read: Yes
A film that is slightly more comedy than drama about the women of a Lebanese village who try to ease the tensions between the men of the village, half of whom are Muslim and the other half Christian. Here is a little trick for you if you are wondering whether one of these foreign/art house/festival movies is good – look to see if they won Audience Awards. I’m not saying grand prizes and the like aren’t important, but if the movie won the audience award you know it is crowd pleasing or at least accessible and that is not always the case when the “judges” hand out their awards. Where Do We Go Now? has audience awards. A lot of critics and reviewers say it is a little sappy and at times shallow given the subject matter, but no one is saying that it isn’t enjoyable
I Wish
Interest Level: 6
Will I have to read again: sorry, yes
Hirokazu Koreeda, the writer and director of I Wish, also wrote and directed the 2004 art house hit Nobody Knows. It is an apt title because nobody knows how to write for and direct child actors in dramatic roles better than this guy. I Wish is the story of 12 year old Koichi, who has been separated from his brother due to his parents divorce but believe when the bullet may create a miracle when they pass each other for the first time at top speed. It is generally not considered as good as Nobody Knows, but is still getting better than good reviews everywhere it goes.
Girl in Progress
Interest Level: 4
Do I have any idea how good an actress Eva Mendes is: Nope
Eva Mendes as a struggling single mom with a teenage daughter who wants to follow the coming of age stories she reads in school to fast track her way to adulthood. Pantelion Films, this movies distributor, is doing for films aimed at the Latino market what Tyler Perry did for movies aimed at the African American market. They are building their brand and their brand looks to be loyal. Girl in Progress isn’t getting killed by critics the way Perry’s films were (and often are), but like Perry’s films the people behind Girl in Progress don’t really care what the mainstream critics say. As for this movie, like I said above I have no clue if Eva Mendes is a good actress in a dramatic role – I’ve never really seen her in one, particularly not one that has her playing away from her stunning looks. Maybe she will be Halle Berry, playing down on her luck and haggard far better than any would have thought or maybe she will be Heather Locklear in The Perfect Man and fall a bit short.
God Bless America
Interest Level: 6
Is Bobcat Goldthwait really a good director: Yes he is
Bobcats Goldthwait’s “I hate some parts of American culture” dark (and I stress dark) comedy follows a terminally ill man who is on a mission to rid society of its most repellent citizens with the help of a 16-year old female accomplice. Through his characters Bobcat takes aim at anything and everything that annoys him (and a lot of things annoy him). I don’t think this is as good as World’s Greatest Dad (Bobcat’s last movie that starred Robin Williams and is definitely worth watching), but  sitting at home on your couch, when there is nothing else on, this may be worth your while.

Hick
Interest Level: 1
Percentage of people who will find this wrong and offensive: 65% to 70% conservatively
Hick has received a 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes. A 0%! That means they have yet to find a single review that has said anything positive about it. All the reviews aren’t in yet, so who knows if it will stay at a 0%, but man that is impressive. Johnny Mnemonic is the worst movie that I have ever seen and it got 14%. Anyway, if that wasn’t enough to scare you away how about this, its about a 14 year old girl who decides to hitch hike across the country trying to get to Vegas and using her innocent sex appeal as a way to get rides. Enough said? Heck, the trailer will make you feel dirty just watching it (of course it is still here if you want to watch it).
Tonight You’re Mine
Interest Level: 0
Odds of knowing exactly what happens before you start watching: 100%
I’m sure there are those who will like this film, with its bad rom-com premise (two rock stars who hate each other are handcuffed together at a festival they are both performing at and have to spend a whole day together) trying to disguise itself as something a bit edgier, but I can’t generate anything more than total and complete apathy.
The Road
Interest Level: 8 when I’m in the mood, 0 when I’m not
Who is this movie made for: Hardcore horror fans
When I say hardcore horror fans I’m not talking about people who go see SAW or another slasher flick. This is horror. Disturbing, stays with you for days, keeps you awake at night horror. If that is what you are looking for (sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not, hence my interest level) than by all accounts this is the movie for you. If that kind of horror isn’t your cup of tea then skip this.
Bag of Hammers
Interest Level: 0
Again, I’m sure there are people who will find parts of this movie entertaining, I probably would, but nothing about it seems remotely interesting. It stars a bunch of people you’ve seen and looks and feels (and may actually be) a first time writer, first time director kind of a movie (the kind they used to do on Project Green Light) that always feels like your watching a student film. Good luck to all those involved and call me when you get a few more under your belts.
Epilogue
This week is about what you expect from the week after The Avengers. Some indie fare and foreign films that may find a market and get run in the art house circuit (and on VOD). A film aimed at a specific demographic. And the only “big” release… well, I suppose if you looked in the dictionary for counter programming there would be a picture of Tim Burton. My advice, either skip the movies this week or go see The Avengers again.
But hey, what do I know, I’m fat.