Another great week of releases. Tell the studios, "Thank you," kids. We've got a surprise blockbuster remake, a disappointing remake, and two indie sci-fi films that you have been waiting to be released on DVD, whether you know it or not. We'd better get back, because it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night... mostly.
The Karate Kid - I know, I was just like you when I heard that they were remaking The Karate Kid with Will Smith's son. "Isn't that kid 8 years old? How are you going to have him beat up by a bunch of blond haired dudes in skeleton outfits and not make it look like a hate crime?" Then they move the location out of the US and base it in China? I figured it would get enough kids into the theater to make its budget back and that's about it. $176 million US later, Jaden Smith is now a very bankable 12 year old box office draw with a father who has shown the ability to pick scripts that become franchises. I guarantee Jackie Chan, who plays Smith's mentor Mr. Han in the film, has bumped the Smith's to the top of his Christmas card list.
A Nightmare on Elm Street - Now, let's take a look at the polar opposite of The Karate Kid. Almost everyone had high hopes for this remake. First, you had the hiring of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy, which was the number one choice on almost everyone's dream casting sheet. Next, you had the fact that this was being released after the reboot of the Friday the 13th franchise, which turned out to be more fun than could have reasonably been hoped for. Something somewhere went wrong and the entire thing came off lifeless. When it was released, it was almost like everyone just looked at the ads and gave a collective, "Meh." It brought in a respectable $60 million at the box office, but the franchise that everyone was hoping for had seemingly arrived DOA. As so often happens in these types of situations, what may end up giving Nightmare a long life on DVD is one of the supporting cast members. Rooney Mara, who basically plays the girl destined to survive the film, is being buzzed about online right now for her performance in The Social Network and will soon be playing Lisbeth Salander in the American remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Her name on the front cover of the DVD may sell a few extra copies of this years down the line, once it has reached its final destination...the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. Check out the trailer here.
Splice - Pick of the week! Man, this was one of those movies that looked great, seemed to come out at just the right time, and no one cared. Talk about throwing a party and no one showing up. Produced by Guillermo del Toro and brought in at $30 million, it only took home $17 at the box office, once again proving that Adrien Brody's name on the poster doesn't equal blockbuster. The story revolves around Elsa (Sarah Polley) and Clive (Brody), scientists who embark on a dangerous experiment: splicing together human and animal DNA to create a new organism. Naming the creature that results from the experiment "Dren", the scientists soon form a bond with it- in some very unusual ways. Bloody and disturbing (in more ways than one), this deserves your attention just for casting Polley in something other than the same old depressing indie drama she's always in. Watch the trailer here, then go watch the film.
The Human Centipede - Ladies and gents, we now live in a world where The Human Centipede is advertised for sale in the Best Buy and Target circulars. Think on that for a sec. When you first heard of this movie, you wondered how on Earth a theater would ever be allowed to show it. Today you will be able to stroll into Wal-Mart and purchase your very own copy. Could this be the Christmas gift of the year? Maybe! For those of you living under a rock (or not on the 'net 24/7), Centipede is the story of a mad German doctor who, with the uncooperative help of two American girls and a Japanese man, goes to work on his life long dream of building a human centipede by connecting humans via their gastric systems. Try to finish dinner and put the kids to bed before popping this one in, folks. Watch the trailer, and try not to giggle nervously through all the bad acting.