Movies in Theaters on June 17, 2011
Summer 2011 just won't quit! This weekend brings Green Lantern, Mr. Popper's Penguins and The Art of Getting By to theaters -- another eclectic mix luring you into the air conditioning and comfortable seating (if you're lucky). Unfortunately, all three of these offerings are looking to be a little iffy -- you might be better off seeing Super 8 or X-Men: First Class again. Let's take a look before you shell out that hard-earned green -- and speaking of green...
"Green Lantern's LIGHT!" Not even the creators of one of DC's strangest characters and mythologies really completely understand everything about Green Lantern, so expect this attempt at adapting it for big-budget summer movie treatment to be more than a little confusing -- an alien with the voice of Geoffrey Rush can only go so far with the explanatory monologues before you just throw in the towel and exclaim, "Whee!!" It'll definitely have a lot of audio-visual ka-pow, though, with rousing CGI battles featuring Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) taking on everything from disgruntled airline workers to a dark slimy fog bank with an angry demon face that calls itself Parallax (why not?). The presence of the gorgeous Blake Lively has been downplayed considerably in recent weeks, which makes one think that maybe her agents don't want the world to know that Leonardo DiCaprio's new girlfriend is involved with such a bizarre and probably half-successful (at best) creation. Ah well -- again, there will be eye candy aplenty, and that Ryan Reynolds fella can be pretty charming when he wants to be, in green or any damn color he feels like.
Don't blame Jim Carrey for the fact that his career has been reduced to a series of pretty lame cop-out cash-ins. He gave us a chance to accept him as an actor of considerable range. He did The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I Love You Phillip Morris and even that weirdo The Number 23 thing. And we didn't care. Nor did the Hollywood types that give out awards. So what's a man to do? Go back to making movies where he can make a quick $20 million by making his butt talk (ah, Ace Ventura), or the equivalent thereof. As ol' Jim approaches 50, he seems content to stay rich and lazy by making dumb comedies… and boy, does Mr. Popper's Penguins look frickin' dumb. The trailer starts horribly and proceeds to just get worse with cringe-inducing sequences of penguin antics and estranged children finally liking Dad again because he has a bunch of damn antics-prone penguins in his apartment -- and just when you think it might get out before completely hitting rock bottom, it closes with Jim and his bird pals dancing to "Ice Ice Baby." Grin and mug away, Mr. Carrey. We know we asked for this movie -- and that, yeah, we kind of deserve it.
Oh, the plight of middle class New York City white kids! The Art of Getting By follows a rebellious and (if the trailer is any indication) impossibly "witty" teenage artist/slacker (Freddie Highmore, all grown up from Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) who finds himself drawn (Ha! We can be "witty" too!) to a cute girl-next-door type (Emma Roberts); together they romp around Manhattan -- cutting class, eating noodles, trading philosophies and struggling with whether they're going to do it or not. This looks like one of those movies that mistakes random eccentricity for true "wit," though it'll be interesting to see whether Highmore can make the transition from cute kid to brooding teenager (it ain't easy for some of these young actor-types, ya know); Stone is one to watch, too, having handled herself nicely after being handed a good chunk of Scream 4's drama (and screams!). Anyway, if these two end up having chemistry and a good rapport and all that jazz, they might be able to turn this whole thing around and deliver an easy, breezy summer treat... but that's probably a pretty big "might."