Movies in Theaters March 30th, 2012
This weekend brings us another CG-heavy tale of gods and monsters (Wrath of the Titans), an ode to the most contact-heavy of contact sports (Goon), a movie about kids being terrorized -- for real (Bully) and a movie about kids being terrorized -- not for real (Intruders).
Was there anyone who saw Clash of the Titans (either in its 2D or its completely-rushed-to-cash-in-on-Avatar 3D version) and thought, "I sure would like a sequel to that!" as the closing credits rolled? Warner Bros. has interpreted the inexplicable box office success of Clash to mean that we want another loud, headache-inducing, non-sensical fantasy flick (what gave them that idea?), so we now have Wrath of the Titans -- a gig that, if nothing else, must pay pretty well, as Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are back as rival sibling deities Zeus and Hades. Taking place ten years after the Clash, Perseus (Sam Worthington, still not quite the movie star we thought he'd be after Avatar) must brave the treacherous underworld to rescue his father Zeus, who's been captured by one of his other sons, Ares, and his brother, Hades (why? Because!), as the ancient, monstrous Titans have been unleashed upon the world of men. However, you wouldn't really know that from the trailer, which is just a collection of random CG mayhem set to Marilyn Manson's cover of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." Does someone at WB think it's still 1998?
The road to redemption (or at least self-actualization) is paved with violence as Seann William Scott channels man-child Adam Sandler in the role of Doug Glatt, a going-nowhere bouncer who finds his true calling when he joins a hockey team, developing a reputation for interrupting (or perhaps enhancing) games with random bouts of fisticuffs. The biggest goofball from American Pie seems to be aging well and looks to be right at home in this bloodstained sports comedy, though we would've pegged him as a contender to star in his pal Kevin Smith's upcoming hockey opus, Hit Somebody; meanwhile, his American Pie pal, Eugene Levy, plays a Eugene Levy-ish doctor and Liev Schreiber gets to have fun (as he often does with his villain roles) as Scott's number-one rival. Should be good for some laughs, though the most fun might come from hearing how many different versions the foley team can come up with for the sound of someone getting punched in the face.
No, this isn't a remake of the Larry Clark movie about a bunch of promiscuous, dangerously bored Florida young 'uns scheming to kill Nick Stahl. This very documentary has been the victim of "bullying," or so Harvey Weinstein would have you believe as he put on quite a show in taking on the mighty MPAA that wanted to give it an R rating (due to the fact that bullies sometimes swear a lot), thus keeping the film from its intended audience (at least in theaters that actually enforce those kinds of things); the film is now being released unrated, allowing the under-17 crowd to witness and hopefully become disgusted by the dire cruelty some of their peers are capable of. The hot-button topic guarantees that Bully will inspire outrage and the shaking of fists, whether it's necessarily "well-made" or not; in fact, this film can get away with calling any and all naysayers "bullies," which the Academy should keep in mind when it comes time to choose the nominees for next year's Best Documentary Feature.
Millennium Entertainment doesn't seem to know quite what to do with Intruders. The first trailer for the oft-delayed horror film focused on Clive Owen's character, a father of a young girl (Ella Purnell) who's being terrorized by a hooded figure that wants to rip her face off (or something). There was a vague mentioning of a little boy in some other part of the world who's experiencing the same terrors, and then it seemed like the whole thing is actually all in Owen's head as he's given stern "Are you crazy?" looks by both Carice van Houten (as his wife) and Kerry Fox (as a doctor). The latest trailer, a good 30 seconds shorter than the first, only hints at the "Dad-might-be-crazy" part of the plot and makes no mention of the supposed parallel story involving the little boy, concentrating more or less strictly on the plight of young Purnell as she tries to come to terms with the fact that there seems to be a monster lurking in the shadows of her own bedroom. What the hell is this movie? Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is skilled genre director, as he proved with 28 Weeks Later, so this reeks of studio tampering; Intruders has probably gone through quite a few different versions in the editing room, and now it's probably time to just purge the mess and hope nobody really notices.