It’s always fun to watch niche audience flicks open against each other. This weekend ought to be even more fun because we get four different genres: an R-rated crude comedy, a 3D horror splatterfest, a 3D concert movie, and a women-centric drama about equal rights. Which one will come out the winner, no one knows. But last week’s ‘Rise of Planet of the Apes’ will probably put up a strong fight to hold first too.
Sophomore feature film director Ruben Fleischer (‘Zombieland‘) takes another stab at genre-blending comedy with ‘30 Minutes or Less‘, a comedic heist film where a pizza delivery guy is kidnapped and has a bomb strapped to his chest that will explode unless he robs a bank.
Fleischer once again employs Jesse Eisenberg as the lead, this time accompanied by Aziz Ansari as the best friend who must act as his accomplice. Danny McBride and Nick Swardson play the hillbilly, white trash idiot kidnappers. Each of the three co-stars – Ansari, McBride and Swardson – brings his own unique brand of humor to this wittily scripted film. Perfectly short and sweet, ’30 Minutes or Less’ has an 83-minute runtime full of more laughs than most 120-minute comedies.
No, 2009’s ‘The Final Destination‘ was not the last of the ‘Final Destination‘ series. As the fourth entry, with the word “The” placed before the franchise’s name, viewers might have assumed that ‘The Final Destination’ would have been the end of the line – but no, now there’s ‘Final Destination 5‘.
Yes, ‘Final Destination’ movies are filled with creative, gory and gruesome deaths, but they aren’t nasty like “torture porn” films ‘Hostel‘ or ‘Saw‘. The ‘Final Destination’ series has never taken itself seriously. It’s not out to shock and disturb you. It’s here to make you squirm and laugh at how ridiculous it can be. Do we really need a fifth? Probably not. But you have to admit that the bridge collapse scene looks like a lot of fun, especially when Champ Kind has a pot of boiling tar splashed on his face.
Not screened for press in my region, I have yet to see ‘FD5’ and cannot vouch for it – but I’m surprised to see it currently sitting at 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. That rating is especially high considering ‘FD4’ landed a 29%. Needless to say, I’ll be seeing it this weekend.
Also now playing is the ensemble flick ‘The Help‘, which actually opened on Wednesday. Starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain, this female empowerment film tells the story a white girl (Stone) living in the South during the beginnings of the civil rights movement, who finds a black maid (Davis) willing to speak out against segregation and their cruel white employers for a book she’s writing.
Based on a best-selling novel, ‘The Help’ seems to focus too much on adapting everything from the book and leaving no plot-point or character behind. The result is an excessively long, over-indulgent film that lacks focus and heart. There are far too many characters, insignificant story lines and emotionally manipulative sequences to add any true value. If you want to watch a great women-centric film that deals with racism, watch ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ instead. After all, ‘The Help’ steals half of its story and thunder from ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ anyway.
The last of the four big films opening this weekend is ‘Glee: The 3D Concert Movie‘. Being one who is completely annoyed by the poor, clichéd writing of the Fox series, as well as noisy remakes of hit songs, I couldn’t bring myself to attend the screening. I opted for an early press screening of ’50/50’ instead (and am very glad that I did).
How can I justify failing my critical responsibility to see everything that gets released? Because I hate the television show ‘Glee‘, I can already tell you that I’d hate ‘The 3D Concert Movie’ even more. The only things that could make ‘Glee’ even more annoying to me would be watching and listening to it for 100 minutes straight and seeing it in 3D. The movie does both. ‘Glee’ + 3D + 100 minutes = suicide. It’s a triple-threat to my manhood and integrity. While I understand how it could be a guilty pleasure for some, it most definitely is not for me.
My critic friends who couldn’t follow my justification informed me that my prediction of ‘The 3D Concert Movie’ is right. If you hate ‘Glee’, you’ll hate the movie. If you love ‘Glee’, you’ll love every minute of it.