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Weekend Movies: …dary

This weekend’s only wide release is a movie that I’d never even heard of until writing this post. Luckily, the expansion of a more interesting smaller picture accompanies it.

I’m going to judge a book that I haven’t read by not only its cover, but by its author, its editor, its publisher and its subject matter. Could ‘The Legend of Hercules‘ look any worse? Renny Harlin directed and co-wrote this Syfy-looking ’300′ knock-off and cast an emotionally vapid (mostly) no-name actor to serve as its eye-candy lead – a ‘Twilight’ actor, no less. Last year gave us a pair of unconnected White House take-over action movies (‘Olympus Has Fallen’ and ‘White House Down’), and this year gives us two Hercules movies. Following this one, Brett Ratner’s ‘Hercules’ comes out in July. There’s no doubt in my mind that both will be utter garbage, but the question is which will be worse, Harlin’s or Ratner’s? Finding out the answer to that question is just about the only reason to see either one.

Meanwhile, two awards hopefuls are expanding wide this weekend. One I think is worthwhile, but the other I loathe the more I think about it.

First, we have ‘Lone Survivor‘, Peter Berg’s big-screen adaptation of the non-fiction book of the same title. Mark Wahlberg leads this four-man ensemble as Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of a covert mission in the mountains of Afghanistan, whose company was placed in a worst-case-scenario after making a tough moral decision. The title and the opening scene reveal that Wahlberg will be the only character to make it out alive, so I’m not spoiling anything with that statement. Co-stars Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster deliver great performances alongside Wahlberg. While I don’t necessarily find ‘Lone Survivor’ worthy of Oscar consideration, it’s definitely the best modern warfare film since ‘Black Hawk Down’.

The second expansion has received wild praise and loads of critic circle accolades – but that doesn’t stop me from finding it a pretentious, flimsy shitball. Spike Jonze, who disappointed me greatly with ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, does the same here. Joaquin Phoenix leads ‘Her‘ as a melancholy loaner who falls in love with his interactive and artificially intelligent operating system named “Samantha,” voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Expect a boring romance that has chances to break away from the norm, but falls into cliché. In order to enjoy, you must be able to suspend your disbelief that people in the future wouldn’t find it strange that a guy openly admits to dating his OS. The only worthwhile aspect of a Jonze film now is its trailer.

Debuting on 88 screens is a family fantasy flick with several known actors, yet I’ve never heard of it. ‘The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box‘ tells the story of a teenager seeking to know the fate of his missing parents. Michael Sheen plays the guide to help him discover the truth, Sam Neill plays the main villain and Lena Headey plays another villain.

Something called ‘The Wait‘ also debuts this weekend, but I can find very little info on it. No trailer. A vague synopsis, and a few reviews from SXSW. Jena Malone and Chloe Sevigny play sisters whose mother just passed away. Malone gets ready to move on while Sevigny, thanks to a fortune teller, believes that her mother is risen again. Supernatural strangeness ensues.

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