During this odd, very busy weekend, Ryan Reynolds and Mary-Louise Parker each have two movies opening wide against one another. For all the die-hard Reynolds and Parker fans out there, a major conundrum is presented: Which movie do you see? If the two actually have die-hard fans, they might not anymore after seeing this weekend’s releases.
While the widest release of the weekend already has a two-day head start on the other three major openers, I can’t see this DreamWorks/Fox co-production having anything on the comparable Pixar title (‘Cars‘). Instead of living and talking race cars speeding around a track, in ‘Turbo‘ we get a talking and racing snail. That’s right, a snail is trying to lure your children into 3,500 2D and 3D screens across the nation. Imagine ‘Cars’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ in one shiny CG package. Like Ricky Bobby, a little snail voiced by Ryan Reynolds just wants to go fast. After getting sucked into a race car’s engine and soaking up a Nitrous Oxide ooze, he turns into the little snail who could. As dumb as it may sound, considering how dumb the other movies this weekend are, ‘Turbo’ might be the least painful.
The next big release is Summit’s action comedy sequel ‘RED 2‘. Honestly, I loathed the original ‘RED‘ so much that I’ve stricken it from my mental records. The only memory that has stayed with me is the non-stop and completely inappropriate ‘Seinfeld’-esque score. Because of my intentional selective amnesia, I can’ remember if Morgan Freeman died in it or not, but either way, that doesn’t matter because he’s the only main cast member who didn’t return for ‘RED 2’. (Karl Urban, whose fate I can’t remember either, is also absent, but he wasn’t really one of the leads.) Just like ‘Fast & Furious 6′, this sequel steers the brain-cell-killing franchise in an international direction to conjure up some overseas dough. Bruce Willis returns as the leader of the geriatric pack. Mary-Louise Parker as his girlfriend with an IQ of 7. Also back are John Malkovich as an LSD-damaged paranoid killer and Helen Mirren as a gross old female mix of James Bond and Hannibal Lecter. Joining the soft-focus cast are Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins, as well as Willis’ ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ co-star Byung-hun Lee. Warning: ‘RED 2’ may be even more stupid than ‘RED’, but I can’t say for sure due to my amnesia.
Ryan Reynolds and Mary-Louise Parker appear together in this weekend’s third wide release, ‘R.I.P.D.‘. After seeing this and ‘RED 2’ within 48 hours of one another, I can’t decide which is worse because they’re both nearly intolerable. Reynold’s character is cop who made a bad decision that’s going to cost him his afterlife – that is, unless he serves a term as a member of the Rest in Peace Department. After getting killed during a raid, instead of going to judgment, he’s sent to R.I.P.D. headquarters, where he’s given the option to suffer the eternal consequence of his mistake or to become a spiritual police officer and wrangle up the rogue souls that are hiding on Earth from God’s judgment. Imagine ‘Men in Black‘ (only with horrendous CG) meets ‘Ghostbusters‘ (only without the comedy). Jeff Bridges co-stars as a dead Rooster Cogburn from ‘True Grit‘ alongside Kevin Bacon.
The final wide release is ‘The Conjuring‘, the not-so-micro-budget horror film that re-teams director James Wan with his ‘Insidious‘ lead Patrick Wilson. Wilson and Vera Farmiga play a couple of ghost hunters who encounter their most dangerous job yet in a freaky old farmhouse. Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor co-star. Word of mouth has it that the first two thirds are legitimately frightening, but that the final act completely falls apart.
The week’s new release that I’m most excited about is only getting a limited opening. Damn the negative buzz from Cannes, I’m dying to see Nicolas Winding Refn’s first film since ‘Drive‘, called ‘Only God Forgives‘. Revolving around a twisted family dynamic that’s reminiscent of ‘Stoker‘, Ryan Gosling is charged by his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) to find and kill the Bangkok man responsible for his brother’s death. The trailer alone gets me giddy for the potential quick burst of hyper-violence. “Wanna fight?“