Weekend Movies: Brass Monkey, That Funky Monkey

A few potentially great movies hit the big screen this weekend. Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the ones getting wide releases.

The biggest title this weekend is Sony’s uncalled-for sequel ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2‘. Kevin James returns to the only role he knows how to play – a bumbling idiot with great intentions who falls victim to fat jokes just as often as he falls down. As a Segway-riding security guard, he’s bound to mistake identities and accidentally foil a bad guy’s scheme – this time in Las Vegas. Get ready for the cinematic equivalent of a McDonald’s value burger.

The trend of Jason Blum-produced micro-budget horror movies continues with ‘Unfriended‘. Originally made to air on MTV, the scary cyber flick unfolds entirely online as a group of friends are haunted by the ghost of their dead friend while in an internet chat room. (I thought chat rooms died with AOL. No?) Considering that MTV isn’t exactly known for the quality of its original content, even as a fan of creative scary movies, I caution you to enter at your own risk.

In time for Earth Day comes DisneyNature’s latest wildlife documentary. This year, we get ‘Monkey Kingdom‘. Made by a pair of the ‘Planet Earth‘ folks and narrated by Tina Fey, it follows a newborn monkey and its mother as they fight for survival amongst the other creatures around them in South Asia. DisneyNature’s flicks also don’t have a strong track record. Even if you’re looking forward to Disney donating a percentage of your ticket price to a nature charity, beware.

Now let’s get to the movies with some positive buzz.

Opening on 831 screens is the Sundance drama ‘True Story‘. You may be used to seeing James Franco and Jonah Hill fart around together on screen, but it’s time to see them (supposedly) act their asses off. Based on a (you guessed it) true story, Franco plays a most-wanted fugitive who is believed to have murdered his entire family. After getting arrested and awaiting trial, he forms a bond with the former journalist (Hill) whose identity he had stolen prior to getting caught. Said to be full of great performances and twists and turns, this Sundance hit has my attention.

Tom Hardy reunites with a few previous co-stars (Noomi Rapace, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman) in ‘Child 44‘. Based on a popular book series and from the director of the entertaining action flick ‘Safe House‘ comes a dark investigation drama about a mysterious series of child deaths in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. A suspicious military policeman (Hardy) decides to take a closer look at the deaths and, with the help of his wife, uncovers a nasty truth. This gritty tale sounds like equal parts ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and ‘Gone Baby Gone’. Lionsgate is only premiering ‘Child 44’ on 510 screens, so its opening weekend performance will determine if/how/when it expands wide.


  1. EM

    I’m still awaiting the local arrival of such fare as Ex Machina and What We Do in the Shadows. It could be quite a wait.

    Oh, well. On Monday there’s an arthouse showing of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (And no, I’m not saying it took this long to finally arrive.)

    • EM

      It turns out that the wait for one of those isn’t so bad. Today I discovered that that same arthouse is hosting a free preview of Ex Machina Sunday night. I’ve secured tickets for myself and a friend.

      • EM

        Ex Machina turned out to be solid, a thought-provoking psychological thriller…fun and occasionally funny. The crowd seemed to have a good time.

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