Once again, the films surging into the box office this weekend are a mixed bag of genres, for a wide range of audiences. There’s something here whether you like your young girls as assassins or shark attack victims, want a cheeky remake of a beloved comedy, or a comedy that’s pretty much all cheek (and that includes jokes about minotaur penises). Whether or not anyone will show up, especially for the more esoteric fare, remains to be seen.
The biggest movie, at least from a budget point of view, is probably Universal’s expensive R-rated comedy ‘Your Highness‘, starring James Franco and Danny McBride (who also co-wrote the film with his ‘Eastbound & Down’ irregular Ben Best). It’s directed by David Gordon Green, who started out doing thoughtful dramas and has ended up doing big-ass, dumb-ass comedies like this and ‘Pineapple Express‘. (He also has ‘The Sitter’ coming this Christmas.) But ‘Your Highness’ is done right; it’s a brilliant, beautifully photographed comedy of the lowest order. I mean this in the best possible sense. There are moments that are so crass and so outrageous that you will either howl with laugher or roll your eyes with such violent force that you’ll probably need surgery. I highly recommend it. Just be careful of the company you choose.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is ‘Soul Surfer‘, about a young surfer who gets her arm chomped off by a killer shark. I know, I know – that old story. It looks totally awful, even with a somewhat interesting cast that includes Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. (Remember that comeback he was supposed to have?) From what I’ve heard, it’s also very heavy on the Jesus stuff. So sinners, be advised.
If you like your teenage girls whole people and totally bad-ass, then I would steer you towards ‘Hanna‘, which is probably one of my favorite movies of the year thus far. It’s a stylish modern day fairy tale directed by Joe Wright (‘Atonement‘) with a score by electronic music pioneers The Chemical Brothers, and it’s an absolute blast. It’s the kind of cool-for-coolness-sake movie that won’t make you feel bad afterwards for having such a great time. It’s deep, emotionally rich, and totally awesome. (This is to say nothing of the cast, which includes Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana.) You won’t have a better time in a theater all weekend – or maybe all year.
Which brings us to ‘Arthur‘. This looks just dreadful. I was originally supposed to see it, but due to a scheduling snafu, avoided that. I think I dodged a bullet with this one, even with a bunch of new Mark Ronson songs on the soundtrack. Is Arthur even drunk in this one?