Weekend Movies: Back in 2 and 2

Of the two movies with “2”s in their titles opening this week, you’ve got to be out of your smurfing mind to choose the blue pill.

Sadly, the widest debut (by more than 1,000 screens) is ‘The Smurfs 2‘. I cannot believe that 2011’s ‘Smurfs‘ made over $500 million worldwide. It’s no wonder that Sony has quickly cranked out a sequel. The Smurfs are the new Chipmunks. The question is: How long will it be before the franchise dies? In ‘Smurfs 2’, Gargamel learns that Smurette is capable of creating new Smurfs (she’s a female, so wouldn’t he have known that all along?) so he kidnaps her. Following the current franchise trend, ‘Smurfs 2’ is set in foreign countries in an effort to expand global appeal. If you go see it this weekend, shame on you.

The Icelandic director of ‘Contraband‘ has reteamed with Marky Mark and thrown Denzel Washington into the mix with ‘2 Guns‘. If you’re hoping to see Wahlberg and Washington restore their images, know that ‘2 Guns’ is better than each of their last awful outings (‘Pain & Gain’ and ‘Flight‘), but still not great. The two play criminal partners who decide to bust the chops of their Mexican cartel drug supplier (Edward James Olmos) by robbing his bordertown bank. In the process, they piss off several groups of the wrong people (including James Marsden, Fred Ward and Bill Paxton) and learn about one another’s secrets. Imagine ‘Enemy of State‘, only not made by a well-established director (Tony Scott) who knows how to make a movie of this style and content.

The screenwriting duo behind ‘(500) Days of Summer‘ has made another relationship drama that killed it at Sundance this year and is finally getting a limited theatrical release. From the acclaimed director of ‘Smashed‘, ‘The Spectacular Now‘ stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley as a pair of unlikely high school students who immediately make a deep connection upon meeting. I’m jealous of anyone who lives near one of the four screens playing the movie this weekend, as it appears to be yet another fantastic 2013 coming-of-age film.
Lindsay Lohan returns to the big screen with Bret Easton Ellis’s latest grimy story, ‘The Canyons‘. As expected, the tale dives into the dirty underbelly of a supposedly realistic Hollywood from the past. It’s fair to expect pulpy sleaze and the need for a post-screening shower to wash it all away.

Even though there’s high likelihood that it will suffer from a limited budget, I’m interested in sci-fi thriller ‘Europa Report‘. Starring Sharlto Copley (who also appears in next week’s ‘Elysium’), Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Michael Nyqvst, the film follows an international team of astronauts en route to Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Of course, things start to go wrong and tension rises.

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