Last weekend, three major releases couldn’t dethrone returning champs ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. This weekend, three more will battle for the top of the box office. We’ll see if any of them has better luck.
Almost nine-and-a-half years ago, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller (and Quentin Tarantino) put out a brilliant comic book movie unlike any that had been made before: ‘Sin City‘. Miller tried to follow suit all by himself with ‘The Spirit’, but failed horribly. (I genuinely don’t know a single non-critic person who saw that movie.) Now, Rodriguez and Miller are back at it with ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘. As someone who loves and owns all of the ‘Sin City’ graphic novels, I found the original film completely satisfying, creative and original. I yearned for more initially, but now too much time has passed. Both filmmakers have collectively spewed out a vile batch of dreck in the meantime, so I’m extremely leery about ‘A Dame to Kill For’. (Not to mention that this sequel’s release date was bumped back more than ten months.) As worried as I am about this, I still plan to see the movie this weekend to find out if it’s a sequel to kill for, or a sequel to simply bury.
Next we have a new true-story sports drama starring Jim Caviezel, Michael Chiklis and Laura Dern. ‘When the Game Stands Tall‘ tells the inspirational story of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur, who taught a losing team how to win. While this high-level plot synopsis may sound as generic as every other sports drama, the statistic that makes this story worth paying attention to is undeniably awesome. The high school team went on to have a 151-game winning streak. To me, the alone makes ‘When the Game Stands Tall’ worth checking out.
The final big release of the weekend is the teen melodrama ‘If I Stay‘. This Nicholas Sparks copycat has a decent start, but quickly turns unabashedly sappy and painful. Chloe Grace Moritz stars as a teenage girl who, while taking a snow-day vacation with her family, gets into a horrible car wreck that leaves her having an out-of-body experience while doctors keep her comatose body alive. The narrative bounces back and forth from ghostly hospital moments to her predictable and overly dramatic backstory romance with an up-and-coming Portland rock star. Get ready for cheese and manipulation in a movie that oddly promotes teenage sex and underage drinking.
On the indie front, the Sundance documentary ‘To Be Takei‘ debuts on an undisclosed number of screens. The doc takes a look at George Takei’s career, his personal life, his entertaining side as an internet figure (Have you followed his Facebook posts? Hilarious!) and his life as an activist.