Weekend Movies: Demons, Puppets and Moonshine – A Dangerous Combination

As a sign of how low studio expectations may be, not a single of this week’s three new wide release movies will hit more than 2,700 screens. Considering that the year’s last successful opening was ‘The Expendables 2’ fourteen days ago, this doesn’t look like it’s shaping up to be a very lucrative weekend at the box office.

The week’s widest release is ‘The Possession‘, a PG-13 horror movie made by an unproven director, written by the duo that gave us ‘Knowing‘ (gag) and produced by Sam Raimi. (What is he thinking?) Deemed a Jewish version of ‘The Exorcist‘, the film stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (the guy who’s been in countless bad movies), Kyra Sedgwick (that lady from the boring TV show) and some random kid as a broken family forced together again after the daughter accidentally releases a demon upon them. Unless Raimi writes and directs, I don’t want to see it. Give me ‘Drag Me to Hell‘, not ‘The Grudge‘.

The second biggest opener is ‘Lawless‘, a Prohibition-era gangster flick from the Aussies who gave us two brilliant films: ‘The Proposition‘ and ‘The Road‘. Unfortunately, ‘Lawless’ isn’t as great as either of those, but it’s still a solid bootlegging drama. Tom Hardy plays a badass who won’t back down against the law (Guy Pearce) when his moonshine racket is at stakes. Shia LaBeouf plays Hardy’s Pony Boy-ish little brother, who must choose whether to get his hands dirty in the family business or stay golden. Yes, LaBeouf plays a greaser – but not the lame-ass greaser he played in that bastardized fourth ‘Indiana Jones‘ movie. Hot damn, that movie sucked ass.

This weekend’s third wide release scares the living hell out of me. First, what’s an Oogielove? Second, where does this show come from? Third, why in the world is the movie showing on more than 2,100 screens? And fourth, since the demographic is apparently around the infant range, why would anyone feel inclined to take a two-year-old to the theater to see it? The most entertaining thing about this entire concept is the fact that the trailer for ‘The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure‘ tries to sell it like a kids’ version of ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’. You’re not having fun unless you’re singing along and interacting. I also crack up when the trailer claims to have brought “so many stars together, like Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes and Jaime Pressly.” Because that list has “stars” written all over it. This is the line-up you’d see ABC throw together for a season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’, not one that you’d actually pay to watch in a feature film.

Indie comedy ‘For a Good Time, Call …‘ hits 23 screens thanks to Focus Features. If you don’t remember my review of this chick-flick comedy from Sundance, the film stars Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller as unlikely roommates who strike up a friendship when they start a run-from-home phone sex hotline.

Little Birds‘ stars Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Leslie Mann and Kate Bosworth. It tells the story of two underage girls who leave their Salton Sea home to follow a trio of boys back to Los Angeles. Of course, something terrible happens along the way. I’m guessing the “R” word because this is a Sundance drama, and that’s what those usually do.

Jessica Biel used nudity as a career-booster, and now that the hype is over, she’s returning to small titles that no one will ever see. In ‘The Tall Man‘, she plays a young widowed mother trying to get her kidnapped son back. Who took the kid? My guess is the Tall Man, duh.

Finally, Magnolia is releasing the Orlando Bloom thriller ‘The Good Doctor‘, in which he plays a doctor with a crush on a female patient. When she begins to recover, out of fear that he’ll never see her again, the doc finds ways to make her ill just so that he can keep her close. How awesome would it be if this was the surprise prequel to ‘The Human Centipede‘? Bloom can sew her up in the end and a bold title card could read: “First Sequence.” With a PG-13 rating, I’m guessing that ‘The Good Doctor’ isn’t nearly as good as my idea.


  1. Shayne Blakeley

    Also Avengers is apparently getting a wide re-release this weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how that pays off considering it’s so soon after its primary run, so near the blu ray release, but also up against such weak competition.

  2. Don’t you mean “The Proposition” not “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”? Nick Cave only did the music for “Assassination” and John Hilcoat wasn’t involved at all.

  3. EM

    None of the new releases interest me; nor does anything else playing at a first-run theater around here. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Tonight I’m attending a screening of Jan Švankmajer’s 2005 film Šílení (Lunacy, though my understanding is that the title is more accurately translated Ravings). This screening is part of a series on Švankmajer’s films, which tend to incorporate varying amounts of unconventional stop-motion and tend to be unconventional generally.

  4. I’m having a hard time thinking of a recent movie that is less appealing than ‘The Possession.’ Maybe that New Year’s Eve movie.

    It also would be difficult to watch ‘the Possession’ without constantly wanting to remind the characters that this why you don’t buy your kids haunted boxes from rummage sales. Isn’t that parenting 101? In some Western countries, the mother and child cannot leave the hospital until being taught or demonstrating some baby basics. Even so, I bet that they don’t even cover the possessive danger of haunted boxes.

  5. cxdx

    the tall man was dreadful and predictable. i got a screener mailed to me last week, wasnt worth the time wasted watching it. i was under the impression it was a d2dvd had no clue it was opening in theaters.

    it was trying so hard to be a commentary on poor families and small towns, but instead it was a paint by the numbers twist ending supposed thriller.

    jodell ferland gives her worst performance ever, moaning and grunting instead of speaking until the very end.

    among the rest of the movies like most people i have no desire to waste my money let alone free tickets on them. lebuff IS NOT A GOOD ACTOR, stop trying to make him an ‘A’ lister.

    i was interested in the possession (bad scary movies are somewhat of a tradition of a ladyfriend and myself.) just because of rami, but then seeing the credentials of the writers not so much anymore.

    im not a baby, babies dont belong in the theaters (go ask the bad parents who brought their babies to tdkr opener in colorado.).

    im surprised for a good time call isnt wider though. it looks cliche and boring but ya never know.

    • I’ve heard the total opposite about The Tall Man, so that one I’m looking forward to seeing, I’ve also heard decent things about The Possession as well, but neither will be a theater visit, that is reserved for Resident Evil and Dredd this month 🙂

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