In theaters across the U.S. today are two supposedly action-packed flicks – one which was screened for press members who had to sign a strict embargo, and another that wasn’t screened in my region at all. I’ll allow you to jump to your own conclusion about what those signs point to.
Debuting on nearly 2,900 screens, Kevin Costner continues his career resurgence with ‘3 Days to Kill‘. Written by Luc Besson and directed by McG, a better title for the movie may have been ‘2 Hours to Kill’. I’ve enjoyed plenty of Besson’s flicks, but I can’t say the same for McG’s. Although advertised as a high-intensity spy thriller, it’s really a comedy with sappy heart sprinkled over a few moments of extremely violent action. The screenplay is basically a Mad Lib of Besson’s letdown ‘The Family‘. More screen time is spent on the sub-plot than the incoherent main plot. You just might enjoy ‘3 Days to Kill’ if you liked ‘The Family’ and don’t mind the title being completely irrelevant. (While the phrase “three days to kill” is uttered in the movie, there are more than three days in the period that Costner is supposed to be killing and, typically, he lets his targets go instead of killing them.)
Opening on just 200 screens less than that is Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest movie-to-miss, ‘Pompeii‘. This PG-13 disaster flick has only been screened for limited critics (which definitely does not include us little guys here in Salt Lake City). Jon Snow from ‘Game of Thrones’ stars as a gladiator slave. Emily Browning plays royalty who starts slumming with gladiator trash. Mr. Eko plays a fellow gladiator, but I’m guessing that bad CG effects get more screen time than he does. Do you think that black smoke will take his life in this too? Together, this ashy trio must survive Roman soldiers, earthquakes, tsunamis, lava, fireballs and cynical a-holes like me that trash it without having seen it.
Roadside Attractions is releasing a period piece romance thriller on 288 screens. Based on a SAG Award-winning soap opera writer’s stage play, ‘In Secret‘ stars Elizabeth Olsen as an unhappily married housewife in 1860s Paris. Sexually frustrated by her husband (Draco Malfoy) denying her sex, she takes to his friend (Llewyn Davis). Something scandalous and thrilling lies ahead, but it lost me at “soap opera writer’s stage play,” so I have no desire to find out what that is.
I can only wholeheartedly recommend one release this weekend. For at least the fifth time, anime master Hayao Miyazaki has claimed that he’s retiring after one last movie. His latest supposedly final film, ‘The Wind Rises‘, is getting a 21-screen debut courtesy of Buena Vista. The film tells the imaginative biographical story of Jiro Horikoshi, one of Japan’s finest aviation engineers during World War II. The American-dubbed voice cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jon Krasinski, Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, Mae Whitman, Werner Herzog, Jennifer Grey and William H. Macy. I can’t comment on the American dub, but I can attest to the greatness of the film itself. If this is truly Miyazaki’s final film, it’s a perfect send-off.