Weekend Movies: A Great Time for Oscar Catch-Up

After a loaded holiday weekend, this one seems pretty dismal in comparison. Perhaps you might want to play some last-minute Oscar catch-up instead of seeing any of this week’s mild releases.

My guess is that the allegedly “Based on a True Story”Snitch‘ accurately depicts the truth behind its source material just about as much as ‘Red Tails‘ did. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (no, I will never stop calling him “The Rock,” because he must bear the symbol that marks his embarrassing origins) stars as the owner of a construction company who is forced into a life of PG-13 danger in order to save his dumbass teenage son from going to prison for ten years. In Missouri, all drug charges result in an automatic decade-long prison stint unless the perp rats out another drug dealer. Since Rock, Jr. simply made a stupid mistake and isn’t really involved in the drug scene, he doesn’t have a soul to rat out. So, his dad volunteers to take down a major drug cartel as his proxy. The film co-stars a filthy Barry Pepper, Joe Berenthal (Shane from ‘The Walking Dead‘, who even drops his Shane catchphrases and rubs his buzzed head frequently), Susan Sarandon as a dingbat politician, Benjamin Bratt as the skinny and supposedly scary cartel leader, and Nadine Velazquez (you know, the only reason worth watching ‘Flight‘). As the directorial debut of a stuntman-turned-filmmaker, you should know what you’re getting into.

The other wide release this weekend is a PG-13 horror flick. From the director of ‘Priest‘ and ‘Legion‘ (I hope that you just shuttered a little like I did) comes ‘Dark Skies‘, starring Keri Russell, J.K. Simmons and that little shit from ‘Real Steel‘. Trailers reveal that a struggling family comes to the realization that something is out to get them. TV spots only show birds flying into windows. While ‘Dark Skies’ doesn’t look horrible, it does appear to have the potential to be the next ‘The Box‘.

Aside from those two 2,500-screen openers, only three limited releases debut against Seth McFarlane’s Oscar night. ‘Inescapable‘ stars Alexander Siddig as a Syrian refuge who’s forced to return to the nation that he fled 30 years later when his daughter mysteriously goes missing. The synopsis alone may lead you to believe that this is might be a better sequel to ‘Taken‘ than ‘Taken 2‘ was, but IMDb lists it as a Drama / Mystery / Romance. Joshua “Pacey” Jackson and Marisa Tomei co-star.

When a movie’s trailer repeatedly tells you that it’s based on a controversial book before telling you what it’s about, or naming the never-heard-of author or novel, you should know that whoever cut it hopes to bank on the word “controversial” alone. Such is the case with ‘Bless Me, Ultima‘, the story of a New Mexico town in the 1940s where an old medicine woman is suspected of being a witch and the locals are out to kill her entire family.

Finally, the third limited release is the Indian drama ‘Kai Po Che!‘. Three best friends decide to actually do what all young male friends only talk about doing – go into business together. Their dream is to open an academy that will train the best cricket players the world has ever seen. The book upon which the screenplay is based wasn’t very well received when it was released in 2008.

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