Some of this weekend’s new movie releases have decent appeal, but wouldn’t you rather finally catch up with a nominated film before Sunday’s Oscar party?
The widest release of the weekend is the action thriller ‘Non-Stop‘. In what appears to be ‘Taken’ on a plane, Liam Neeson plays an alcoholic air marshal who’s being taunted by a mysterious killer over the Atlantic. With whiskey in his blood, he must find out who’s killing passengers before they touch down in Europe. While Neeson is fun to watch in badass roles (like when he punched a pack of wolves in ‘The Grey‘), that’s unfortunately not what you’re getting here. ‘Non-Stop’ hits turbulence early, the displeasure of which may leave some moviegoers nauseous. Some will enjoy it, but mainly those who liked the director’s last team-up with Neeson, 2011’s ‘Unknown‘.
Meanwhile, Fox is doing to ‘The Bible’ what Disney did to ‘Planet Earth‘. The studio has taken a selected portion of last year’s many-hours-long TV miniseries [Ed.: That’s the painstakingly historically accurate adaptation of the text, which includes ninjas, a white Jesus, and a Satan who looks exactly like President Obama. -JZ], edited it down to feature length and added some new footage to create ‘Son of God‘. I fell for Disneynature’s trick with ‘Earth‘, but ain’t doing it again for Fox’s ‘Son of God’.
On more than 1,500 screens, Paramount is re-releasing ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’, but this version is R-rated, 20-something minutes longer and claims to have 763 new jokes. I laughed my ass off at the theatrical cut, but do I dare give this alternate version a shot? I remember watching the deleted ‘Wake Up, Ron Burgandy’ subplot from the first ‘Anchorman’ and that was definitely not worth my time.
Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Wind Rises‘ will expand to nearly 500 screens this weekend, giving a lot more people the chance to experience the wondrous masterpiece prior to the Academy Awards ceremony. If it’s playing near you, don’t miss it.
On 300 screens is Russia’s IMAX 3D World War II epic ‘Stalingrad‘. Much like the climax of ‘Saving Private Ryan’, the film follows a group of soldiers who defend a stronghold from the incoming German army. From what I’ve read, a good chunk of time is dedicated to each soldier fawning over a beautiful young local girl.
Will you catch one of these new or expanding flicks this weekend, or will you cram in some more Oscar contenders at the last minute?