Weekend Movies: Whoa, Mama!

Looking at the casts of this week’s new releases, you might think that we’re bound for some great movies. Unfortunately, taking into account that we’re smack-dab in the middle of January, it’s obvious that there must be something wrong with each of them.

The widest release of the weekend is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attempt to return to action movies after a long stint as the governor of California. The upside: ‘The Last Stand‘ was directed by ‘The Good, The Bad and the Weird’ filmmaker Jee-won Kim. The downside: It stars a flabby, 65-year-old Arnold, with Johnny Knoxville as comedic relief. The head of a drug cartel and his henchmen are on the run from the Feds, headed for the Mexican border. The last chance to stop them lies in the hands of the geriatric Schwarzenegger and his small town. Enter at your own risk.

January all-star Marky Mark (Wahlberg) and that horrible singer from ‘Les Miserables’ (Russell Crowe) are the leads in the second widest release, ‘Broken City‘. Walhberg plays a crooked cop seeking redemption by sticking it to the even more corrupt mayor (Crowe). Allen Hughes of ‘Dead Presidents’ fame directs, so it’s probable that ‘Broken City’ will be just as mediocre and forgettable as his other films like ‘The Book of Eli‘ and ‘From Hell‘.

The only title to open this weekend with less than an R rating is the Guillermo del Toro-produced horror flick ‘Mama‘. After being stranded in a dingy cabin in the woods for five years, two little girls are found and placed with their closest surviving relatives: their uncle and his girlfriend (Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain). Little do they know that the girls have brought with them a jealous paranormal mother figure known as Mama. Nobody better show affection to Mama’s girls but Mama. If you’re hoping for something along the lines of ‘The Orphanage‘, be prepared for a major let-down.

Two films open in limited release. The first is a drama about a kid who learns life lessons from his ex-con uncle over the span of one day. ‘LUV‘ stars rapper Common and is definitely not a remake of the 1967 Jack Lemmon / Peter Falk film of the same name. The other title is French drama ‘Hors Satan‘ (translation: ‘Outside Satan’). Set in a small village off the coast of France, a rugged drifter and a woman with a history of abuse begin a strange relationship.

After receiving Oscar nominations in all four acting categories, as well as nods for Best Picture, Director, Editing and Adapted Screenplay, ‘Silver Linings Playbook‘ finally expands to theaters everywhere. The fantastic David O. Russell film jumps from 810 screens to 2,500. Now you really have no excuse for not seeing it.

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