Summer isn’t over yet, so I’m surprised to see only one new wide release this week – especially considering that last weekend had four and this week’s opener is a follow-up a failed 2009 ‘Origins’ story.
I ride the Hate Train when it comes to ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘. What an awful movie. While ‘Origins’ was just that, a prequel to the ‘X-Men’ films, ‘The Wolverine‘ takes place after Brett Ratner’s atrocity, ‘X-Men: The Last Stand‘. And while ‘First Class‘ completely knocked it out the park, ‘The Wolverine’ fails to reach those heights. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that the train sequence is one of the best action scenes in years. Expect something decent, just not great.
The next biggest thing happening in theaters this weekend is the expansion of ‘The Way, Way Back’. The indie coming-of-age story has received enough praise that Fox Searchlight is expanding it to more than 650 screens. Although it’s not technically playing “wide” yet, it’s very likely to be playing somewhere near you.
CBS Films continues its streak of pathetic releases (with the exception of ‘Seven Psychopaths‘) with the ‘The To Do List‘ on 500 or so screens. It’s painfully obvious that the movie is nothing more than an attempt to see if lead actress Aubrey Plaza has what it takes to carry a generic comedy, not unlike Emma Stone’s ‘Easy A‘ or Jay Baruchel’s ‘She’s Out of My League‘. Unfortunately, ‘To Do’ fails in almost every aspect. The blatantly over-used vulgarity is not only unbelievably unfitting for the goodie-goodie central character, but it’s mistaken for humor. Plaza plays an 18-year-old angelic valedictorian who turns into an instant whore just a few hours after graduation. Her goal is to become experienced in all aspects of sex prior to college. Very little actual comedy is written into this screenplay. It’s hard to tell if Plaza is capable of carrying a film based on her efforts here. Her character is just as unfocused as the rest of the movie.
Finally, Woody Allen returns to the U.S. with his latest comedy about upper-class problems, ‘Blue Jasmine‘. Cate Blanchett stars as a snobby uptown girl forced to relocate downtown when she’s robbed of her money and social status in a financial scam. She immediately turns to the only family that she has, the lower-class sister (Sally Hawkins) that she has ignored until now. Sony Pictures Classics is only opening ‘Blue Jasmine’ on six screens this weekend, but you can expect it to expand to larger cities in the next few weeks.