Weekend Movies: Counter-Programming

What kind of movies think they can go head-to-head with the Caped Crusader? Little ones – little movies that aren’t even close to playing on the same field as ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. This week, we have an R-rated comedy, a dance flick and a few awesome-sounding strange indie titles.

With family in town and absolutely no desire to see it, this week I threw Aaron under the bus and asked him to review ‘The Watch‘ in my stead. Starring Ben Stiller as the same doofus character he always plays, rambler Vince Vaughn rambling it up, a swelling Jonah Hill and some no-name dude, you would never assume that ‘The Watch’ was an alien invasion movie. Not a single television spot has suggested that idea. For me, no comedy has looked less funny than this one since ‘That’s My Boy’.

Also in theaters is the fourth movie in the ‘Step Up’ franchise, this one titled ‘Step Up Revolution‘. As you’d expect from this cheap title, it doesn’t star a single familiar face. It does, however, feature a familiar story: An out-of-towner moves to Miami with aspirations of making big in the dance world. Gag me.

Fox Searchlight’s latest fantastical romantic comedy, ‘Ruby Sparks‘, begins its platform release this week, opening small then expanding wide(r). The film re-teams the ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ filmmaking duo with Paul Dano, who plays a down-and-out writer who creates his dream girl as a fictional character and forces her into his reality. The make-believe girl is played by Dano’s real life girlfriend Zoe Kazan.

As great as ‘Ruby’ sounds, the indie release of the week that I’m dying to see is the gritty NC-17 thriller ‘Killer Joe‘. Emile Hirsch plays a young man who finds himself in over his head financially. He hires a contract killer to murder his mother so that he can solve his problems through her inheritance. Directed by William Friedkin and co-starring Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple, Thomas Hayden Church and Gina Gershon, word-of-mouth on the movie is very good, but early reviews all cite its hyperviolence and bleakness.

The most-buzzed documentary at this year’s Sundance film festival opens on a few screens this weekend. ‘Searching for Sugar Man‘ follows two African music-lovers on a journey to discover what happened to their favorite rock musician from the ’70s after he abruptly disappeared. But that’s not the only Sundance flick finally opening for the public. The documentary ‘Big Boys Gone Bananas!‘ tells the story of the filmmaker whose 2009 documentary about the allegedly heinous Dole corporation was yanked from the Los Angeles Film Festival due to the fruit and veggie company’s application of pressure.


  1. Alex

    Anybody else think that parody of neighborhood watches and all of the paranoia associated with them sounds like a pretty good idea? Adding in aliens just reeks of studio meddling.

      • Alex

        I actually haven’t seen Attach The Block yet. I had thought that The Watch was a sort of comedic version of “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” from Twilight Zone.

        Now I feel dirty just mentioning the two in the same sentence.

    • EM

      I’m sure a Chaplin or a Tati or 3–4 Marxes could have done something great with the concept. These guys, not so much.

  2. Jason

    I’m taking “the one who must be obeyed” to see Step Up Revolution. She watches So You Think You Can Dance and is psyched, psyched I tell you, that some of the former contestants are in the movie.

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