I feel ripped off. What’s the Fourth of July holiday with an exciting new blockbuster? ‘Spider-Man’ movies have often filled the slot, but I imagine that Sony gave ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ an early May launch this year in order to steer clear of the latest ‘Transformers’. Whatever the cause, summer’s biggest holiday is upon us and, despite a handful of new movies opening, none of them are major releases.
Opening widest is Melissa McCarthy’s new R-rated comedy ‘Tammy‘. Up until a week ago, I knew nothing about this movie. The trailers only showed McCarthy playing her usual schtick as a vulgar and rude character who falls victim to repetitive lowbrow humor directed towards her weight and assumed eating habits. Last week, TV spots were unrolled that revealed the movie’s plot: Down-and-out Tammy goes on a road trip with her alcoholic grandma (played by Susan Sarandon). It’s a good thing that card wasn’t revealed earlier because nobody would care about ‘Tammy’ otherwise. Co-written and directed by McCarthy’s real-life husband Ben Falcone (who also plays a small), ‘Tammy’ may start off strong, but it quickly crashes and burns.
Next is the ‘Goonies’/’E.T.’/’Super 8’ knock-off that Disney doesn’t want to admit it made, ‘Earth to Echo‘. That’s right – don’t let the Relativity Media distribution deal fool you. ‘Echo’ was made by Disney, which has since stripped it of the company name and stuck Relativity with the doomed task of distributing the film. The original studio has now washed its hands of this boring kids’ movie about three pals whose neighborhood is being bought-out and demolished by an evil corporation in order to make way for “progress.” When the prepubescent trio meets a small owl-like robotic alien, they embark on their final adventure together to help the little guy phone home. One item of note is that ‘Earth to Echo’ is a Found-Footage movie. If you thought that the Found-Footage genre was annoying before, wait until you see it from the perspective of a-hole kids holding the cameras. The shaky-cam style has never made me physically sick before, but ‘Echo’ managed to make me slightly nauseous with a small headache.
The final wide release is a little horror movie with potential. ‘Deliver Us from Evil‘ is a demonic possession flick disguised as a detective crime thriller. The idea of mixing paranormal horror with a police procedural is enticing. Eric Bana leads the cast, which also includes Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn and Joel McHale.
Expanding wide to more than 1,000 screens is another political “documentary” from Dinesh D’Souza, the guy who gave us ‘2016: Obama’s America’ and has since been convicted of making illegal campaign contributions. ‘America‘ tells the hypothetical story of what would have happened had the United States lost the Revolutionary War and never come to existence. I don’t know how you’d make a documentary based on that topic feature-length, but D’Souza believes he has.
Of course, ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ is still playing and will easily be the #1 movie over the holiday weekend, but be sure to check your local listings because ‘Snowpiercer’ is expanding to more theaters. An exact theater count has not been announced, but if it’s playing in my region (Salt Lake City), then there’s a good chance that it’s playing in a region near you.