Weekend Movies: The Way, WABAC

Is anyone else burned out by franchises? I am. Nearly every weekend between now and the end of summer contains a sequel or a franchise flick. With two more opening this weekend, I would pay good money for someone to make this trend stop.

The widest release of the weekend has me laughing because it’s based on a franchise so old that I, 33-year-old Luke Hickman, have absolutely no idea what it is. ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ was already in the history books when I was a kid, so grandparents may be the only demographic excited to share ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman‘ with the children of today. In the DreamWorks Animation picture, an intelligent dog takes his adopted human child through time (a la ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure‘) in a machine called the WABAC (pronounced as “way back”). The boy throws off the space-time continuum when he and a classmate take a joyride in the WABAC without Mr. Peabody’s permission. Kids are bound to love the movie and, although the first half is dreadfully slow and unfunny, adults will laugh a lot during the second half too.

Even though ‘Peabody’ opens on 500 more screens, the sequel/prequel ‘300: Rise of an Empire‘ is expected to win the weekend. However, after seeing this utter waste of time, I simply don’t believe that it can walk out ahead of a 3D kids’ flick. Sure, Zack Snyder’s ‘300’ debuted far above expectations back in 2006 (its opening weekend set a March record with $70.9 million), but the trailers for ‘Rise of an Empire’ look more like a lame direct-to-video spinoff than a huge studio sequel. Since the majority of characters died before the closing credits of the first picture, the follow-up features an almost entirely new cast. The majority of the events take place before those of ‘300’, while a few take place after. Some dude that you’ve never heard of plays the one-note lead, Themistocles, who’s hellbent on stopping Xerxes’ navy from making landfall. Unfortunately, ‘Rise of an Empire’ follows the most useless character. Eva Green’s wickedly awesome performance as Artemisia, the villainous Greek traitor leading Xerxes’ navy, would have made a much more satisfying central character. Get ready for an overuse of slo-mo and awful CG.

Arriving with wonderful reviews, those looking to steer clear of mainstream cinema will want to rush out to the four-screen debut of Wes Anderson’s latest picture, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘. Anderson’s quirky hijinks are back in this comedy about a concierge and lobby boy in a renowned hotel. His casts keep getting larger. This one includes Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson and Fisher Stevens.

Meanwhile, Magnolia is opening a new indie thriller called ‘Grand Piano‘. The film stars Elijah Wood as a concert pianist who takes stage and learns that a crazed sniper (John Cusack) will open fire if he doesn’t play along with the rules. Sounds exciting!

1 comment

  1. Spot on…taking the grandkid this weekend to see Peabody & Sherman. The heck with her. I want to see it. Really looking forward to ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’.

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