Weekend Movies: Fists, Planes and Videogames

This weekend’s three nationwide releases are all about wrecking things. While one is bound to wreck the box office, the other two are simply train wrecks.

The queen mother of new movies this weekend is Disney Animation’s ‘Wreck-It Ralph‘. The film opens on more than 3,700 screens. (That’s nearly 2,000 more than the other two wide releases.) Disney steps it up a notch with ‘Ralph’, which shows us what happens to videogame characters after arcades lock their doors for the night. Much like Woody and Buzz in ‘Toy Story’, once the coast is clear, the characters break out and celebrate a hard day’s work – that is, all except for the in-game villains. Just working a job, the villains aren’t actually the bad guys they play in their games. This has bummed out Ralph, who has never known how it feels to be liked. So, he exits his game and travels to other videogame worlds to prove what kind of guy he really is. No matter the age or gender, ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is the flick to see this weekend.

After 12 years, Robert Zemeckis has finally returned to live-action filmmaking, but the results aren’t pretty. In the dark tale of ‘Flight‘, Denzel Washington plays a selfish alcoholic and cocaine addict who pilots commercial airlines for a living. While both drunk and high, a malfunction causes his plane to fall out of the sky. Despite being impaired, he miraculously crash lands the plane in an unexplained way that only results in a few deaths. While he’s viewed as a hero, it’s obvious that his criminal addictions are about to turn him into a villain during a federal investigation. Don’t expect a movie about a plane crash or a federal investigation; what you really get here is a melodrama about a horrible man who continually and consciously makes awful decisions.

The third wide release is ‘The Man with the Iron Fists‘. Written and directed by The RZA (from the Wu-Tang Clan), this kung-fu-slash-martial-arts flicks stars Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu. Not screened for press, I can’t tell you much more about the film than its brief synopsis: A group of unlikely treasure hunters stumble into the wrong village. One thing I can tell you is that it’s going to tank at the domestic box office.

The most notable indie title this weekend is the horror flick ‘The Bay‘. In this 23-screen release, chicken dung, parasites and radiation mix to create an unbelievable nightmare that wreaks havoc on a small town.

Next up is ‘The Details‘, a supposed comedy starring Tobey Maguire (whatever happened to that guy?), Elizabeth Banks and Laura Linney. The plot synopsis is so bad that it’s no wonder why the movie is only opening on 12 screens. IMDb explains: “When a family of raccoons discover worms living underneath the sod in Jeff and Nealy’s backyard, this pest problem begins a darkly comic and wild chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity and murder.” That’s a great synopsis if you’re trying to get people to not see the movie.

Opening on only two screens is the Sundance flick ‘This Must Be the Place‘, a dramedy about a washed-up rock star (Sean Penn) who sets out to avenge his father, who was humiliated by a Nazi soldier 70 years prior. Now I remember why I passed over ‘This Must Be the Place’ at Sundance. It sounds awful.


  1. EM

    I went to see Wreck-It Ralph in 3D this morning. I wouldn’t call it a great film—and there was a long stretch that made me feel like my teeth were rotting away (they probably are, thanks to Halloween candy)—but I had a good, fun time.

    I don’t recall hearing of The Bay before. Is it supposed to depict Michael’s origin?

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