This isn’t an incredibly illustrious week to kick off my Weekend Movie feature, but what the hey. There are a couple of gems out there.
As well as a new Jennifer Lopez movie.
The week’s highest profile release is Warner Bros.’ mid-budget action pic ‘The Losers’, a fast-and-loose adaptation of the Vertigo comic book by Andy Diggle and Jock. Adapted by Peter Berg (‘The Rundown’, ‘Friday Night Lights’) and Jamie Vanderbilt (‘Zodiac’) and directed by Sylvain White (‘Stomp the Yard’) and stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Columbus Short, and Chris Evans (among others) as a bunch of double-crossed army guys (I think) who are out for revenge. Yes, that old song. Zoe Saldana, the future Mrs. Drew Taylor, plays a morally nebulous ally, and Jason Patric, in a surprisingly endearing return to glory, plays the smug villain Max.
The movie, which currently has a tepid Metacritic score of 44, isn’t exactly the most coherent thing you’re ever likely to see, and suffers from an extreme lack of character, which is a shame because all the actors seem to be having a really good time and possess genuine chemistry with one another. For a lot of the movie you’re confused as to who The Losers actually are. They were just some army squad? Or were they “the best” army squad? And who is Max? Is he a rogue CIA baddie or an official CIA baddie? (Those questions in regards to Max are essential to any satirical edge the movie has. At one point Max, who has a scarred hand, again, for unknown reasons, gets his American flag lapel pin splashed with blood. I felt like shouting “NOW EXPLORE THAT!” at the screen.)
‘The Losers’ is about as much fun as ‘Kick-Ass’, without all the cursing and bloodletting (‘Losers’ keeps it decidedly PG-13 while racking up an even higher body count than ‘Kick-Ass’). The two comic book adaptations do share problems, like an over reliance on pop music to serve as the editorial backbone of the movie, and trying desperately to ground the movie in the “real world” while maintaining cartoonish elements (in ‘The Losers’ it’s in the form of a bomb that can make an island disappear, Frozen Donkey Wheel-style). Still, I’d recommend ‘The Losers’. It’s a fun Saturday night out. You just probably won’t remember it on Sunday.
Also opening is ‘Oceans’, Disneynature’s follow up to last year’s reasonably popular ‘Earth’. Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, this waterlogged documentary by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud has the highest Metacritic rating of any wide release film this week (75). I haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet but it should prove to be a sound, family friendly choice for this post-Earth Day weekend.
And then there’s ‘The Back-Up Plan’, the latest abomination from Jennifer Lopez. I haven’t seen it, I don’t know much about it, and I’d like to keep it that way. It involves her dating men and getting pregnant (not necessarily in that order) and looks so painfully unfunny.
Opening in extremely limited release, and worth the shout out, is ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Weird’, a crazy Korean Western by director Kim Ji-woon. It’s a weird-ass movie, for sure, but one seeking out; a breathless historical western that features some really wonderful action set pieces. It’s sort of hard to describe. Just find where it’s playing and go. You won’t regret it.