Weekend Movies: Owls vs. Gekko

Take heart, America! A bunch of worthy movies open this weekend. Besides the above-average ‘Wall Street’ sequel, there are mighty owls for the whole family, and a romantic comedy that has a bright, silver, ’80s-pop lining, even if the movie itself is utterly useless. There are also some cracking art house choices if you’re willing to be adventurous and step outside the multiplex for a weekend.

I’ve already been through ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.’ Since everyone’s going to see it anyway, we’ll just shelve that one for now. Bottom line: It’s snappy, high-gloss pop entertainment and you could do a lot worse.

Also opening this weekend from Warner Bros. is Zack Snyder’s first animated movie, the 3-D fantasy epic starring owls – ‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole.’ Other than its clumsy title, this seems like it could be pretty fun. Snyder has an uncanny visual sense, even if his grasp of things like pacing and narrative are a bit lacking. It should serve him well to do a movie that’s designed to look really cool and appeal to the attention span of a 10-year-old boy, since he’s gotten very good at this elsewhere in his career.

On the romantic comedy front, there’s ‘You Again,’ a kind of revenge fantasy/worst case scenario about a girl (Kristen Bell) who learns that her brother is marrying her high school rival (Odette Yustman). In one of those weird twists of fate that seemingly only exist in dopey romantic comedies, the two girls’ parents (played by the heavyweight duo of Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis) were also bitter rivals in high school. There’s a supporting turn by Bette White, so the opening weekend box office gross should topple $100 million. (That’s a joke – sort of). I have a friend who plays in Hall & Oates’ touring band and he tells me that they filmed a few days on the movie. Apparently, “Kiss On My List” is a big plot point or something. If there’s one thing that can get me to see a movie, it’s computer generated owls. If there’s another thing, it’s Hall & Oates.

Thinking smaller, there’s ‘Buried,’ a claustrophobic thriller starring Ryan Reynolds that I will review in depth (pun very much intended) soon. Also opening in limited release is Gaspar Noe’s ‘Enter the Void,’ a trippy, one-of-a-kind experience that’s also probably better fitted for a longer review. Additionally, ‘Howl,’ based on the Allen Ginsberg poem (it’s also a biopic of the author), starring James Franco; and ‘Waiting for Superman,’ a documentary on the current state of America’s educational system by David Guggenheim. That last one’s supposed to be rousing, call-to-arms stuff. If anybody can do it, Guggenheim can. He turned Al Gore’s slideshow about global warming into something that quickens the pace like a suspense picture. I haven’t gotten a chance to see the doc yet, but hopefully will soon. Maybe right after I finish that ‘Buried’ review.

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