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With February quickly upon us, here’s my take on what’s going to be playing and what’s worth the watching and what will we want to wretch watching. (/wr/ still counts!)

Feb. 4


ABSTRACT: A group of explorers with competing egos get trapped in a massive cave while a storm causes it to flood.

BACKSTAGE: The movie claims to be “inspired by a real event”. Gotta love that word “inspire”. Other great moments in film inspiration include Freddy Krueger being inspired by a series of unexplained sleep deaths and the Millenium Falcon being inspired by a cheeseburger. Then, we’ve got “Executive Producer James Cameron” assuring us that tons and tons of money were thrown at this bad boy with absolutely not regard for artistic merit. And, of course, it’s in 3D, so adding to the sensational story is the sensation of really uncomfortable glasses. Awesome. On the other hand, we’ve got Australia’s finest turning out to growl threateningly at each other. Richard Roxburgh, the Duke from Moulin Rouge and Dracula from Van Helsing in a role that, five years ago, would’ve gone to Gerard Butler; Ioan Gruffold, Mr. Fantastic from Fantastic Four: No Way this is Going to be Canon and, more prestigiously, Horatio Hornblower; and Alice Parkinson, Eve from The Pacific and some-woman-who-didn’t-have-powers in Wolverine in a role that last year would’ve gone to Michelle Rodriguez.

THE FILM ITSELF: Okay, so… The Descent without monsters. Got it. The aforementioned egos are going to be the main drive here as the attempt to escape the rapidly flooding cave system needs to be broken up by… some… DRAMA! Expect the interpersonals to have the same nuance and subtlety as Cameron’s other examinations of the human condition, Avatar and Titanic, without the love story. One hopes.

The Roommate

ABSTRACT: Generic, all-American, hot girl is roommates with generic, all-American, hot, crazy girl.

BACKSTAGE: When your film is being headlined by “the other chick from Gossip Girl” and “Wait, who?” being backed up by “That’s not Channing Tatum, is it?” and “Oh hey, the blonde from Hellcats“, you can be reasonably certain you’re dealing with something “fresh” and “hip” rather than new or innovative. It’s the CW’s B-list and that is a dark, sad place to find your name.

THE FILM ITSELF: Advertising hot girls, partying and psycho scariness while boasting a PG-13 rating, you know none of it is going to deliver. This is a movie for High Schoolers who think of college as the shangri-la between living with your parents and moving back in with your parents. Though, to be fair, it’s the same stuff we lined up to see back when it was still unseemly to make jokes involving Kurt Cobain’s suicide.

Feb. 11 (Valentine’s weekend)

Just Go With It

ABSTRACT: Adam Sandler gets Jennifer Aniston to pretend to be divorcing him which will help him score with someone else somehow.

Pictured from left to right: the audience, Sandler's late 90s career, Adam Sandler

BACKSTAGE: Remember when Adam Sandler was funny? He sure does. Yet, unlike the much more self-aware Robin Williams, Sandler hasn’t figured out that, no, dropping a line in your whispery falsetto voice isn’t cute anymore. Then, there’s Jennifer Aniston who has somehow managed to have a less dignified post-Friends career than Lisa Kudrow (who has now become the go-to for shrill bitch wives). There is nothing not sad going on here.

THE FILM ITSELF: It’s all right there in the title; Saving Sarah Marshall with has-beens trying too hard. Enjoy.

Gnomeo & Juliet

ABSTRACT: Loose rendering of the Shakespeare play based on an older play with garden gnomes because, you know, why not?

BACKSTAGE: Disney, like Japan, has an unending talent for finding new stuff to slap on birthday party decorations. That is the only reason this not-Pixar movie exists.

THE FILM ITSELF: See last Friday’s Trailer Trash.

Cedar Rapids

ABSTRACT: Small town businessman with no life goes to “the big city” and does a bunch of crazy stuff.

BACKSTAGE: Once upon a time, there was Batman and he was awesome. Then, he had a sidekick, Robin, who existed as an excuse for Batman to explain what he’s doing. Then, Robin got his own comic and nobody read it. So, they teamed him back up with Batman and everybody still hated him and they killed him off. Ed Helms and John C. Reilly have been excellent side kicks to Jon Stewart & Steve Carrell and Will Farrell, respectively. While Reilly can certainly pull off being a comic antagonist, he is not John Belushi and Ed Helms is not Chevy Chase. This will likely prove to be Helms’ Walk Hard, a lesson that apparently no one here has learned.

THE FILM ITSELF: Just sit back and imagine this is being done by Chevy Chase and John Belushi and it will probably feel like instant comic gold.


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