There is entirely too much punctuation in the titles of this week's crop of releases. We've all been making fun of the beast that is "Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol; Cruise & Renner + Pegg" but what about this "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" nonsense? "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked"? Even "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel"? There just isn't enough marquee space for all those colons and subtitles. Especially with the glut of holiday time prestige movies. Does the slate seem even more overloaded than usual? I can barely keep up! Phew. Here's what's new in theaters this weekend if you're all caught up on your new releases. I'll be seeing "Shame" this weekend, but I'm not gonna lie, that "Ghost Protocol" (those are nonsense words, we all realize that right?) is looking kinda badass...
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law return as Holmes and Watson for their detecting and capering and steampunking about in Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," this time joined by the O.G. dragon tattooed lass, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris as bad guy Moriarity, and Stephen Fry as Holmes' bro Mycroft. Our review says, "doesn’t quite qualify as a great film, but it’s a solid, engaging sequel, and the right sort of antidote to the season’s stuffier competition." RT: 64% MC: 49
I am not going to lie, Tom Cruise still looks hot in the trailers for "Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol." What kind of insane Xenu Youth juice is he drinking? Can I have some? Anyway, the latest installment in this franchise is the LIVE ACTION debut of Brad Bird, of "The Incredibles" cred. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton make up Ethan Hunt's team this go-round, and why should I even attempt to describe the plot? There's a mission, it's impossible, you get the idea. Our review says it's "a bemusing but visceral thriller that ups the series’ stakes while staying true to its core concepts," and it's "a fun but mostly empty adventure story that operates with the rote predictability of a middling ‘90s James Bond movie rather than a benchmark-setting actioner or even seasonal 'event movie'". RT: 94% MC: 74
Roman Polanski returns with "Carnage," an adaptation of the stage play "God of Carnage," about two sets of insufferable upper-middle class parents meeting to discuss a schoolyard scuffle between their children. John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet do the heavy lifting as the parents in this single set, actor driven piece. Our review says the film is "very, very funny," but "a film of very little ambition, a minor entry in the director's canon." Ultimately, "it's pleasurable enough, although anyone hoping for a return to 1970s form for Polanski will be disappointed -- the helmer hides away like his flight had a lay-over in Los Angeles." And oh look, check out our Polankski Retrospective! RT: MC:
Aw, who doesn't love Roger Corman? "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel" is a doc following the visionary independent filmmaker who decidedly influenced the landscape of the film industry and shepherded some of the most important contemporary working filmmakers today. Our review says Alex Stapleton's film is "dazzling, honest, oddly emotional" and even if you don't know or like his films this doc, "will make you appreciate the man behind them." RT: 67% MC: 57
Those horrid animated chipmunks are back in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked." I pray to baby Jesus they run out of chipmunk themed puns soon. Unfortunately, there are few other kids movies out of this kind and so the parents and children may flock to enjoy those squeaky-voiced rodents. Justin Long, Jason Lee, Matthew Gray Gubler, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris, David Cross, Jenny Slate, Alan Tudyk, Jesse McCartney and Christina Applegate pay some bills. RT: 10% MC: 24
Also in theaters:
Morning after pill rom com (REALLY?) "The Pill" RT: 67% MC: 51 ; crystal meth drama "Cook County" RT: 30% MC: 44 ; tobacco industry doc "Addiction Incorporated" RT: 78% MC: 68; religious horror flick "Satan Hates You" RT: 33%