Hollywood 2011 really has their release schedule down to a science thus far, spreading the love around for each tasty, tasty demographic. Those all-important 18-24 males? Why we have some aliens, musclebound dudes and subsequent explosions for you with "Battle: Los Angeles." That delicious teenage disposable income? How about Amanda Seyfried and an RPatz doppelganger sporting anachronistic hair product in a fairy tale setting? "Red Riding Hood" steamy enough for ya? And of course, the animated vehicle that sucks in not only the kids' tickets but mom, dad and nannies as well, in "Mars Needs Moms." Fun for everyone! But, but don't fret my pet! There is some serious quality art cinema out there, like a new flick from a stone-cold, legendary-filmmaker, you have to see this lest you be ridiculed by your cool film friends. So go seek it out! Take a road trip!
Oh my goodness. Here we got all excited over the "Battle: Los Angeles" trailers, and then it goes and turns out to be a real stinker. Like, worst review on our site stinker. Even inspiring our reviewer to declare "Film is dead." Ouch. Not convinced? How about "'Battle: Los Angeles' may be the most expensive, dumbest, military commercial ever made," and resembles the "experience of watching someone you’ve never met play a particularly noisy video game." Please do film a favor and do not go and see this movie this weekend. Get your alien fix with one of the selections from out list of best Alien Invasion flicks. Rotten Tomatoes: 34% Metacritic: 36
If only there was an Oscar for Best Hair, "Red Riding Hood" would be a lock (pun intended!). Amanda Seyfried's silky blonde mane, RPatz doppelganger's (Shiloh Fernandez) tousled, spiky waves. It would be great if they explained his old-timey hair gel, like if it was made out of sap or manure or something. Julie Christie with dreadlocks! Come on! Sorry, I digress. Anyway, our review says the film "is more clever than it should be, which is what makes it so depressing that it’s not better than it is" and that Seyfried, typically, "more than holds her own against the insanity on screen." RT: 7% MC: 30
Parents, your two hours of childcare comes to you this weekend in the form of "Mars Needs Moms." However, this might be one you might want to get the babysitter to take the kiddies to, because our review says the film inspires one "to rip off your 3D glasses and never have to suffer through another one of these rigidly animated, emotion-free snore-fests," and that, "as problematic as the technical and narrative aspects of 'Mars Needs Moms' are, the movie’s gender politics are even worse." RT: 40% MC: 51
In Limited Release:
Cary Fukunaga follows up his stunning debut feature "Sin Nombre" with a huge departure from the gangs of Mexico to the English countryside with adaptation the the literary classic "Jane Eyre," starring Mia Wasikowska in the title role and Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. Our review says the film "will make even the hardest heart swoon," and that "Fukunaga has pulled off something miraculous – a tale draped in gothic horror that’s actually, you know, haunting... he’s crafted a 'Jane Eyre' that feels both classic and utterly fresh." Do not miss this people! RT: 90% MC: 79
International art cinema legend Abbas Kiarostami has "Certified Copy" opening this weekend, starring Juliette Binoche and William Shimell in a story that follows their deep interaction over the course of one day. Our review from Cannes says Binoche turns in one of her finest performances yet, and that, "by turns funny and moving, intellectually absorbing and emotionally rich, 'Certified Copy' is yet another admirable display of craftsmanship from one of the world’s most celebrated filmmakers," and that though the film will "undoubtedly bring Kiarostami to his biggest audience yet, in a rare feat, it doesn’t sacrifice one iota of his talents in getting him there." Don't forget to check out our discussion with Juliette Binoche herself regarding the film, and definitely check this one out if you can. RT: 87% MC: 84
Sebastian Gutierrez brings us the latest installment in his Carla Gugino tribute, "Elektra Luxx," with Gugino and friends reprising their roles from Gutierrez's "Women in Trouble." Our review says while Gugino is "funny, gorgeous, and entirely watchable," it's a "forgettable film briefly buoyed by lines and energetic performances." On the plus side, Emmanuelle Chriqui looks really good in that gold bikini. She should just wear it all the time maybe. RT: 28% MC: 55
Rowr, Ray Stevenson in a mustache! Yes, PLEASE. Stevenson plays the Irish dockworker-turned-mob hitman in the true story of Danny Greene in "Kill the Irishman," with support from an all-star cast including Christopher Walken, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio, Robert Davi and Val Kilmer. Our review says director Jonathan Hensleigh has made a film that "straddles genres capably, peppering bits of action with a light-on-its-feet approach to straightforward drama," and that "his approach is best suited to actors of this caliber, and he’s smart enough to illuminate each actor’s unique gifts as they play off each other, creating a film where community, time and place actually matter." RT: 62% MC: 48
In "Black Death," Eddie Redmayne and Sean Bean are a priest and knight, respectively, who ride into a witchy village to save a loved one and spread the plague, respectively. And though our review found issue with the casting and performance of Redmayne, the point it makes about religion and society "ain’t eloquent, but it’ll do." RT: 75% MC: 72
The TIFF Narrative Feature winning film "Monogamy," starring Chris Messina and Rashida Jones in a relationship drama-turned-sexual thriller hits screens today. Our reviewer found it to be a "mostly overbearing indie picture that unfortunately "takes itself so damn seriously, it’s easy to find it all a monotonous slog." RT: 17% MC: 47
Also in theaters: Edie Falco in one-day suburban drama "3 Backyards" RT: 75% MC: 75; yet another day-in-a-life film with festival flick "I Will Follow" RT: 88% MC: 74 ; summer family reunion film "Harvest," documentary "The Desert of Forbidden Art" RT: 90%; Depression-era drama "Redland"; life in an NYC industrial junkyard doc "Foreign Parts"; and Samaire Armstrong in "Around June."