By Katie Walsh | katiewalshwrites.com April 1, 2011 at 5:51AM
TGIF! With a crop of new releases we are finally, FINALLY released from our bonds requiring us to flagellate poor "Sucker Punch" to death. Why were you a failure, "Sucker Punch"? Was it the marketing/storytelling/CGI/demographics/Zack Snyder?! Do we have to worry about "Superman"/girls/original source material??? We may never know. Moving on! We've got a new futuristic sci-fi, based-on-an-original-script, helmed-by-a-hot-new-piece-of-director-ass film to fret over! That's right, it's "Source Code" from Duncan Jones! In the other corner, we've got the ace-in-the-hole, aimed squarely at the kid demographic, "Hop," and quivering outside the wide release ring is horror thriller "Insidious" from "Saw"-originator James Wan. It's gonna be an interesting box office report this week!
David Bowie offspring Duncan Jones made quite the impression with his moody and atmospheric sci-fi flick "Moon" back in 2009, and he's back with his sophomore effort, the time-traveling "Source Code," with a Black List-approved script from Ben Ripley. Star Jake Gyllenhaal talked Jones into the project (can you blame him? Jakey's baby blues could talk you into anything) and Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright and Michelle Monaghan round out the rest of the cast. Jones talked about the project in a Q&A with us, commenting about working with another writer's script, and why he passed on "Superman." Our review of "Source Code" from SXSW says it's "an entertaining, over-the-top science fiction trifle that will likely keep you dangling on the edge of your seat, and yet it’s a forgettable work that will not burrow into the recesses of your mind like you’ve been incepted." Rotten Tomatoes: 89% Metacritic: 74
It's almost Easter, which means it's time for jelly bean pooping bunnies! "Hop" walks calmly (not falling for your punny opportunities, rabbit!) into theaters this week, leading a trail of candy colored eggs to tempt children and their parents. The thing about these kiddies films doing insane box office is that each kid ticket equals one parent ticket. Do you see how that works, people?! Oh but, Russell Brand voices the bunny. Blegh. Hugh Laurie, James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco, and Elizabeth Perkins back him up. Our review says the live action/animated hybrid is "barely watchable" and that "the entire experience is like cracking open a plastic Easter Egg and finding nothing inside." RT: 22% MC: 41
James Wan attempts to get the "Saw" stench off his career by branching out into a... psychological horror thriller. Sigh. "Insidious" starring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson follows a family as they deal with their son's coma and a haunted house. Our review from a screening at Lincoln Center says, the film "feels artless, redundant and trite." RT: 63% MC: 53
In Limited Release:
Susanne Bier's Golden Globe and Oscar winning Best Foreign Film "In A Better World" opens in limited release this week. Our review says Bier, "takes heavy, sobering material with a global reach and combines that with impressive, sweeping shots and a highly-praised international cast, but 'In a Better World' never takes an adventurous leap and becomes more than the sum of its very well-made parts." RT: 79% MC: 63
Also opening this week, James Gunn's superhero flick "Super" starring Rainn Wilson as the man trying to win back his wife via homemade superhero costume, and Ellen Page as his sidekick. Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon and Nathan Fillion also star. Our review from SXSW says "It feels like a rush-job, tonally off because of a genuine lack of insight into a world that’s been explored already in a sea of other films." RT: 51%
Your April Fools Day joke arrives in the form of "Rubber," the movie about a killer tire. This premise is so crazy it just might work! "Rubber" comes to select theaters this week, and our review says the film, "feels less like a movie and more like a practical joke," but that it's "probably the strangest film of the year that will still keep your head bopping." RT: 50% MC: 57
Adrien Brody stars in Michael Greenspan's directorial debut, "Wrecked", about a man waking up in a car crash with no memory of who he is or what bad things he's done. Check out our interview with Brody, where he discusses the physical challenges of the role like eating ants and bugs. Oh, and acting and stuff. Our review says the film, "makes its audience suffer along with its amnesiac protagonist. It’s often boring and more than occasionally repetitive, dragging like the character’s lame leg through the woods, and we struggled to tell if that was what the filmmaker was intending," but that "this indie survival film actually gets more interesting and watchable in its final 30 minutes." RT: 50% MC: 67
Clive Owen, Catharine Keener and Viola Davis star in the online sexual predator drama "Trust" directed by David Schwimmer. Our review of the film says the "triggering thriller manages to avoid the easy pitfalls of what could resemble an after school special and brings depth to the uneasy subject matter of sexual predators, internet safety and parental protection." Fun times. RT: 62% MC: 63
Spanish beauty Paz Vega stars in the international bumbling detective comedy "Cat Run" directed by John Stockwell. Our review says its "biggest strength and weakness is the low-rent pop-filmmaking at the film’s core," and that "it’s almost impossible to hate the inane, hyperactive, but never dull ‘Run,’ RT: 11% MC: 32
Kevin Kline stars in the feature debut of French filmmaker Caroline Bottaro, "Queen To Play" a 2009 Tribeca Film Festival selection about a maid (Sandrine Bonnaire) obsessed with the game of chess. Also starring Jennifer Beals and Dominic Gould. RT: 50%
"Wretches & Jabberers" follows two autistic men traveling the globe to change attitudes about autism; "The Elephant in the Living Room," about Americans who raise dangerous exotic animals as pets RT: 100%; "Fat, Sick And Nearly Dead," following the journey of filmmaker Joe Cross as he embarks on a road trip and the road to wellness RT: 43%; Aaron Schock's "Circo," about a centuries-old traveling circus in Mexico RT: 100%;
Also in theaters: Italian cycle-of-life picture "The Four Times" RT: 80%; Korea-USA co-production "The Last Godfather," starring Harvey Keitel as a 1950s mob boss who brings his Korean lovechild to New York to train him to take over; brothers journeying to fulfill their mother's last wish in "Two Gates of Sleep."