By Katie Walsh | The Playlist January 14, 2011 at 5:31AM
Screw Serious Cinema, It's Time for Some Laffs 'n Action
Ah January, what a curious moviegoing month you are. You're the dumping ground for the studio dreck (long live Nic Cage's Festival of Wigs) because it's a time of AWARDS fever, with noms and screeners and Hollywood Foreign Press luncheons (and YOU get a Blu-Ray player, and YOU get a Blu-ray player!) up the wazoo. Hence the highly mixed bag of new releases we get every week. Some of these may benefit from the relative lack of competition, but it's pretty much a giant risk! The wide releases gambling this weekend are two comedies for those fans who are just SO tired of serious movies about heartbreak and family problems 'n shit. Seth Rogen's action comedy "The Green Hornet" hits screens after much speculation, skepticism, and a revolving door of talent (Cage's Jamaican accent NEVER FORGET), while Vince Vaughn and Kevin James bring the pain (and offensive jokes!) in the Ron Howard comedy, "The Dilemma." More serious minded comedy fans can catch "Barney's Version" in limited release and the true actionheads can geek out over Tony Jaa's sick moves in "Ong Bak 3."
Not gonna lie, when this writer saw the first trailer for much-discussed "The Green Hornet," all we thought was, "well that looks incredibly dumb." Turns out it is!!!!!!! Sad face emoticon for Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry. This property has a long and rich history of changing various hands, but many were excited for the talent involved and Gondry's take on a studio action flick. Unfortunately, our reviewer found the film to be "loud, clamoring, haphazardly thrown together and risibly scripted from what feels like a poor first draft" and in general "a near-atrocity and a miserable experience." Better luck next time, guys. Rotten Tomatoes: 44% Metacritic: 39
Can we divide the world into people who like Vince Vaughn and those who don't? The motormouth hasn't changed up his schtick in years (if it ain't broke don't fix it) and there are some people who might say, "yeah, ok I'll sit through 'Four Christmases' cause I'm stuck on a plane and literally can't walk out" (and secretly don't hate it!) and those who loathe every cheap cash grab flick the man has made in the past few years. So Ron Howard's on board for this cuckold comedy, and he's the man we have to blame for leaving the "electric cars are gay" joke in the film. Bad move, Howard! Your movies do not GET BETTER! Anywho, Kevin James does his confused hamster face, Jennifer Connolly cashes a check and Winona Ryder continues her comeback, all with a little Channing Tatum icing on top. Our review calls the film "pretty painful" and continues to question why screenwriter Allan Loeb continues to waste our time with all this agonizing decision making he likes to pad his scripts with. Your call, moviegoing public. We don't make the facts, we just report 'em. RT: 24% MC: 46
Paul Giamatti stars as the titular endearing cranky pants in "Barney's Version," telling the story of his life. Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Rosamund Pike, and Scott Speedman co-star. RT: 77% MC: n/a
The third and final installment in the badass martial arts series "Ong Bak 3' brings out the teenage boy in all of us. This time Tony Jaa faces supernatural warrior Demon Crow. That sentence makes us want to high five someone. RT: 27%
Stellar cast lined up for "Every Day" with Helen Hunt, Liev Schreiber, Brian Dennehy, Carla Gugino and Eddie Izzard about a couple surviving the ups and down of marriage and family life. This one really crept into theaters under our noses. RT: 43% MC: 53 MC: n/a
Oddly crushworthy silver fox Swede (also, thank you for your son Alexander Skarsgaard, thank you so very much) Stellan Skarsgaard stars in the Norweigan comedy "A Somewhat Gentle Man" about a man coping with life after being released from prison. RT: 70% MC: 62%
Sorely lacking in a documentary to make you feel icky and scared for the planet? "Plastic Planet" is the film for you! No but seriously plastic is evil. RT: 60% MC: 54 How about one about the scariness of the Chinese government? Just when you thought it couldn't get scarier, "Petition" was filmed over 10 years about the injustices suffered by those who bring complaints to the government. Fun times! Our review of the film said the film "it has its faults, but the importance of it outweighs it all." RT: 100% No? "I'm Dangerous With Love" documents a drug detox counselor on his journey, taking him to West Africa to consult with shamans. MC: 62
Also in theaters: Gustav Mahler meets Freud in "Mahler on the Couch;" multiple narrative "graphic novel come to life" (sounds head-hurty) "Burning Palms;" Danny Glover in Latino gang drama "Down for Life." And, omg did you guys see the trailer that came out like a year ago for "Repo Chick"? The fact that this is even in theaters is odd, right? Well, it is for all you so-bad-its-awesome cineastes.