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In Theaters: 'Madea' Takes On 'Water For Elephants' & African Cats' At Your Multiplex This Weekend

by Katie Walsh
April 22, 2011 4:12 AM
1 Comment
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Do you hear that? Do you? That's the sound of millions of Google Alerts pinging into the inboxes of the members of Team Edward everywhere. The tenacious and ornery breed of fan that draws their life force from the chiseled cheekbones and tousled locks of Robert Pattinson ironically seem to have the famous vampire in a compromising position: sucking him dry so that they may live to type another heated comment defending their loved one on a snarky blog post reporting a bit of casting news. Did y'all read that Vanity Fair profile? Kinda depressing, no? Think about what you are doing to him, tweens and middle-aged women! This weekend, we'll see if R-patz is able to translate that into dinero in "Water for Elephants." OH, BUT here comes the box office spoiler: Madea. Say what you will about granny drag, Tyler Perry's one-sided feud with Spike Lee, or his directorial capabilities, audiences eat up that Madea. Can't argue with those greenbacks!

Adaptation of a much beloved bestselling novel? Check. Double Oscar-winner whammy? Check. Recently re-married People cover girl and America's Sweetheart Reese Witherspoon? Check. Historical, whimsical setting with pretty outfits and hair? Check. ROBERT OMG OMG PATTINSON!? Check! "Water for Elephants" really does have all the makings of a surefire hit with moms everywhere. It seems like a lock for the number one spot this weekend, though don't discount Madea. And though it's not timed for awards season, the lack of any other pictures of the type in the market may afford it more attention. Francis Lawrence directs this story of a traveling circus in the 1930s, starring Witherspoon as the beautiful equestrian acrobat, Christoph Waltz as her jealous husband/ringmaster and R-Patz as the young vet and elephant whisperer. Go on, take your mom to the movies this Easter Weekend. She'll fucking love it. Rotten Tomatoes: 49% Metacritic: 53


"Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family" is one of those movies that you know what you're going to get going into it. And some people really like what they know they're going to get. Madea's inimitable brand of sass, her various semi-criminal hijinks, some sort of melodramatic B and C plots concerning the plight of the urban youth, and wrapping it all up with a little guidance from the big JC upstairs and a "Hallejuer!" If that's your thing, we got it right hurr. RT: 33%

America loves a good nature doc! "African Cats" is about um, big African cats, so yeah. Samuel L. Jackson takes the voice over duties, giving Morgan Freeman a break, and just generally lively-ing up the procedure. Can't wait for the unrated version where he gets to insert all the missing "muthafuckers." RT: 71% MC: 62

In Limited Release:
Denis Villeneuve’s 2011 Foreign Oscar contender “Incendies” hits theaters this weekend. The film follows a daughter searching for her long lost father and brother in the Middle East, intertwined with flashbacks to her mother's life story. Our review says "though it is (mostly) a story well told, shocking coincidences are stringed together and depth is overlooked," and the film is handicapped by its own plot twist. RT: 91% MC: 83

Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary takes on the SHOCKING underbelly of... product placement? Our SXSW review of "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" says, "the film never addresses any of the thorny issues associated with product placement and it ends up being a half-assed celebration of it, instead of some barbed condemnation." RT: 73% MC: 70

Donnie Yen lends his fists of fury to period martial arts flick "Legend of the Fist: Return of Chen Zen." Our review says, "in combat, Yen is a marvel, moving so fast it feels as if his combatants are moving in slow motion. It’s only when he slows down that the film follows suit, becoming a bloated big budget spectacle that’s constantly waiting for it’s single special effect to uncork a kick or two." RT: 43% MC: 48

War photographer drama "The Bang Bang Club" starring Ryan Phillippe, Taylor Kitsch and Malin Akerman hits select theaters this week after making the festival rounds, ironically the same week that war photog and documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington was tragically killed in Libya. Our review says, "while the true story is both an inspiring and tragic tale of four photojournalists dedicated to bringing reporting from the most dangerous places in the world, it’s too bad the film never truly explores just who those people are behind the camera." RT: 32% MC: 48

Post-apocalyptic road movie horror vampire flick (that's a mouthful) "Stake Land" sinks its teeth into viewers this weekend as well. Our review says, "a pity that the film isn’t nearly as smart enough to understand it’s a lesser take on a genre we’ll keep repeating long after the end actually comes." RT: 75% MC: 67

If you're tuning into HBO this weekend, check out "Cinema Verite" from "American Splendor" directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini about the the first reality show, "American Family," which turned its lens on the Loud family in the 1970s. Diane Lane, Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini star. Our review says "despite the shortcomings and the relatively straightforward and predictable dramatic arc, 'Cinema Verite' is still an involving drama."

Another HBO offering, "Talking Funny," assembles comedians Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Louis C.K. to chat about the serious business of being funny. Our review of the chat show says, "for anyone looking for a rollicking good time with these famed comedians or for an in depth discussion on the ins and outs of making people laugh are likely to be disappointed on both fronts."

Also in theaters: arranged marriage romantic comedy (really?!) "When Harry Tries To Marry" RT: 0%; "Cougar Hunting" (do I really have to explain what this one is about?); ventriloquist documentary "Dumbstruck" RT: 61% MC: 49; free diving action flick "Deep Gold"; crop circle documentary "What On Earth?"; runaway sibling drama "St. Nick."

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1 Comment

  • KT | April 22, 2011 5:58 AMReply

    Reese Witherspoon was America's sweetheart, like, 10 years ago.

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