Weekend Movie Preview (10.21.11)

Fall gets its horror on this week as Halloween fast approaches. With “Saw” no longer in the picture, it’s the “Paranormal Activity” series’ time to shine and a big haul is once again expected for the found-footage poltergeist flick. Counter-programming comes all for one and one for all thanks to Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Matrix”-ization of the Dumas classic. “The Mighty Macs” look to show that Catholic-geared family films got game and fans of international idiotic espionage can raise a cheer for Rowan Atkinson, for Johnny English is indeed reborn.

New This Week


Paranormal Activity 3

Directed by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Written by Michael R. Perry, Oren Peli (characters)
Starring: Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Christopher Nicholas Smith


Summary: Before they were each attacked by demonic spirits as adults, Katie and Kristi were normal sisters growing up in the ’80s — who were plagued by demonic spirits.

The Word: Now that we’ve seen the last “Saw” (for now), the “Paranormal Activity” franchise has taken over as the perennial horror franchise of the Halloween weeks. After the sequel opened with $40 million and grossed $170 million or so worldwide on a $3 million budget, it’s not going away anytime soon. Strapped for story lines, “PA 2″ writer Michael R. Perry has gone the prequel route it seems, and as we know nothing scares audiences like children.

Rotten Tomatoes: 74% (very good)

My Thoughts: I saw the first one (hard not to with all the hype) and the second film naturally got a more mixed reception. I liked the original, but I’m also a fan of letting good horror films fly solo. There was nothing redeeming enough about the characters to continue their story, but apparently there’s room to disagree.

Recommendation: Fans of the original and people waiting for a decent horror movie, here you are.


The Three Musketeers

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies, Alexandre Dumas (novel)
Starring: Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans

Summary: Based on classic story. The aspiring musketeer D’Artagnan teams up with the fable three to foil a plot by the villainous Cardinal Richelieu, Duke of Buckingham and the assassin M’lady De Winter to unleash war across Europe.

The Word: Anderson takes his distinct “Resident Evil” sensibilities and applies them to this classic tale, pumping up the explosions, CGI and most of all: 3D. To his credit, he acquired a loaded cast that in addition to the musketeers and his wifey, Milla Jovovich, contains Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz, Mads Mikkelsen, Juno Temple and Til Schweiger.

Rotten Tomatoes: 25% (bad)

My Thoughts: M’lady De Winter sliding “Matrix” style under exploding spiked cannonballs? Flying zeppelin pirate ship war machines? If it works, all the credit in the world to Summit Entertainment for finding a winning formula in giving a classic story steroids. It might just do that if Anderson can convince his “Resident Evil” groupies to hit the theaters.

Recommendation: Probably a very worthy rental/download.



Johnny English Reborn

Directed by Oliver Parker
Written by William Davies and Hamish McColl, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis (characters)
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West

Summary: After training with monks, Johnny English is ready to be a spy again, this time to help stop assassins trying to kill the Chinese premier

The Word: Well, someone must’ve clamored for more Johnny English because eight years later, Atkinson has returned to the role. Wondering who? They weren’t American. The first film made about $28 million in the U.S., but somehow found another $132 million overseas. “Reborn” is not meant for American audiences, but if producers can squeeze another $20-30 million from us, they’ll do so happily.

Rotten Tomatoes: 35% (not good)

My Thoughts: I suppose “Johnny” can’t be too bad for kids who like spy movies and physical slapstick, but this was not a movie meant for Americans.

Recommendation: Take what I just said as “license to skip.”


The Mighty Macs

Directed by Tim Chambers
Written by Tim Chambers, Anthony Gargano
Starring: Carla Gugino, David Boreanaz, Ellen Burstyn

Summary: In the ’70s, Cathy Rush becomes the basketball coach at an all-girls Catholic college. They have no gym and no uniforms, but she hopes to coach them to a championship.

The Word: Here’s your latest coach-something-out-of-nothing sports story, although the backdrop is Immaculata College, a Catholic school,  in the ’70s. The key to any great sports story is that overcoming the odds can’t just be about the level of competition the underdog is up against, but the social naysayers. “The Mighty Macs” will score points for ’70s feminism as well. The film is the debut of Tim Chambers and marks the first prominent role for “The League” star David Boreanaz.

Rotten Tomatoes: 46% (mixed)

My Thoughts: “The Mighty Macs” faces more competition than it otherwise might in any other season thanks to “Dolphin Tale” playing well among others. Since when did fall become the season of uplifting family drama? I suppose the success of the genre lately means this might do better than expected.

Recommendation: This is going straight to DVD town, no reason to pay the big bucks.


Box Office Predictions

Well, I got a foot in my mouth last week, but no doubts on whose walking out on top after this weekend: Paranormal Activity 3 should do at least as well as its predecessor, so $40 million. Horror fans have not been showing up lately so expect mass exodus to theaters.

The Three Musketeers has to be good for second. How high is the question. A hugely recognizable cast and some of Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich’s fans are bound to indulge. A no-name musketeer film titled “Musketeer” managed $10 million back in the early 2000s, so that should be the minimum. With competition from “Real Steel,” I see $15 million, maybe closer to $20 million though that’s optimistic.

Real Steel should hold up nicely in third place with around $10 million as it’s managing to get family numbers and good word of mouth. Footloose should be just behind it with $7-8 million.

The Ides of March gets my vote to remain in the top five with $5 million. I simply can’t put money down on “Johnny English Reborn,” simply out of principle. Mediocre newcomers have also burned me in predictions this year.

1. Paranormal Activity 3
2. The Three Musketeers
3. Real Steel
4. Footloose
5. The Ides of March


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment