Weekend Movie Preview (7.1.11)

Fourth of July weekend always means an early Weekend Movie Preview here at Movie Muse. Last year it was brought to us courtesy “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” but this year for the third time in five years, it belongs to Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf and Optimus Prime. The third film in the “Transformers” series, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” arrives today with Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts romantic comedy “Larry Crowne” and tweener delight “Monte Carlo” follow on its heels this Friday.

New This Week

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Directed by Michael Bay
Written by Ehren Kruger
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey

Summary: As it turns out, the entire space race of the ’60s was in response to a Transformer being discovered on the moon. This new discovery has given the Decepticons new reason reason to wreak havoc on Earth and Sam Witwicky and the Autobots must find a way to stop them.

The Word: The first great 3-D film since “Avatar” is the early buzz, but that comparison goes solely with the visual effects, not with story or overall quality. The only significant change would be the departure of Megan Fox for Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley based on Ms. Fox’s comments about director Michael Bay.

Rotten Tomatoes: 36% (not good)

My Thoughts: The visual effects of this film will probably redeem it from the disaster that was “Revenge of the Fallen.” I gave “Fallen” a 2.5/5 and that was probably generous. There’s no pretending that Michael Bay has made a film with heart or a powerful story, but the most we can ask for is give a damn while watching another 2.5 hours of metallic mayhem.

Recommendation: A can’t-miss for action junkies or even the most ambivalent fans of the series, but most of the population can probably pass.

Larry Crowne (Fri.)

Directed by Tom Hanks
Written by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Taraji P. Henson, Cedric the Entertainer

Summary: Larry Crowne is a bumbling naive blue-collar guy who gets laid off his department store job because he doesn’t have anything beyond a high school diploma and times are a-changin’. In his speech class, he begins to fall for the teacher (Roberts) who’s got some issues of her own.

The Word: Hanks’ returns to directing for the first time since “That Thing You Do” back in 1996. Who can really know if that’s a good sign or not, but it does mean that Hanks is passionate about the project. Re-teaming with Julie Roberts will certainly grab anyone’s attention and Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) is an attention-worthy writing partner.

Rotten Tomatoes: 48% (mixed)

My Thoughts: It looks to be decidedly unfunny, but it’s hard to ignore Hanks and Roberts when they do anything let alone when they work together. As one of the few romances geared toward an older audience, I can’t imagine it will go quietly at the box office either, especially up against “Transformers.” Mixed reviews are no surprise as that’s how they were for Roberts’ “Eat, Pray, Love.”

Recommendation: If you are in desperate need for counter-programming that shades toward romance and not comedy, that’s a reason to go. Otherwise, wait.

Monte Carlo (Fri)

Directed by Thomas Bezucha
Written by Thomas Bezucha, April Blair and Maria Maggenti (screenplay), Kelly Bowe (story), Jules Bass (novel)
Starring: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Cory Monteith

Summary: Three best friends travel to Paris and their trip ends up a complete disaster. All that changes, however, when they discover that one of them (Gomez) looks uncannily like a wealthy European socialite. They decide to live it up and deal with the consequences later.

The Word: Meester has had the most success of all three of these TV stars in terms of making it on the big screen. “Gossip Girl” co-star (of sorts) Cassidy joins her and both back Disney’s Gomez as the featured attraction. Although barely present in the trailer, “Glee” star Cory Monteith also makes the jump to film here.

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

My Thoughts: Tween-focused films are in short supply this summer without a “Twilight” film coming until November. Presumably they would find appeal in all the big blockbuster sequels, so I’m not optimistic for “Monte Carlo.” It looks like total Disney channel material, perhaps a re-written script for “The Lizzie Maguire Movie” even, so it’s not likely going to get it done for anyone but that demographic.

Recommendation: Skip it unless you’re a tween. Even then, go learn to like real movies, kid.

Box Office Predictions

There’s not more than meets the eye to this weekend’s box-office winner. The summer has been a continual change over of first place to the latest big blockbuster and Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be all over that trend. I’m not thinking it will do as well as the last film considering how many fans that one scorned, but I see $80 million being likely. (Keep in mind these estimates are for the three-day weekend July 1-3).

In second place will easily be Cars 2. Pixar films have held well and this one will likely do the same, even with bad reviews. I can’t imagine it making less than $30 million, but it will probably earn closer to $40 million.

Two drastically different romantic comedies will likely fight it out for third place. I think Bad Teacher, coming off a strong $30 million will make at least $15 million this weekend, enough to hold off even the likes of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. When the two stars combined for Oscar-contender “Charlie Wilson’s War,” they made less than $10 million. I think $12-15 seems right for Larry Crowne, it being summer and all.

With such a small target audience, expect to not hear anything from “Monte Carlo.” Green Lantern should be able to hold off “Super 8” by a couple million despite losing much of its audience to “Transformers.” About $10 million seems right.

1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
2. Cars 2
3. Bad Teacher
4. Larry Crowne
5. Green Lantern



You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment