Weekend Preview (3.19.10)


This is one of those weekends where the films with the best reviews are not the ones in wide release. New Ben Stiller indie Greenberg is getting great reviews and rock biopic The Runaways is getting some decent early buzz, but the three films opening this weekend en masse are getting ripped.

Then there’s one movie getting a wider release which has seen the best reviews of 2010, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer. If it’s snuck into a theater by you, critically speaking it’s the most worth your time.

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The Bounty Hunter

Directed by: Andy Tennant
Written by: Sarah Thorp
Starring: Gerard Butler, Jennifer Anniston


The Word: Gerard Butler has moved up the rom com chain fast. First it was Hilary Swank, then Katherine Heigl and now Jennifer Aniston, one of the genre’s royalty. Aniston continues to end up in bad/unsuccessful romantic comedies like last fall’s Love Happens. Butler also keeps finding films that either do poorly or get poor reviews. The two hope to finally find some success for Sony in a comedy about a bounty hunter that gets assigned to drag his ex to prison. Directed by Andy Tennant (Hitch).

Rotten Tomatoes: 8% (horrible)

My Thoughts: I wish I were surprised by seeing that only 3 of 36 reviews (as of when I checked Thursday night) were “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. Truth is, this movie appears to have way too much in common with films that have been ripped in the last year, namely those that have pit exes or feuding lovers against each other in some “battle of the sexes” type plot. Butler was in one of those films too, The Ugly Truth. The uglier truth is that Butler appears to have found himself something that much worse.

Recommendation: Dismiss, dismiss, dismiss.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Directed by: Thor Freudenthal
Written by: Jackie and Jeff Filgo, Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah, Jeff Kinney (book)
Starring: Zachary Gordon, Chloe Moretz, Steve Zahn


The Word: Was there ever a period of two or three years more awkward than middle/junior high school? Struggle with popularity, puberty — it’s a hellstorm. That’s what the film version of the popular stick-figure-illustrated book hopes to capture. The movie has the director with the best name in the industry, Thor Freudenthal (Hotel for Dogs), but has been advertised pretty lightly by Fox.

Rotten Tomatoes: 48% (not good/mixed)

My Thoughts: There are definitely worse-looking kid films out there, but part of me thinks the humor of the trailer is really just the book talking and that it would be more worthwhile to pick it up and get a few laughs than see the movie.

Recommendation: Worth dismissin, but if you have to babysit or take kids somewhere, not so bad.

Repo Men

Directed by: Miguel Sapochnik
Written by: Eric Garcia, Garrett Lerner
Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber


The Word: Jude Law and Forest Whitaker sound like a pretty original duo for a futuristic action movie about two men who repossess artificial organs for a major medical company when people don’t pay up. The film was adapted by Matchstick Men novelist Eric Garcia from his book The Repossession Mambo. It is being released a pretty long time after it was completed. I’m pretty sure it’s been screened for test audiences for over a year now.

Rotten Tomatoes: 14%

My Thoughts: This film squeezed into my Top 10 for the spring by virtue of its intriguing premise and leads. The reviews, however, are all pointing out that despite these interesting elements, the film doesn’t really go anywhere special and opts for wincing gore at every chance.

Recommendation: Worth dismissing. Sci-fi fans or those who thought this could be interesting like myself should wait for the DVD.

The Ghost Writer (expanding)

Directed by: Roman Polanski
Written by: Robert Harris (novel, adaptation), Roman Polanski (screenplay)
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall


The Word: Perhaps the best-reviewed film of 2010 so far has been famed exiled director Roman Polanski’s latest about a British prime minister (Brosnan) and the writer hired to shadow him (McGregor) who learns that his predecessor might have been murdered.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%

My Thoughts: Polanski has made some great films, most recently The Pianist, and it’s nice to see him in pretty good form here with “Writer.” While I don’t think anyone’s itching to see a drama that wasn’t involved in this year’s ceremony at the Oscars, this certainly seems to be worth it as far as the first quarter of 2010 goes.

Recommendation: Worth admission

Box Office Predictions

Three poorly-reviewed films, none of which are box-office shaking material. I think Alice in Wonderland will still have enough to stay on top with $30 million. I don’t expect that the Jennifer Anniston/Gerard Butler duo in The Bounty Hunter has enough gas to earn anything more than $25 million.

With last week’s No. 2 Green Zone earning minimal cash just as the No. 2 the week before it, Brooklyn’s Finest, did, it leaves the door open for the new releases to default into the Top 5 — jus tlike last week. I’ve got Diary of a Wimpy Kid ahead of Repo Men by just a bit. I’m thinking $15 M for the first and $10 – 12 M for the second. By default, Green Zone should finish fifth.

  1. Alice in Wonderland
  2. The Bounty Hunter
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  4. Repo Men
  5. Green Zone


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