1. Valentine’s Day (Warner Brothers, 3,665 Theaters, 125 Minutes, Rated PG-13): When viewing the ads for this film, you are struck by the magnitude of the cast. But, just to put it into perspective, here is what this cast has done. It has been nominated for 16 Oscars and has won 4. It has been nominated for 45 Golden Globes and has won 15. It has been nominated for 24 Emmys and won 2. Members of the cast have appeared on the Maxim Hot 100 list 15 times, FHM’s Sexiest women 13 times and Stuff’s 102 Sexiest Women three times. You have two former actors of the TV show Alias, two former actors of That 70s Show, and three actors that appeared on Grey’s Anatomy.
To expound on that last fact, every member of the “beginning credits” cast save Julia Roberts has acted in a role on TV series at some point of their careers. Perhaps that’s why former TV guru Garry Marshall works so well with them. That and the fact that Marshall has worked with a number of the cast in other projects.
On paper, this film looks like it can’t help to be awesome. But, really, it looks like it might not be the best romantic comedy ever. I mean, if there is a plot point where Jennifer Garner is unable to get a date, how good can the movie be? There’s suspending disbelieve and then there’s throwing it out the window.
2. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (FOX, 3,356 Theaters, 119 Minutes, Rated PG): When my wife saw the ads for this film, she blurted out “Great, another film that is trying to rip off Harry Potter.” Considering this film is directed by the man who directed the first two Potter films, Chris Columbus, and is adapted from a line of kid-friendly books, I feel my wife’s judgement was pretty close to spot on.
Of course, and I say this will all due respect for Mr. Columbus and his abilities as a director, but a bowl of tapioca pudding could have directed the first few Harry Potter films and fans of the books would still come out and see it. The success of that film franchise, as the post Columbus films have shown, do not depend all that much on who’s directing it.
As the numerous attempt we have seen in adapting other kid-lit favorites to the screen in attempt to capture that Harry Potter magic, it’s not all that easy. Although this film has a Clash of the Titans junior feel to it that might put it over the top. It focuses on a teen who finds out that he is descended from the Greek gods. Adventure ensues.
3. The Wolfman (Universal 3,222 Theaters, 125 Minutes, Rated R): Do you know what’s a bad sign? They were promoting this film at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con for a February 2009 release date. Now, a year later, the film is finally hitting theaters. Movies are not like wines. They do not get better with age.
This is the fourth of Universal’s remakes of its classic horror films, arriving 11 years after the last one, 1999’s The Mummy. That one was a blockbuster success, spawning a couple sequels. 1994’s Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein wasn’t and 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula was an ambitious film that was moderately successful. Certainly, Universal spent so much time tweaking the film so it was more like The Mummy than Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but they will probably be lucky if it ends up like Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
That’s because when a film is delayed so many times, a stigma develops around it. They could have crafted a film so awesome that it is the most perfect werewolf film of all time. But all audiences think is that is must have stunk to be tweaked so often. Let’s see if that is the case now.