1. ParaNorman (Focus Features, 3,429 Theaters, 93 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Stop-motion animation has the air of an especially quaint form of film making. It is time consuming, exacting, and considering you get a similar look and feel from CGI animation, seems especially archaic. That’s what makes it all the more charming.
Of course, charming might not be the right word for this one. This film centers on a young boy who has the ability to see ghosts. He stumbles across an centuries old curse and must save his town from legions of the undead.
2. The Expendables 2 (Lionsgate, 3,316 Theaters, 102 Minutes, Rated R): I feel I don’t even need to talk about this film, because The Expendables 3 is already in the works. Nicolas Cage is already on board, and producers have a wish list that includes Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford and Wesley Snipes (All the while, a lonely Steven Seagal sits by the phone, desperately waiting for a call that looks likely will never come).
Of course, we’ll have to see how this one does first. They’ve upped the ante by adding Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris to the cast and supposedly signing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis up for more screen time. But will that be enough to have this one improve in the surprising success of the original?
3. Sparkle (TriStar, 2,244 Theaters, 116 Minutes, Rated PG-13): This film is a remake of the 1976 film of the same name that starred Lonette McKee, Irene Cara, and Phillip Michael Thomas. It is a pastiche of the story of the Supremes, only with the 60’s singing group in question being sisters who fall apart as fame takes hold instead of complete strangers.
It is a story that hold some interest and has been made into movies and musicals a number of times (Dreamgirls, anyone?). But this version has an extra dollop of pathos being that its the last film of Whitney Houston.
The original had a plot line that one of the sister’s downfall was brought on by drug abuse. I wonder if that plot point carries over to the remake, and how fans of Houston will react to it considering the pop star’s final fate.