We’ve got a whole bunch of monsters in the new releases this week: from fuzzy, four-legged ones to real-life hood-wearing ones.
1. Dog Days (Opened Wednesday, LD Entertainment, 2,442 Theaters, 112 Minutes, Rated PG for rude and suggestive content, and for language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 57% Fresh [46 Reviews]): This is one of those kind of films. A movie with a wide variety of characters, each with their own storylines, all intermingle together for a positive resolution at the end. And since Garry Marshall isn’t with us anymore, Ken Marino gets to direct it instead.
However, the film is advertised with adorable dogs in front of brightly colored backgrounds (see left). This has caused my 9-year old daughter to want to see it, thinking it is an adorable dog movie. And it is, but the dogs are mainly there to move the adult’s plots forward.
I wonder how many parents were begged to bring their kids to see this movie and I wonder how they deal with their child’s disappointment when they find out its about people, not dogs.
2. The Meg (Warner Brothers, 4,118 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for action/peril, bloody images and some language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 50% Fresh [147 Reviews]): When it comes to shark movies, you have Jaws and you really don’t need anything other film than that. If you want to watch a shark film, Jaws is just about perfect. All you need to do is rent it, buy it or stream it.
But if you are going to make another shark film, you have to convince us that it needs to be made. You need to give it a hook that draws people in. This film thing by having the shark be the gigantic prehistoric megalodon is all the hook it needs.
Will it work to draw American audiences in? It probably won’t matter. This is an American-Chinese co-production, and there are a number of big name Asian actors in the cast. This film will probably be a big hit just in overseas grosses. Anything it makes here will just be gravy.
3. Slender Man (Sony/Screen Gems, 2,358 Theaters, 93 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, sequences of terror, thematic elements and language including some crude sexual references, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 16% Fresh [25 Reviews]): Ah, the Slender Man. The Internet meme about a pseudo urban legend. One that became so popular that even an old fogey like me has heard of it.
It has become so popular that you know that they were going to make a movie about it. But should they?
I don’t mean that in the sense that it won’t be as good as the original. There’s that. But there is something about the character that resonates in a bad way with a certain audience. The most famous instance of this is the Wisconsin pre-teens who felt compelled by the Slender Man to brutally stab one of their classmates. That actually happened in real life.
I’m not saying the film will cause a rash of that kind of violence to spread across the country, but the fact that happened turns the Slender Man from a fun piece of metahorror to something ugly and real. It puts a damper on any enjoyment you might have, in my opinion.
4. BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features, 1,512 Theaters, 135 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout, including racial epithets, and for disturbing/violent material and some sexual references, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 98% Fresh [166 Reviews]): It seems like a sketch you’d see on Saturday Night Live or The Chappelle Show. But the story this film portrays really happened in real life.
In 1979, Ron Stallworth, an African-American police detective from Colorado Springs, Colorado managed to infiltrate the KKK in order to prevent acts of violence by the organization. Not only does he succeed, but he ends up becoming the head of the local chapter.
Hate groups and white supremacists have become more empowered as of late, and perhaps we all need to reminded that these people are wrong on just about every level you can be wrong. Spike Lee is directing this film, so I’m sure he will not pull any punches getting that message across.
Next week’s new releases feature crazy rich Asians, black ops soldiers and a boy and his wolf who become a boy and his dog.