This Week’s Theatrical Releases.

1. Rambo (2,751 Theaters, 93 Minutes, Rated R): I’m not going to make the jokes you expect me to, the same that were made when Rocky Balboa came out, about Sylvester Stallone being too old for this type of role. Because I believe a 60 year old mercenary is more believable than a 60 year old prize fighter.

But if you are expecting the similar returns that moderately financially successful and mildly critically acclaimed Rocky Balboa got, you maybe disappointed. Quality-wise, the Rambo franchise was always a step below the Rocky franchise. I don’t think this movie will change that at all.

The plot involves John Rambo going into the jungles of Thailand to rescue some missionary workers. Expect a lot of violence, plenty of explosions, and some cringe-worthy pontificating about the nature of war and warriors.

The Rambo movies were a product of the Reagan 80’s, a hawkish era with nary a war in sight. How will they translate now, with the very real war in Iraq still on our TV screens and there is no need for a fantasy war on movie screens.

2. Meet the Spartans (2,605 Theaters, 87 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Listen, get up close to your computer screens. I am going to do you an immense favor. It is favor that you’ll want to buy me a house to repay. But you won’t have to. I do it only because I care.

Do not, I repeat, do not go see this movie.

Now, I don’t mean “don’t go see this movie in a theater, wait until video”, because it probably will not be worth the price a rental, even if you belong to Netflix.

How do I know this? Because this movie was originally titled Epic Movie 2. It’s made by the same people who made Epic Movie. And Epic Movie was the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life.

The makers think that all you need for a parody movie is accurate costumes. No need for a story. No need for it to be funny. No need for it to poke fun on movie conventions. Just pack as much pop culture phenomenon as you can find look-a-likes for and arrange them so they kind of resemble a story.

Seriously, you might watch the trailer and chuckle a time or two, and think more laughs would be coming in the actual movie. There won’t be. All you will be doing is feeling embarrassed for all the people involved in making the movie. Trust me, you will be much happier if you just stay away.

And because I love the FilmBuffOnline readers so much, you’ll only get the Teaser and not the Full Trailer. You’re welcome.

3. Untraceable (2,368 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated R): Diane Lane has had an interesting career. She started off as a teen star with a lot of potential, hit a lull in her career, built herself back up to eventually get an Oscar nomination for her work in 2002’s Unfaithful. Now she is in this derivative mix of Silence of the Lambs and The Net.

She plays an FBI agent who is tracking a serial killer who posts videos of his victims on the Internet. The more clicks the site gets, the quicker the person dies. When she gets too close, the killer targets her friends and family, narrowing in on her as the final victim.

It seems that any movie with a female law enforcement officer usually involves them becoming the victim at some point or another. Why can’t we see Harrison Ford cowering in fear as the killer breaks into his house? Tom Cruise crying as he discovers the body of his drinking buddy? No, that will never happen. But women law officers quickly turn from being the hunters to being the hunted.

4. How She Move (1,531 Theaters, 98 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I don’t understand the popularity of the dance movie. I mean the modern forebears of Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, and Footloose. It seems every year there is at least two of them. If not more, they all seem to run together.

This one contains many elements of the dance movie formula. There is the death of a loved one (a sister), an upheaval as the main character changes from a familiar location (she moves from private school to an inner city public school) and she adjusts to her new status quo by bonding with others through competitive dance (in this case, step dancing). And I’m sure she’ll come out triumphantly in the end.

I guess the fans of this type of movie can tell the difference. But the similarities between this movie and others of the genre is a turn off. Why go see this when you can rent Dance With Me or Step Up or Stomp the Yard or You Got Served. I am certain that there are subtleties that separate all of them, but not enough for my tastes.

Now, the predictions:
This is what I called for last week:

  1. Cloverfield
  2. The Bucket List
  3. 27 Dresses
  4. Juno
  5. First Sunday

And this was how it turned out:

  1. Cloverfield
  2. 27 Dresses
  3. The Bucket List
  4. Juno
  5. National Treasure: The Book of Secrets.

Cloverfield did as good as I thought it would, and 27 Dresses did better. This means I was 2 for 5, 46 for 115 after 23 weeks, and my accuracy percentage is 40%.
This is what I am predicting for this week:

  1. Cloverfield
  2. Rambo
  3. Meet The Spartans
  4. 27 Dresses
  5. The Bucket List

I think Rambo might have an outside chance to beat Cloverfield, and Meet the Spartans might duplicate Epic Movie’s number one debut, but I’m hoping the top five will look like this. What do you think?

About William Gatevackes 1952 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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