1. The Pink Panther 2 (Sony/Columbia, 3,243 Theaters, 92 Minutes, Rated PG): True story, my niece rented the first Steve Martin Pink Panther film and was greatly disappointed. The pink animated cat never showed up. I wonder how many other kids had the same thing happen to them.
Yes, the needless remake gets a sequel. This time the Pink Panther diamond is stolen and a group of international detectives is on the case. Bumbling Clouseau also is on the case, and his incompetence supposedly creates hilarity.
If I seem dismissive of this remake franchise, well, I am. I have a lot of respect for Steve Martin as a comedian, but he’s no Peter Sellers. This was a series that really didn’t need to be remade because there would be no way they could capture Sellars’ magic.
2. He’s Just Not That Into You (Warner Brothers/ New Line, 3,175 Theaters, 129 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Well, this film certainly took its time being released. I remember seeing ads for this early last year. Usually, it taking that long would be a bad sign.
But how could this movie be trouble? It’s based on a popular, Oprah-friendly, albeit non-fiction, book. And the cast? One Oscar Winner, two solid HBO stars, four or five people who have blockbuster hits under their belts, and at least six actors or actresses who were lead in at least one other movie. This is an all-star ensemble if there ever was one.
But maybe the book, a self-help relationship guide, really doesn’t work as a movie, which seem not to follow the tenents of the book but rather uses the title as a catch all for some generic relationship humor.
3. Push (Summit Entertainment, 2,313 Theaters, 111 Minutes, PG-13): Yes, a comic book movie not based on a comic book. Sure, if you went into a comic book store, you’d find a Push comic, but it’s a tie-in, not the original source material.
And that’s a sure sign of the success of the genre. For you non-fans of the superhero film, it will probaly get much worse before it gets better.
The story is about a group of people with great mental powers who are on the run from the US Government. The Government wants to use them as weapons, they just want to be left alone. If they want their freedom, however, they are going to have to fight for it.
4. Coraline (Focus Features, 2,298 Theaters, 101 Minutes, Rated PG): With all the troubles Watchmen has been having, all the attention has been on Alan Moore. But another British comics bard has been having his fair share of film adaptations made.
Granted, Coraline was a novel from Neil Gaiman, not a comic. But he is one of the best writers to ever come out of comics. And the story is close enough that us comic fans will claim it as out own.
The story focuses on a girl who escaped through a hole in the wall to an alternate dimension. There she finds a carbon copy of her life, only better. However, it doesn’t stay that way for long, and she soon finds herself in great peril.
The movie is done in the stop motion animation style of a la Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach. I always thought this type of filmmaking was a perfect match for Gaiman’s writing. I would love to see a Sandman movie done in this style.