1. Gamer (Lionsgate, 2,502 Theaters, 95 Minutes, Rated R): With the intense popularity of video games and the repeated attempts to adapt video games for the screen, it was only a matter of time before someone made a movie like this one. Of course, the fact this one isn’t the most original one to begin with makes me wonder why it didn’t come sooner.
This tells the tale of a futuristic society where prisoners are able to fight for their freedom by competing in sort of a live action video game. Prisoners are controlled by outside “gamers” and if they win 30 of their fights, they can go free.
Replace “video game” with “game show,” forget the puppet like control aspect, and replace Gerard Butler with Arnold Schwarzenegger and you come pretty close to 1987’s The Running Man. Well, if you haven’t seen it before, then it’s new to you.
2. All About Steve (FOX, 2,251 Theaters, 98 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Wow. You’ve got to hand it to Sandra Bullock. She has built a long and successful career playing strong and intelligent female protagonists. Now, when many other female stars of her age are either fading into obscurity or moving onto Oscar fare, Bullock is trying to go the goofy comedy route playing a woman who would embarrass every other character Bullock ever played.
Maybe it’s the fact that the film sat on a shelf for nearly two years or the poorly photoshopped poster to the left, but I’m not sure this film is going to be all that funny. I could be wrong, but judging by the ads I’ve seen, I’m probably not.
Whether this film does well at the box office or not (and it might, Bradley Cooper is hot of the smash, The Hangover, and could carry some of that success over), you have to feel sorry for Thomas Hayden Church. He’s only four years removed from an Oscar nomination and two years removed from starring in the biggest block buster of that summer and now he’s doing stuff like this. Lo, how the might have fallen.
3. Extract (Miramax, 1,611 Theaters, 91 Minutes, Rated R): Mike Judge might have the realm of television under his domination, with Beavis and Butthead still considered cultural icons to this very day and King of the Hill set to end its 13 season run, but his road in feature films has been a rough one.
It started out well. Not a box office success by any means, Office Space became a quotable cult hit on DVD and cable. But his follow up to that, Idiocracy was left for dead by its studio and made no impact at all.
It appears that Judge is going back to basics, movie away from the obtuse satire of Idiocracy and going back to the problems of an everyday man wrestling with problem outside of his realm of control that made Office Space so popular. Will this give the writer/director a career if film like the one he enjoys in TV? Time will tell.