1. Saw VI (Lionsgate, 3,036 Theaters, 90 Minutes, Rated R): If Detroit took a cue from the Saw franchise, there would be no need for a bailout for the automotive industry. Because this franchise is on automatic and it keeps churning out 90 minute horror films year after year with no end in sight, unfortunately.
The plot is that people get killed in cruel and sadistic ways. Usually they have done something to deserve it, or have to make a gut-wrenching decision to avoid their fate. Or something like that.
There is also a “mythology” about the original killer dying and passing on his legacy to a bunch of other people, although he still appears in every sequel even though he’s been dead for about four of them.
Yeah, if you couldn’t guess, I am not a fan of the series. I really wish that it would just slowly fade away into obscurity like the rest of the torture porn genre. Maybe this time we’ll be lucky.
Astro Boy is Osamu Tezuka’s masterpiece. It first hit Manga way back in 1952 and its first cartoon aired in 1962. Think of the character as sort of being, in terms of cultural impact, Japan’s Superman.
It was one of the earliest examples of Manga/Anime to hit U.S. shores. So, there is a lot of historical baggage with this adaptation.
The story in a nutshell is Pinocchio for the Atomic Age. A scientist whose son dies creates a robotic replacement. The robot has extraordinary superpowers, which he uses to keep the planet safe.
Of course, it is a little deeper than that. The original work also dealt with things like abandonment, never being good enough for the high standards of a father figure, and finding acceptance for who you truly are.
Whether any of this carries over to the kidified, Americanized version, is anybody’s guess. But if they don’t, this this version of the story will be lacking.
3.Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (Universal, 2,754 Theaters, 108 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Okay, I’ll say it. John C. Reilly makes a really unusual looking vampire. And I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.
Now, it’s not that I expect every vampire to look like Bela Lugosi or, ugh, Robert Pattinson. But Reilly really doesn’t strike me as the kind of vampire who could actually convince fair maidens to partake of his particular version of eternal life. I’m just saying.
Adapted from the 12 -book series (and supposedly it adapts the first three), it features a teen who runs of to join the circus. However, the circus he runs out and joins is run by a vampire. The price he has to pay for joining the circus? Becoming a half-vampire and become and assistant to the head vampire.
There is a pretty good cast attached to this, but kid lit adaptations other than Harry Potter have a hard time of it on the silver screen. Let’s see if this one is any different.
Just like stores put out Christmas decorations earlier and earlier each year, so Hollywood does with the Oscar bait. And this one features someone who has already won the award twice.
You can have many long discussions about which Oscar winner is the least deserving. But in my opinion, there is only one, two-time Oscar winner you could add to that list. And that is Hilary Swank.
In the few films I’ve seen her in, it always seems that you can tell that she is acting. I don’t really believe she is really the character, but always just pretending to be the character.
Of course, her Oscar roles are were both Oscar favorites–women who struggle against all odds to succeed in what they want to be, and SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!, both die in the end. That’s like molding an Oscar for yourself.
And this role has Oscar bait written all over it. It’s a real person who meets a mysterious yet probably tragic end. I hope we won’t see Swank at the Oscar telecast next year, but odds are we will.