1. Paranormal Activity 3 (Paramount, 3,321 Theaters, 85 Minutes, Rated R): The first Paranormal Activity came out of nowhere and became a big hit. This of course meant sequels or, in this case, prequels.
The problem with that in this case is the plot gimmick made the original so shocking–the horror being played out “cinema verite” like in home videos–becomes harder and harder to accept. One familiy video taping their house is believable. Every other time it is employed, it feels cheap and more like the gimmick it is.
This time around, the story goes back to 1988 and focuses on Katie and Kristi as children. We see how the demonic involvement got started, and most likely a number of scene of demonically possessed children. Someone should call an exorcist, or the producers of The Exorcist.
2. The Three Musketeers (Summit Entertainment, 110 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I’m sure Alexandre Dumas thought back in 1844 when wrote the story that someday, someday, there would be motion pictures and, after that, the ultimate film adaptation of his work would arrive. One that would replace his swashbuckling with slow-motion bullet time visuals, explosions and over the top special effects. Oh, and shot in 3-D.
Well, Mr, Dumas, that day has arrived.
The story of the Three Musketeers has been good enough just as it was for scores of movies. It really doesn’t need the Matrix-as-if-done-by-Michael-Bay treatment.
3. Johnny English Reborn (Universal, 1,551 Theaters, 101 Minutes, Rated PG): I have had the distinct misfortune of being first introduce to Rowan Atkinson through Mr. Bean and not through Blackadder. Therefore, unlike many other FBOL staffers, I have an aversion to him and his work. I detest Mr. Bean so much that I still haven’t seen Blackadder, even though many in my circle of friends say it’s great.
While my dislike for him is a matter of personal taste, I will readily admit that he plays the bungling fool well. This week marks a return of Atkinson’s bumbling James Bond spoof Johnny English to theaters.
Not to say that any film released in more than 1,500 theaters could be considered buried, but Universal has been a little lax on the promotion of this film. I didn’t even realize it was coming this week at all.