1. Hotel Transylvania (Sony/Columbia, 3,349 Theaters, 91 Minutes, Rated PG): See, I’m conflicted about this one. I have a natural aversion to any film that features both Adam Sandler and David Spade in it, even if they are only providing voices. However, Genndy Tartakovsky has done Samurai Jack and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV cartoons, some quality stuff.
When it’s this much of a toss up,I go to the plot: Dracula’s idyllic life running a resort for monsters looking for a break from humanity comes to an end when his hotel is discovered by a human boy. No, it’s not that the secret is out, it’s because the boy develops feelings for Drac’s teenage daughter.
It is a unique twist on a rather common premise. But it’s also Sandler and Spade. If only there was a good time travel movie coming out this week instead.
2. Looper (TriStar, 2,992 Theaters, 118 Minutes, Rated R): What I love about this movie is that writer/director Rian Johnson came up with this film with the idea to cast his friend Joseph Gordon-Levitt. By some casting miracle, Bruce Willis decided to join the film as the future version of Gordon-Levitt’s character. One problem: They don’t look anything alike. So, even though he was with the project from the very beginning, Gordon-Levitt is the one going through hours of make-up to look like Willis and not the other way around, because, well, I guess Willis doesn’t wear make-up.
Of course, as good as the make-up is, it has the unfortunate disadvantage of having ample examples of how a younger Bruce Willis look easily available on Netflix. But Gordon-Levitt’s acting as a pseudo-Willis is spot on.
But what about the film? Oh, it is a futuristic thriller where Gordon-Levitt is a hitman for the mob. Only with a twist–the mob sends their victims back in time so there isn’t a dead body in their present day. Things go swimmingly until the assassin looks an older version of himself in the eye as his next victim.
3. Won’t Back Down (Fox, 2,515 Theaters, 121 Minutes, Rated PG): Let’s do the rundown, shall we? Hot button topic that is in the news today? Check. Two women fighting against all odds against an unmovable system? Check. Cast loaded with Oscar nominees and/or winners? Check. Based on a true story? Well, it says it was based on actual events, so, close enough. Check.
What we have here is an Oscar-bait movie that is also trying to be a financially successful film as well. Typically, films like these succeed in neither goal.
The film centers on a young mother (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who teams up with an educator (Viola Davis) to try to make their inner city school better.