1. Turbo (Opened Wednesday, Fox/ Dreamworks, 3,806 Theaters, 96 Minutes, Rated PG): So, the summer of CGI animated fare continues with this film, the latest from Dreamworks.
The film centers on a garden snail with the biggest dream of all–to race in the Indianapolis 500. This is hard to do consider it takes him the better part of a day to move across the sidewalk. Luckily, a freak accident occurs and he develops superspeed. His dream has gotten that much closer, but can he grab it in time?
Dreamworks has built up quite a good track record as a quality alternative to Pixar. But there are a lot of CGI animated kiddie flicks coming out. With Planes in the pipeline, logic dictates that one of them has to bomb at the box office. And this is a crowded weekend….
2. Red 2 (Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment, 3,016 Theaters, 116 Minutes, Rated PG-13): The first of two comic book themed films opening this weekend. I don’t know if that is a sign of the comic book film’s health, the high point that comes before the inevitable fall, or just savvy marketing for the weekend of San Diego Comic-Con.
The first Red was based on a Wildstorm comic book written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Cully Hamner. That series never got a sequel, but the film did. This one reunited the Retired, Extremely Dangerous team who must clear their name and find a missing nuclear device in Russia.
I do like how this series is shaping up to be a high-rent Expendables. I mean, this film loses an Oscar Winner (Morgan Freeman) from the last one but picks up two more (Anthony Hopkins & Catherine Zeta-Jones). I wish more action films had that pedigree.
And yes, I know that Mary-Louise Parker is the fourth-billed cast member. But I was having a hard time finding a poster that worked on the site and it’s Mary-Louise Parker. Get over it!
3. The Conjuring (Warner Brothers, 2,903 Theaters, 112 Minutes, Rated R): If every true story actually resembled the film based on it, I’d say the population of the world would be halved and fear of a nuclear Armageddon would take a backseat to fear of what is in the barn in the back of the house.
And it’s what’s in that barn that troubles the team of paranormal investigators (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson). Based on the case files from the 1970’s of a real pair of parapsychologists, the husband and wife duo investigate a haunting in a barn. What they find is an entity so evil and so powerful that they might finally have met their match.
The film reunites Wilson with his Insidious director James Wan, and has been getting a fair amount of buzz. And it is rated are as all good horror films should be. Maybe the fact that it provides a different form of entertainment than what is already in theaters will make it a success?
4. R.I.P.D. (Universal, 2,852 Theaters, 96 Minutes, Rated Pg-13): Okay, I just realized something. Mary-Louise Parker has a role in both the comic book films released this weekend. It’s like the fates got together and created a film weekend just for me!
This film has gotten tagged due to its similarities with Men in Black. While I called Pacific Rim being compared with Transformers unfair, this time the comparison is valid.
Both films were adapted from obscure comics published by independent publishers (Although Dark Horse is much bigger than Aircel). Both feature a cocky, street wise cop (Ryan Reynolds in the Will Smith role), who discovers a hidden crime-fighting organization with a predominantly white color scheme. He is partnered with an older partner played by an Oscar-winning actor (Jeff Bridges instead of Tommy Lee Jones) to patrol the Earth and keep it safe from unearthly menaces with powers greater than the human.
Of course, instead being cops who use alien technology to hunt aliens, they are dead cops who hunt spirits and other undead things.
The film still seems like a hoot, but it is the low film on the totem pole in a very crowded week. I see it getting lost in the shuffle.