New Releases: January 10, 2014

lone_survivor1. Lone Survivor (Universal, 2,876 Theaters, 121 Minutes, Rated R): You get the feeling that the powers that be expected this film to be an awards season favorite. Like Black Hawk Down and Zero Dark Thirty, it’s based on a true-life story of a military operation, and like the former, that operation goes bad. It details a mission where a Navy SEAL attack on a Taliban leader went awry and left only one survivor on the team.

It is loaded with an eclectic group of stars, many with Oscar pedigrees, and it obviously follows the small 2013 release/wide 2014 release that potential Oscar contenders follow.

However, the film hasn’t been getting too much love this season. Does this mean that it’s a bad film, or just not good enough to break through a busy awards season? Well, this week America will be able to find out.

Her_KA_R1_02_ps_f3.02. The Legend of Hercules (Lionsgate/Summit, 2,104 Theaters, 132 Minutes, Rated PG-13):Last year, it was “attacking the White House” movies. This year, it’s Hercules epics. Go figure. 

Coming up in July, Dwayne Johnson is playing the demigod in a Brett Ratner film based on a Radical Publishing comic book. But this week, Kellen Lutz gets a jump on him with a film directed by Renny Harlin.

Last year, the first White House flick (Olympus Has Fallen, ironically enough) gained the box office advantage over the similar, higher-star-powered film that came later. Will the situation repeat itself? Maybe, if anybody cares about Hercules at all anymore.

her_xlg3. Her (Warner Brothers, 1,729 Theaters, 126 Minutes, Rated R): Don’t get me wrong, I like quirky movies. Some of my favorite films are quirky movies. But I have a low tolerance for quirky.

Take for instance, this film. The plot is about a man who falls in love with his computer’s operating system. That’s a fairly odd premise, and quirky enough as it is.

But it wasn’t enough for Spike Jonze. He decides to give the man a goofy name (Theordore Twombly) and a goofy occupation (he writes love letters for people who are not in touch with their feelings).

Now, for many of you, this is not a big deal. But it irks me. For the quirky plot to work, the rest of the story elements have to be based in reality. I just like it better that way. Wackiness on top of wackiness dilutes the quirkiness for me, even if the extra wackiness is relatively minor as it is here.  You get away from the contrast a quirky film needs to excel.

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About Bill Gatevackes 2040 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken, and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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