It’s spring cleaning time as we have five, count ’em, five new releases dumped on us this week. One might be even worth seeing!
1. Unforgettable (Warner Brothers, 2,417 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated R for sexual content, violence, some language, and brief partial nudity, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 28% Fresh [39 reviews]): Remember when Katherine Heigl had a bright future doing romantic comedies? Then she started complaining and got the reputation of being difficult? Then her career suffered because of it?
Well, she’s back and starring in a genre film that isn’t really much better for women than Knocked Up was–the psycho spurned lover genre. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s playing the psycho. I think she owes Judd Apatow another apology.
Anyway, if you like these kind of movies, well, it is one of those kinds of movies.
2. The Promise (Open Road Films, 2,251 Theaters, 132 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic material including war atrocities, violence and disturbing images, and for some sexuality, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 45% Fresh [49 reviews]): I’m not a big fan about romances being set during times of war and turmoil, and there are a lot of them. I guess its away to put barriers up for true love, but I figure that the horrors of war make romantic squabbles seem small.
Case in point, this film. It is a love triangle set during World War I Armenia at the time of the Armenian Genocide. Millions of Armenians died or were exiled during the period. It’s kind of hard to be interested in Mikael (Oscar Isaac) pining for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon) when his family and everyone he grew up with get massacred.
The film does have a good cast, but the story is harrowing and serious enough that it really doesn’t need a love story to bring people in.
3. Phoenix Forgotten (Cinelou Films, 1,588 Theaters, 80 Minutes, Rated PG-13, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: N/A [No reviews compiled at press time]): Stop me when this starts sounding familiar. 20 years ago, a young woman and two young men travel into the wild to investigate a mysterious occurrence. They are never seen again but their footage survives. What the film shows is the trio’s falling apart as strange thing start happening, and what they went to investigate could be quite real.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I present you with The Blair Witch Project. With Aliens. In Phoenix. Which I guess would make it The Phoenix Alien Project.
What they should have called it is Blatant Cash-Grab. With a $2.8 million budget, a no name cast, and a plot that resembles a much more popular film, the producers are trying to make as much money as quickly as they can. That’s why it hasn’t been reviewed. Why scary paying customers away?
4. Born in China (Disney, 1,508 Theaters, 76 Minutes, Rated G, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 78% Fresh [18 reviews]): Of all the new releases this week, this film was the one that was planned to be released on this date. While all the other films seem to be cast offs dumped out to an unsuspecting audience, this is Disney’s annual Earth Day nature documentary.
This year they go to China and snoop in on a snow leopard, a panda and a golden monkey–all with new offspring.
If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Family-friendly cuteness with a healthy dollop of educational value. And its the best bet of the week.
5. Free Fire (A24, 1,070 Theaters, 90 Minutes, Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexual references and drug use, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 69% Fresh [118 reviews]): Boston, 1978. A group of disreputable people head to a warehouse in order to buy guns. Tensions are high when the gun dealer bring the wrong arms to sell. A grudge by a member one group against a member of the other group cause a gun fight to develop.
Soon, the deal goes sour and allegiances fall apart. It becomes a war of attrition with the chances of anyone walking out alive becoming slim.
I’m a fan of action films, especially ones with their tongues firmly in their cheeks. The film has a great cast and could be a lot of fun.
Next week, the new releases return to a manageable level–three, most notably The Circle.