A heavily-hyped adaptation of a classic sci-fi book headlines this week’s lackluster New Releases.
1. A Wrinkle In Time (Disney, 3,980 Theaters, 109 Minutes, Rated PG for thematic elements and some peril, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating at press time: 42% Fresh [149 Reviews]): Oh, I have a bad feeling about this.
Now, I have never read the book, so this isn’t fanboy outrage talking because the film doesn’t live up to my imagined ideal of what the film should be. But this film doesn’t look very good.
From the ads and trailers I’ve seen, this film appears to be the classic case of style of substance. So much effort was put into to making the movie look mind-blowing that little attention was given to making the performances believable. And considering there are a lot of complex and trippy concepts at play here, that lack of focus could be deadly.
And I think Disney knows this, considering how hard they are promoting it. After all, there are four more books featuring these characters and they don’t want the franchise to be dead on arrival. But if you have a kid who watches the Disney Channel, then you’ll know that they promote the film there at least 20 times per hour. And that is only a slight exaggeration.
And then you have the poster to the left. The film’s protagonist, Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is shuttled off to the side. Who is front and center? Oprah Winfrey, surely in an attempt to appeal to her large and incredibly loyal fan base, a fan base that is nowhere near the target audience for the film.
But Disney promotional brainwashing might be working. Might daughter was kinda “meh” about the film at the start of the advertising blitzkrieg. Now she wants to see it. Ugh.
2. The Strangers: Prey At Night (Aviron, 2,464 Theaters, 85 Minutes, Rated R for horror violence and terror throughout, and for language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating at press time: 38% Fresh [42 Reviews]): Ah, horror movies. The only genre where you can come out with a sequel ten years later with a new and slight less impressive cast and open on almost 2,500 screens.
This time, the mask wearing home invaders stalk a family who decided to take a vacation in deserted trailer park. Stabbing and slayings ensue.
I feel the need to tell you that the “Based on True Events” tag is a bit misleading. No, this isn’t based on any one event. Actually, it was inspired by the Manson Family slayings and a number of break-ins the makers of the first movie knew of. So, go right ahead and vacay in that deserted trailer park to reconnect as a family. I’m sure you’ll be just fine.
3. Gringo (STX Entertainment, 2,404 Theaters, 110 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout, violence and sexual content, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating at press time: 34% Fresh [61 Reviews]): David Oyelowo makes his second appearance in this week’s new releases (he is also in A Wrinkle in Time).
He plays an employee of a Big Pharma company who stages his own kidnapping in order to cash in on the $2 million insurance policy his company has on him. Plans go awry when he really is kidnapped and the only insurance company his employers send is a washed-up ex-mercenary (Sharito Copley)
The film bills itself as a dark comedy caper and has a cast that is eclectic but good. Something must have really gone off the rails to get that bad of a review.
4, The Hurricane Heist (Entertainment Studios, 2,402 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence, action, destruction, language and some suggestive material, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating at press time: 30% Fresh [10 Reviews]): If you are thinking to yourself, “Hey, wasn’t there another bad weather heist movie a couple years ago”, you’d be right if you consider 20 a “couple of years”. That film you are thinking of was 1998’s Hard Rain.
This films ups the ante considerably. Instead of $3 million dollars, it’s $600 million. And instead of a flood, it’s a Category 5 Hurricane.
The film has the lowest Tomatometer score of the week, but I don’t think it matters. The film isn’t trying to be Oscar worthy. It means to be a campy, fun high-concept heist movie. And if the trailer is any indication, it succeeded.
Next week’s new release bring back Lara Croft to raid some tombs and fight off all box office challengers. See you then.