Friday, July 12, 2013

Is it Monsters vs. Robots or a limited release weekend?

Yes, there are two wide releases debuting today.

For the last three days Moviedozer has presented featurettes for Pacific Rim, director Guillermo del Toro's part homage and part grand vision of what he always dreamt a giant monsters vs. giant robots movie should be.

If that tweaks the kid inside of you (or your own kids), Pacific Rim is the movie to see this weekend. Really psyched? Then hit it in IMAX 3D and enjoy one of summer's biggest popcorn movies.

You can go back through this past week's columns to watch the featurettes, then hit the links here,  here and here for posts that include trailers, poster art and everything Pacific Rim.

The second wide release is a textbook example of what happens when bad movies make big money. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade reprise their roles in Grown Ups (grossing over $270 mil. since it's 2010 release), while basking in Sandler's penchant for gross-out humor with Grown Ups 2. Trailer not needed. If this is a ticket you're buying, you already know why you want to go. Just realize you're making it hard for the rest of us when we start debating whether Hollywood still makes great movies.

Which leaves us with a weekend filled with independent limited releases. Of the six or seven hitting theaters today, I've chosen three trailers to highlight with the first being Moviedozer's weekend pick.

Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company)

A true story based on events that occurred on New Year's Eve in 2008, Fruitvale Station was a featured selection at this year's Sundance Film Festival. First time feature director Ryan Coogler fields a cast led by Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.

The film was co-produced by actor Forest Whitaker. Fruitvale Station offers emotional, compelling drama and promises to be the "buzz" indy release as rolls out in limited release.

Pawn Shop Chronicles (Anchor Bay Films)

If broad comedy is on your to do list this week and you've already watched enough Adam Sandler repeats on cable, Pawn Shop Chronicles looks like a good bet to score a few laughs. With two caveats.

For one, Pawn Shop Chronicles seems like a really unfortunate choice for a title, far too close to sounding like a reality show rip-off on some obscure cable channel with no development budget. It's a title that could lose potential ticket buyers on first glance. Secondly, movies like these are exactly why subscribing to Hulu and Netflix seems so appealing.

Nonetheless, there's just enough unabashed craziness here to score a look-see and I'm not above recommending any comedy that counts Matt Dillion in its cast, sight unseen.

Killing Season (Millennium Films)

Not to immediately put a negative light on it, but I'm including Killing Season in today's post because of its cast. John Travolta and Robert De Niro are the only reasons I can imagine Killing Season could possibly draw an audience. I've included the trailer, so if you're at all inclined to buy a ticket to see either or both of these actors work their craft, perhaps you'll think again.

What's most troubling about Killing Season is Robert De Niro, slowly, but oh so steadily, allowing his stellar early career triumphs to turn to stone in the form of a statue honoring bad movies. One can imagine a Rocky-like figure of granite on the trashiest corner of hollywood, covered in graffiti, a palm out for the check, script be damned.

I join every other fan of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Casino, A Bronx Tale, Goodfellas, The Deer Hunter, The King of Comedy and Once Upon A Time in America, (it's a list as impressive as it is long, feel free to add your own favorites), in hoping for just one more project that will earn this man an Oscar run.

In the meantime, you have Killing Season to wrap your head around. Along with John Travolta's stilted Serbian accent.

As always, thanks to the studios and production companies for trailers and poster art.

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