The Weekender: Dark days, bright nights


Green Lantern
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard
Story by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim
Screenplay by Berlanti & Green and Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg
Directed by Martin Campbell
I could end up being dead wrong, but this still looks like thoroughly entertaining, if not exactly super, summer escapism. The origin story tends to be bogged down with explanations and backstory, but with Ryan Reynolds in the lead, it looks like all the requisite stuff will be a breeze. As a fan of Reynolds’ extreme sarcasm/rugged good looks/star charisma, I think he can tackle most projects, even with one that has this dense a mythology. Long story short: reckless but ambitious pilot Hal Jordan gets recruited to join the Green Lantern Corps, a sort of intergalactic army. Earth is in imminent danger and all that, but everything will be OK in the end, right?

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Starring Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Clark Gregg
Written for the screen by Sean Anders & John Morris and Jared Stein
Directed by Mark Waters
If you had told me six years ago that Waters and Carrey would be teaming up for a movie–the former hot off Mean Girls, the latter off Eternal Sunshine–I would have been beyond excited. But now, seeing that they can only come up with an extremely basic, bland family comedy about a heartless guy who becomes a reluctant zookeeper–they even advertised it with “Ice Ice Baby”–I can only hang my head and wonder what happened to them.

The Art of Getting By
Starring Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano
Written and directed by Gavin Wiesen
Much like last week’s Submarine, this film has about a 50/50 shot of being humorous and touching or rote and depressing. I hope for the former, as my love of Emma Roberts grows every day and I want Freddie Highmore to join the ranks of Child Actors Who Made it by Taking Risks and Not Staying Pigeonholed. Here, the former chocolate factory tour winner plays a gifted but underachieving student who falls for Roberts, but has to, y’know, deal with tough life decisions, like which peacoat to wear to which house show or whether to live a vaguely bohemian lifestyle or become a conformist. It’s easy to be cynical about these indie rom-coms, but they still do a number on me.

Also opening:
Beautiful Boy (Angelika Dallas), The Trip (Angelika Dallas)

To rent:

Battle: Los Angeles
Yeah, District 9 was amazing. And, yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But that doesn’t mean you should go around trying to pull that off, especially when you end up looking like a video game. (And not one of the smart ones at that.)
(Redbox, Blockbuster Express, Family Video, Blockbuster)

Red Riding Hood
I would imagine if you’re going for an adaptation of a classic fairy tale, one of the words you’re not looking to describe it is “silly.” Unfortunately, that’s the biggest complaint of many in Catherine Hardwicke’s latest debacle. For those keeping score, she’s like a female M. Night Shyamalan in that her directing career started out promising but has steadily declined with each outing.
(FV, B)

Hall Pass
I suppose any Farrelly Brothers outing (aside from The Heartbreak Kid, which I have repeatedly heard described as “the worst thing I’ve ever seen” from many unfortunate souls) is superior to another straight-to-video American Pie sequel or something from Tyler Perry, but this seems like they’re just reaching here, with Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as two schlubs who get a week off from marriage only to realize the single life is 10 times worse.
(FV, B)

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son
You let this happen, America. Demand Martin Lawrence and Kevin James go back to making actually funny movies like they used to!
(BE, FV, B)

To buy:
Music: Foo Fighters: Back and Forth
TV: Man v. Food (Season 3)
Blu-ray: The Makioka Sisters (Criterion Collection), Insignificance (Criterion Collection), Heavy Metal, Johnny Mnemonic

On TV:
HBO: Inception
Showtime: stand-up
Starz: Salt, Resident Evil: Afterlife
TCM: Bringing Up Baby (The Essentials)

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