Weekend Preview – February 22, 2013

This weekend sees two wide releases – An alien thriller and drug dealer drama.  Should either be on your radar?

Dark Skies

Dark Skies Poster

Trailer

Combining horror and extra-terrestrial sci-fi, Dark Skies ventures into Alien territory, though it seems to focus more on the modern horror aspects than the science fiction in a story that seems lifted straight out of The X-Files.  When strange things – demonic possession type strange things – start happening to an innocent suburban family, they seek out the help of an expert in these things (J K Simmons).  He advises them that they are being terrorized by an encounter of the alien kind and there doesn’t seem to be anything they can do to stop it.

Looking to fill a niche that the recent influx of horror films hasn’t yet touched, Dark Skies looks like it could be a very successful experience for genre fans.  Then again, what looks suspenseful and frightening in the trailer may end up being nothing short of corny and over the top once played in context.  If you like horror and/or sci-fi thrills, Dark Skies might just be worth checking out.

It’s worth noting that the film is not being screened for critics, which could be an indication that the studio doesn’t have a lot of faith in it and are hoping to capture the needed audience opening weekend before word of mouth spreads.  Then again, this isn’t the type of movie most critics tend to love anyway.

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Snitch

Snitch Poster

Trailer

Inspired by true events, Snitch is the story of a suburban dad, turned undercover Narc in order to reduce the sentence for his son who made a bad call.  John Matthews (Dwayne, “The Rock”, Johnson) is a hardworking owner of a construction shipping company.  When his estranged son is busted accepting a package of Ecstasy from a friend, it looks like at least ten years of prison time.  Pressing the federal prosecutor (Susan Sarandon), Matthews convinces her to cut the sentence in exchange for his help tracking down and arresting some more relevant drug dealers than his son.  After all, with an election coming up, she could use the good publicity.

This is one of the most deceptively marketed films in recent memory.  From watching the trailers, anyone might easily assume this is two hours of The Rock beating up drug dealers with semi-trucks.  Something like a Fast and Furious spin off.  However, there are exactly two action sequences in the entire movie, and of those, only the finale really stands out.  It’s like a long episode of Law and Order, without the engrossing story.

You can read my full review here.  To summarize, I didn’t like it and found the story and script a bit flat and even boring at times.  However, as the reviews trickle in, it looks like there are enough people who liked it that you might too.  Just don’t go looking for action – you won’t find it.