Weekend Preview – March 1, 2013

March starts off with a bang with four wide releases competing for your box office dollars, though none of them seem destined to make a terribly loud noise.

21 and Over

21 and Over Poster

What would happen if the writers of The Hangover wrote Project X with some Harold and Kumar thrown in?  Apparently this movie.  When studious Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) is facing both his 21st birthday and an important med school exam his friends (Skylar Astin and Miles Teller) make it clear to him which of the two is more important.

What follows is a tale of partying to the movie extreme, sure to be filled with embarrassment, debauchery, drunkenness, racism, and all those other things that apparently make for awesomeness and laughs.  You either like this kind of movie or you don’t.  There’s little chance it will make much of a splash before being shuffled off to the five dollar bin, destined to be watched by people under the influence of alcohol and the delusion that they are having the type of good time being had on screen.  I guess I could be wrong, but probably not.

Trailer:

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Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer Poster

After a number of delays and a name change (It was originally called Jack the Giant Killer), Bryan Singer‘s reimagining of the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk is finally coming to theaters.

The story begins with an account of events that have, at this point, faded into legend.  Many years ago, in an attempt to reach Heaven, a sect of monks used dark magic to grow a beanstalk into the sky.  Think Tower of Babel, but greener.  Instead of Heaven, though, they reached a land in between, inhabited by fierce giants.  A war was waged for control of the earth below, and only ended when a magical crown was forged that allowed the giants to be forced back where they came from.  The beanstalk was destroyed and the crown and beans were lost to time and legend.

Fast forward an unnamed number of generations and we meet Jack (Nicholas Hoult), the quintessential farm boy, and Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), a princess who is the medieval twin sister of Disney’s Jasmine.  It’s pretty obvious from the get-go just what kind of adventure the two of them are going to have.

I ended up quite enjoying this one would recommend it as a bit of great escapism.  It’s pleasant family fare, though some parts may be a bit disturbing for the youngest crowd.  It does have a (soft) PG-13 rating after all.  It’s not high cinema, or the blockbuster of the year, but it is completely and thoroughly enjoyable.  It doesn’t play up needless drama, the story is easy to understand and chugs along at a good pace.  One recommendation I would make is to avoid the 3D.  It darkened the scenes considerably and in most instances didn’t add much to the experience.  In some cases it just looked bad.

Read my full review here.

Trailer:

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The Last Exorcism Part II

The Last Exorcism Part II Poster

I’ve seen few possession movies, but enough to know they don’t appeal to me.  The first Last Exorcism (hmm, because that makes sense to say) did quite well apparently, warranting this sequel.

Picking up where the previous installment ended, Nell (Ashley Bell) is found in the woods with little memory of what happened.  Too bad for her and those around her, she’s about to be reminded.  Turns out that demon hasn’t given her up quite yet and has some pretty horrific plans for her.

I won’t lie, this looks pretty creepy – if you are looking to be scared by demonic possessions on screen, this will probably do the trick, but I think I’ll pass.

Trailer

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Phantom

Phantom Poster

Every so often a submarine drama floats across the sonar.  They can’t all be The Hunt for Red October though.  Phantom is loosely based on true events and tells the story of a Russian submarine captain (Ed Harris) struggling to prevent World War III from being started when his mission is commandeered by a KGB agent (David Duchovny) and his men.

The trailer doesn’t look too bad other than the fact that the story feels very familiar, and the fact that neither Duchovny nor Harris seem to remember they are playing Russians.  Though I guess that’s better than making every scene comical by completely botching the accent *coughHarrisnFordAndLiamNeesoncough*.  The reviews so far are not pretty but I have a feeling it’s only half bad.  The good half is probably better seen on DVD though than in the theater.

Trailer