In Theaters this Week (April 5-11)

I am not an expert on the horror genre nor do I want to be. I will very rarely review a horror movie; therefore, there will be no expectation of Evil Dead, which gets released on April 5th.

Expectation: 75/100

Expectation: 75/100

Danny Boyle is a great director.. Trainspotting, 127 Hours, and Slumdog Millionaire are all tremendous films; however, I don’t expect Trance to be on the same level as the three films previously mentioned. My opinion constantly changes on Rosario Dawson. There are times where I really like her, and there are times where I think she’s an atrocious actress. I like James McAvoy as an action hero, but as a dramatic actor, I am not convinced. We’ll see what they can bring as a team. The story looks new and fresh. Trance looks like it has some strong potential, but don’t expect it to be on the same level as some of Danny Boyle’s other films. Trance will be released on April 5th. Expectation: 75/100

Expectation: 75/100

Expectation: 75/100

Similar to what The Place Beyond the Pines has done.. The Company you Keep will also start in just 5 theaters, then get open in about 20 more, and then finally get a wide release. I have trouble understanding this marketing strategy, but this is what they are doing nonetheless. Robert Redford might be a legendary actor, but his directing is mediocre at best. With that being said, The Company you Keep does look like his most promising film to date. The cast is strong and the premise makes it look like an exciting thriller. Shia LaBeouf is disliked by many, but I tend to enjoy his work especially when he goes on the more dramatic route. The cast is extremely strong and The Company you keeps looks to be a promising thriller. To see when The Company you Keep opens near you click here Expectation: 75/100

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The Place Beyond the Pines opens in roughly 25 more theaters before finally getting a wide release on April 12th. To see if it is in a theater near you click hereI have already written a review for The Place Beyond the Pines. If you have not read it, click here

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The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

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Directed By: Derek Cianfrance 

Written By: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, and Darius Marder

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ryan Gosling, Emory Cohen, Dane DeHaan, and Ray Liotta

My hopes were very high when I went to see The Place Beyond the Pines. In fact, I was so excited about this film that I went to a matinee showing just hours after returning to Los Angeles from vacation. Let’s just say that I was disappointed…

Do not be fooled by the trailer.. it is very misleading. The film is divided into 3 acts. The trailer gives the viewer the premise for the first act and part of the second act; however, there is no hint of the third act seen in the trailer. There is no problem with a trailer not wanting to give away too much of the plot, but there needs to be some evidence of what you will get when you watch the whole movie (not just the first half). The movies starts out just as the trailer suggests with Luke (Ryan Gosling) as a motorcycle stunt driver that finds out he has a son with a woman that he previously had a fling with (Eva Mendes). In order to provide for his newly discovered son, Luke begins robbing banks, which ultimately leads him to a rookie police officer named Avery (Bradley Cooper). That’s the prologue for the first two acts.  The third and final act takes place fifteen years later. This act is basically about Luke and Avery’s sons when they go to high school, and how their paths intertwine.

The first problem I encountered with The Place Beyond the Pines was the lack of character development. There is no climax in the film because every character is seen in their climax, but characters are not shown at any other time. While this can be entertaining, it also leaves you sitting there watching the action without caring about any of the characters.  This happens with the first character, Luke, and continues as a pattern throughout the whole film.

The key issue that arises is the amount of content.. there is way too much. The story is actually very strong, but with this amount of quality content, filmmakers should not try to cram it into a 2 hour and 30 minute film. It would have been much better suited as a 6-8 episode miniseries. This would have allowed for character development as well as more detail and better dialogue in each scene. Instead the film feels rushed and overly rich with content. The story is so all over the place that by the time you get to the third act, you begin to check your watch to see when the madness will end.

Don’t take the negativity too harshly as ‘Pines’ definitely has its strengths. The performances are strong by everyone with Ryan Gosling being especially strong just as he was in Drive. Ray Liotta is convincingly intimidating in his role as a corrupt high-powered police official. Bradley Cooper is not at his strongest, but still manages to prove that he is a legitimate actor both dramatically and comedically. Eva Mendes is surprisingly convincing in her role, and does a great job as the only leading female. Dane DeHaan is full of talent, and expect to start seeing him more and more.

Overall, the story is highly entertaining and starts out very strong, but ultimately ends up way too off track for its own good. Don’t allow the deceptive trailer to fool you. For those of us that thought we were getting a Best Picture caliber film at the beginning of April were wrong, but if you rent this on a Wednesday night, I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed. It’s not a disaster, but it’s not the masterpiece that it was expected to be.

IMDb: 7.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 75/100

Metacritic: 64/100

Best Picture Movie Reviews: 75/100 (expectation 90/100)

In Theaters this Week (March 29-April 4)

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Expectation: 20/100

What was Paramount thinking? After the disaster that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was both critically (34% on Rotten Tomatoes) and financially (income of $150 million on a $175 million budget) one would think that they would realize that this whole G.I. Joe idea is one to throw away, but nope. After the June 2012 release date was pushed back to expand upon Channing Tatum’s character due to his new level of stardom, it was clear that there was very little faith in this film. Dwayne Johnson will continue to attempt (and fail) to prove himself as an action star. It looks like it will be more of the same for the G.I. Joe series (not a good thing), and all that we can do as viewers is hope that this is the last time Paramount wastes their money on this failed reboot of a previously successful franchise. G.I. Joe was cool in the 80’s, but not anymore.

Expectation: 40/100

Expectation: 40/100

Based upon a novel coming from one of the most famous modern authors, Stephenie Meyer, is The Host. What else did she write, you ask? Ever heard of Twilight? No way! Hold up, it can’t be that bad can it? I don’t think so. I’m not saying it will be good, but it would have to be quite the disaster if it ended up as bad (and successful) as Twilight. It will attempt to follow the same path as Twilight with the ” teen epic romance” genre, which is a disaster of a genre as it is (see: I am Number Four). At least it doesn’t have Kristen Stewart in it :p. I’m having trouble finding positive or negative things about The Host, so I expect it to be as mediocre as the prologue and trailer suggest it to be.

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Expectation: 10/100

What is Tyler Perry? Is he an overweight old woman? Is he a comedy writer? Or is he a dramatic director? Some would say all the above, but personally I think he should stick to being an old woman. The fact that he must put his name on everything that he does just shows how desperate he is for people to recognize him as a legitimate filmmaker. All of his films are embarrassments to the screens that they are shown on, and don’t expect Temptation to be any different. In fact, if it is different, it might even be worse. Keep trying Tyler, maybe you will finally make a film worth watching, but that film will not be Temptation. Actually, maybe he should just stop trying.

Expectation: 90/100

Expectation: 90/100

As I said in my previous edition of ‘In Theaters this Week’ my most anticipated movie of 2013 comes out this week. That movie is The Place Beyond the Pines. With my newfound respect for Bradley Cooper as an actor and my never-ending appreciation for Ryan Gosling, the cast looks very strong. The only questionable decision was the casting of Eva Mendes, but from what I’ve heard, she does a decent job in her role. The entire epic vision behind ‘Pines’ is really what gets me excited. I’m also a big fan of movies that take place over an extended period of time, and this film takes place over a 19 year period. Yes, the prologue and trailer did scream Drive to me too, but if you were to ask me what my favorite 2011 film was, it would be Drive, which makes the idea of “Drive with a twist” sound pretty damn good to me. Not to mention that Blue Valentine was a true piece of beauty, which makes director Derek Cainfrance’s name one that instantly grabs my attention. It should be noted that March 29th is the limited release (April 12th wide release), and it will only be playing in four theaters (two in LA and two in NYC).  I am fortunate to live within 4 miles of one of those four theaters, but I am on vacation in Chicago until Tuesday, so don’t expect a review until Thursday. I will be sure to also include this in my April 12th edition of ‘In Theaters this Week’.

An interesting fact is that my average expectation for March was a 47. All we can hope is that April is something that gets March out of our minds.

This week starts a string of three weeks in a row where there is a film that will have above a 75 expectation rating :D!