This week, When in Rome and Edge of Darkness open nationally, while the movie I’m probably more interested in seeing, Saint John of Las Vegas, opens in LA and NY exclusively. We’re gonna give these trailers a once over and give our opinions on whether we’re excited to see any of these films in theaters and which ones look like utter rubbish and will get a definite pass on the Netflix queue.
- When in Rome has a bang-up cast with the likes of Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshal), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Anjelica Houston (Addams Family Values, The Royal Tennenbaums) and Dax Shepard (MTV’s Punk’d) – what these people are doing in a movie together, I’ll never know. Why? Because while the cast seems to be eclectic enough for my taste, and the story (girl with bad dating luck gets a 180 when she takes coins out a wishing fountain in Rome) seems reasonable for a girl-fantasy vehicle, it is the people behind the film that scream for me to save my money and my sanity. This movie was directed by Mark Steven Johnson, who has previously directed Ghost Rider, Elektra, and Daredevil and was penned by the team who brought you the steaming pile called Old Dogs (David Diamond and David Weissman, hereafter not referred to at all, but if I were going to, I’d call them D-Squared); that’s what’s known in the industry as a trifecterate (patent pending). I give this film two Popes down on watchability in or out of theaters, and let’s let the trailer speak explain why.
- Mel Gibson continues his film career motif of constantly emulating Jesus in Edge of Darkness (“You had better decide if you’re hanging on the cross or banging in the nails” -see trailer) wherein he plays a detective investigating the death (murder?)…death of his activist daughter, thereby turning up facets of her life that lead to evidence of corporate espionage and a government cover-up. I’m sorry, did I finish that sentence? I dozed off in the middle of it. This movie sounds insipid and rote enough for me to say “pass” on the premise alone, forgetting completely about Mel Gibson’s explosive personality (…that DUI has been expunged from his record?!? Most emphatically, W.T.F.?). Directed by Martin Campbell, who’s set to direct the upcoming Green Lantern and seems to have wrangled an exemplary Director of Photography in Phil Meheux for Edge of Darkness, this movie definitely gets two breathalyzers down for feeling the need to see in theaters, though we all know there’s a movie I just cannot pass up on the big screen. That’ right, the new Karate Kid.
- Saint John of Las Vegas Director, Hue Rhodes (Tower of Babel), returns after a three-year hiatus from the position to assemble a stellar cast (Steve Buscemi (Big Fish, Reservoir Dogs), Romany Malco (The 40 Year Old Virgin), Sarah Silverman (Greg the Bunny), Peter Dinklage (Elf, the impending HBO series, Game of Thrones), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Thou?), and John Cho (Star Trek, Harold and Kumar…)) for what appears to be a very good film. Sure, we know the story of the gambler confronted with temptation, but Saint John of Las Vegas has beats and nuances that I’m sure to have never seen in celluloid. Certainly, living in Las Vegas gives me the advantage of “Hey! I know exactly where they are that’s on Trop and Valley View!” but I have a strong inclination to see this when it opens to a wider audience on February 12th, primarily for its unique style – namely none of what is ubiquitously in theaters (see above). This one gets two stripper poles up for seeing it on the big screen.