Around the Multiplex: Don’t Divide Joyful Beauty Loosies to Talk Iron Albatross Contraband

So I picked a hell of a week to get back in this game: nine movies are coming out this weekend and we here at Worlds As Myth are going to judge whether they’re worth the price of admission (what’s the going rate on that now: a first-born son, right?), whether you should wait for it to come out on DVD, or just skip it all together – based on the TRAILER. No time to linger, we’re going to start pointing fingers.

For the sake of our sanity, we’ll go via the IMDB listing:

Contraband

An ex-smuggler gets pulled back into the life when his brother-in-law gets into some serious ish. Starring Mark Wahlberg (The Italian Job, The Happening) as said reformed runner, Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator, next week’s Underworld: Awakening) as the wife with the ne’er-do-well sibling, and Giovanni Ribisi (Boiler Room, Avatar) as the smuggler who’s gonna f– said ish up, this movie has action-adventure with chuckles written all over it. But possibly not for the reasons they think: let’s take a look at the video and talk in a second.

Did…did those guys wrap duct tape around their faces? Don’t they know how hard it is to get that stuff off? I hope they got paid more than the going extra rate – jeez. So that looks…like a really forced situation, a somewhat tired, told story (“Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!“) but with armored cars blowing up and (phony?!) money that can’t get wet. As I’ve said before, in previous Around the Multiplexes (go ahead, look them up), action movies are supposed to be judged on a different scale, but this thing looks like it’s trying to tell a story (they even got a hell of a cast involved: Ben Foster (Liberty Heights, Pandorum) and J.K. Simmons (Spidermans 1-3, Oz) in on the mix) so forget that. I’m giving this a one-out-of-five Kate Beckinsale not in spandex (we’ll see you next week Kate) for seeing it in theaters and three-and-a-half-out-of-five lackeys wrapped in duct tape for seeing Contraband on Netflix.

That was easy! Only…eight more to go. Can I get a Hallelujah! because we’re moving onto:

Joyful Noise

A Gospel choir gets some much-needed soul infusion from an unexpected source (a white Hispanic boy?) in this RAUCOUS comedy (you can tell it’s going to be funny because I put “raucous” in capital letters) starring Queen Latifah (Chicago, Bringing Down the House), country singer Dolly Parton (Slipstream, uh…The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), and Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, 12 Angry Men). Rounding out the cast is a venerable “who’s that?” of young actors, including: Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee, Cleaner) and Jeremy Jordan (premiering in film here, and has previously been in an episode of Law & Order: SVU) as the love interests. Also in the cast is Jesse L. Martin (Rent, Law & Order). Jeez, man; who’s manning the bureau of the NYPD with all these cats here? Not exactly sure why it’s a Law & Order cross-over extravaganza up in Joyful Noise, but let’s get to the trailer.

Ah ha! She called Dolly Parton “Edward Scissorhands!” That’s just good times.

I wish you could see the look that I’m giving my computer screen right now, because that’s just nonsense. This story is hackneyed and feel-good and anyone who’s wondering what happens at the end watched Glee when they went to New York way too many times. I…uh…it was on Hulu and I’m from NY, so I…moving on.

I don’t know why they always give Courtney Vance the disciplinarian roles – he was great as…uhm…yeah – he gets disciplinarian a lot.

So – Joyful Noise. Yeah, I dunno, it looks like it’s trying to cash in (a little late I might add) on the Sister Act crowd. If you’re into choir-covers of pop songs from the 80’s then this might be for you, but otherwise I’m giving it a one-out-of-five “It’s too expensives” for seeing it in theaters and a two-out-of-five “Who knows what he’ll do nexts” (thanks Courtney! but I can kinda guess what’s gonna happen) for seeing it on TBS or whatever channel will be willing to air this thing.

Don’t look now but coming ’round the bend, already searing hot, it’s:

The Iron Lady

Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia, Sophie’s Choice) continues to capture the living embodiment of the people she portrays in this film about Margret Thatcher’s climb to the rank of the UK’s Prime Minister. By the way, she is one of that country’s most reviled PMs because of her military actions in the Falklands, and having been buddy-buddy with Ronald Reagan, she can’t be too-much loved by Meryl Streep, even if she is playing her as the hero of this story. The Iron Lady also features the lovable faces of Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and Richard E. Grant (Spice World, Withnail and I), playing respectively, Mr. Thatcher and Baron Michael Heseltine, the Defence Secretary responsible for Thatcher stepping down. We’ll have thoughts after the trailer.

Well, it certainly seems to have a lot more content than the first two entries combined: excellent cinematography; a compelling, historical story with an emphasis on feminism; and some seemingly powerhouse performances all around – even those bespectacled passersby in the hallway of the House of Commons are hella on their game…damn Englishmen. This one’s got Oscars written all over it (because Streep needs another nomination, let alone another Oscar – she’s going to need two separate wings of the house: one for her ego and the other for all that damn gold by the time she’s keels over from work-induced-exhaustion, like Seabiscuit…too much?).

At any rate this one sees from me a four-out-of-five “Lady Members” lonely chairs for seeing it in theaters and a five-of-five nearly deposed Prime Ministers for seeing it sometime before the Oscars roll around.

Roaring ’round the bend – whatever could that sound be? It sounds like the kid from The Chosen

Beauty and the Beast (3D Re-Release)

Okay, if you don’t know this movie you had a very deprived childhood. I grew up in a sheltered religious institution (see The Chosen link) that vilified all things movies and TV and every kid in that system got to watch this one. And now it’s coming out in 3D. Let’s take a look at trailer and get back to what’s rolling around my head.

Does this need to be in 3D? No. Disney has a habit of re-releasing stuff because they want to cash in on the theater experiences of their movies. And it works. 3D and a short film tacked on just makes sure they can charge more for the glasses and gets butts into those chairs. Films that aren’t shot native to 3D tend to look stupid (I’ll get to you in April about Titanic, James Cameron), so I give B&B3D a one-out-of-five talking candleabras for seeing in theaters and a four-out-of-five transforming powers of love for buying this version for your kids if you’ve got a 3D TV at home when it comes out on Blu-Ray, you rich bastard.

Enough squawking on this movie, let’s move onto the next:

Albatross

Finding limited release this weekend is an Irish flick about an aspiring, directionless, novelist who befriends a studious girl, then starts sleeping with her father. Drama ensues!

Starring Sebastian Koch (Unknown [“No kidding.” – Ed.], Black Book) as the seduced dad, Felicity Jones (Like Crazy, The Tempest) as the disenfranchised daughter, and Jessica Brown Findlay (English TV series Downtown Abbey, Misfits) as the slu…uhrm…novelist, this Emerald Isle art-housey flick has all the makings of a fine foreign affair, so to speak. I give Albatross four-out-of-five “Don’t tell my daughters” for seeing it if it’s playing in your area and four-and-a-half-out-of-five boobs for booze age-verifications for streaming on Netflix.

More than halfway there but we better run to the bomb shelter quick because it sounds like:

The Divide

How very àpropos that the Doomsday Clock got knocked forward a minute in the same week that a horror movie about a nuclear apocalypse hits the screen. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, Rocky Balboa) and Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens) don’t have enough pull, I think, with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist (or Hollywood for that matter! Zinger!) to have set this up. Let’s just chalk that up to really good timing.

Hey, look, it’s Courtney B. Vance again! Think he’ll have to tell anyone the way things are in this one? Still, it’s nice to see a black actor beside Samuel L. Jackson working. Anyway, this looks like a mash-up between an Outer Limits episode and Cube (except without the deathtraps): bunch of people locked up tight together as sanity and food rations start to slowly seep out of the group. That said – this looks awesome! I have to say that I have a soft-spot for sci-fi (“Really, get out!” “I know, it’s shocking, but totally true.”)

There’s a saying that humanity is three meals away from total barbarism and this movie seems to explore that concept with an interesting story and some very cool visual effects. Also, Milo gets set on fire, so how can I pass that up? The Divide, also featuring Rosanna Arquette (The Whole Nine Yards, Pulp Fiction), Ashton Holmes (A History of Violence, Smart People), Lauren German (Hostel: Part II, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) [“I wonder why they put her in a horror movie?” -Ed.]), and Michael Eklund (House of the Dead, 88 Minutes), gets from me four-and-a-half-out-of-five last cans of spam in the fallout shelter for seeing in theaters with a five-out-of-five holy shit, it’s Kyle Reese and he’s going psycho, for OWNING on DVD.

In fact, I’m gonna go to Amazon right now and pre-order this bad-boy…wait a minute, where’s my wallet? Oh no, it’s been jacked by:

Loosies

This one nearly got me to post an Around the Multiplex early (since it opened two days ago on 01/11/2012) but how would I have gotten a pithy title for the blog entry with just “Loosies”? Hmm? Want to answer me that? Bet you can’t, can you? Sorry, this article’s been going on for a while. Here – watch the trailer, I’ll be back after getting my blood sugar back up.

The title made me think of cigarettes, and that was totally on purpose. Then we get the double entendre of Peter Facinelli (Can’t Hardly Wait, The Twilight Movies [“Really?” -Ed.]) pickpocketing from people who handle their belongings loosely and because baby mama’s name is Lucy. Then at the end we get the big pay-off with him asking for a smoke. See – it all pans out. Anyway:

Lucy’s played by Jaimie Alexander (Thor, Kyle XY); the sergeant that had his badge ripped off is Michael Madsen (Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs), not acting here, this actually happened; and includes a cast containing Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix, Bound), Vincent Gallo (Buffalo 66, The Brown Bunny), and William Forsythe (The Rock, Raising Arizona). Hell of a cast for a movie that looks like it was shot on Digital8 – okay, not really, but it took a lot of research to even remember the name of that tape medium, so damn it, I’m sticking to it.

Not for nothing, I’m not actually offended by this movie. Looks like it has some moments – less impact-full or funny as the trailer would want to be, but it doesn’t seem like the worst movie to watch on a lazy Sunday. I’m gonna give Loosies three-out-of-five stolen cell phones for seeing it in theaters and four-out-of-five Joey “I’m Shitting My” Pants Over Those Stolen Diamonds for catching it when I can borrow it from the library.

Oh no, who’s that behind you!? Don’t look now but:

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Tilda Swinton (Constantine, Chronicles of Narnia), John C. Reilly (Boogie Nights, Magnolia), and Ezra Miller (Californication, the upcoming Perks of Being a Wallflower) star in this psychological thriller about an odd child that seeks revenge on his mom for raising him the way she did. Who hasn’t been there, right? Oh, so it’s just me and Minchin then is it? Okay, then prepare to be severely creeped out by the trailer.

The Scottish director of the film, Lynne Ramsay, seems to have taken a very long hiatus from film-making before returning to the work with this unsettling screen gem. With a very distinct, isolating feel to the cinematography and the chill-inducing arc of the story, We Need to Talk About Kevin has seemingly all the attributes to take on an American Psycho level of auteur favoritism, which is fitting, seeing as this one’s also based on an unsettling book. It also seems like the kind of movie that sticks to the cerebellum, so don’t watch it alone or with an asshole friend.

Let’s give this one four-out-of-five postpartum depressions for seeing on the big screen and five-of-five “sweet little boys” for catching it on at-home media, with the lights off, lazily rocking back and forth.

We’ve been plucking along at a steady pace, and that’s good because we’re almost at the end. We just need to pass this sign and we’re home-bound! What’s that read up ahead?

Don’t Go In the Woods

The one that sounds like an admonition against taking a dump where Yogi lives is actually the directorial debut from Vincent D’onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Men in Black). Starring Eric Bogosian (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Witch Hunt) and a bunch of people you’ve never heard of (seriously, even IMDB doesn’t know what these people look like – mostly), Don’t Go In the Woods seems like if Love’s Labour Lost had sex with Halloween: a group of young musicians cart off into the woods to work on their music, sans distractions. Girls show up and ruin everything. Then a serial killer starts offing them.

Nice, D’onofrio – seeing as you came up with the story: your head’s about as warm and fuzzy a place as it seemed in The Cell, isn’t it? Also – it’s a musical? This ought be interesting:

Combine campy and creepy and some rockin’ tunes and you got yourself a movie, mate. Yes, the acting (particularly from some of the starlets) is teetering dangerously from campy to terrifyingly bad, but that sort of shmaltze makes it all the more likely to end up a cult classic. Add in the D’onofrio fan-base (which includes myself) and you’re bound to see this one generating a lot of buzz once it hits DVD. It’s opening in limited release this weekend, so I’ll give it a four-and-a-half “that’s kinda creepy…no cell phones!” for seeing it on the screen if it’s playing near you and five-of-five “So write and we’ll have fun, what’s the big deals?” for buying it on DVD.

And there you have it: your most jam-packed Around the Multiplex to date. May your popcorn stay buttery, your soda as fizzy as if it were just poured, and hope you have a great time this weekend at the movies!

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