This week at the movies, we’ve got Sunday shoe removal (Footloose, starring Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough), an Antarctic abomination (The Thing, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton), and a bird watching competition (The Big Year, starring Jack Black and Owen Wilson). What do the critics have to say?
Did the world really need a new Footloose? Apparently yes, say critics, who find this update of the 1984 musical smash an energetic, toe-tapping good time. Kenny Wormald stars as the new kid in a town that has banned loud music and dancing. Can our hero melt the cold hard of Rev. Moore – and woo his daughter (Julianne Hough) in the process? The pundits say the plot is as silly as ever, but the exuberant cast and the high-energy production numbers make for a giddy night at the movies. (Check outQuaid’s best-reviewed movies, as well as director Craig Brewer’s Five Favorite Films.)
Remake fever has spread to even the most desolate corners of the globe; unfortunately, critics say the all-new The Thing ODs on CGI mayhem, eschewing the chilling atmospherics that made its 1951 and 1982 predecessors so memorable. Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as a paleontologist who joins a research team that has discovered an alien craft buried in Antarctica — and soon, the base camp is bedeviled by a terrifying life form. The pundits say The Thing is slicker and more effects heavy than past versions, but it lacks a strong sense of storytelling.
A languidly-paced comedy with a terrific cast, The Big Year isn’t always laugh-out-loud funny, critics say, but patient viewers may find it amusing in fits and starts. Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin star as a trio of rival birders who set out on a mission to observe the rarest feathered creatures in the wild – and deal with their personal issues in the process. The pundits say The Big Year is amiable and appealing, but its slow pace and lack of momentum makes it only occasionally funny.
Also opening this week in limited release:
- Pedro Almodóvar‘s The Skin I Live In, starring Antonio Banderas in a thriller about a plastic surgeon who tests an experimental form of skin on a kidnapped woman, is Certified Fresh at 82 percent.
- To Be Heard, a documentary about high school poetry writers in New York City, is at 80 percent.
- Chalet Girl, a comedy about an ex-skateboarder who gets a job at a posh ski resort, is at 79 percent.
- The Woman, a horror film about a man who discovers a feral woman living in isolation in the woods near his house, is at 77 percent.
- Bombay Beach, a surrealistic documentary about the eccentric residents of the Salton Sea, is at 57 percent.
- Texas Killing Fields, starring Sam Worthington and Chloe Moretz in a thriller about a detective on the trail of a serial killer, is at 50 percent.
- Fireflies in the Garden, starring Julia Roberts and Ryan Reynolds in a generation-spanning drama about a family dealing with tragedy, is at 24 percent (check out co-star Hayden Panettiere’s Five Favorite Films here).
- Trespass, starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman as an upper-crust couple besieged by home invaders, is at 19 percent (check out director Joel Schumacher’s Five Favorite Films here).
- Father of Invention, starring Kevin Spacey and Heather Graham in a dramedy about an infomercial guru who’s fallen on hard times, is at zero percent.