Good Friday (oops, that was totally accidental), everyone. The Fat Tuesday spirit is now gone, no more flaming skull heads riding motorcyles for us. Nope, it’s just Tyler Perry films and fish out of water comedies. They are making us give up Nic Cage for Lent and I just can’t stand it. This weekend we have ensemble comedy “Wanderlust,” one Mister “Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds” and a few other curios and offerings for your cinematic palate.
Doesn’t it feel like we’ve been hearing about “Wanderlust” FOH-EVA? Didn’t they shoot this like 5 years ago? Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd play neurotic New Yorkers who end up at Alan Alda‘s hippie commune. Justin Theroux (Jen’s boo, but you knew that), Malin Akerman, Joe Lo Truglio, Kerri Kenney, Kathryn Hahn and others co-star as the far-out denizens of said commune, while Ken Marino and Michaela Watkins steal the show as Rudd’s asshole bro and his wife. This is the first time collabo of director David Wain and uber-comedy-producer Judd Apatow, and our review says the comedy “definitely doesn’t rewrite the rules of comedy or the vulgar/sweet idiom that Judd Apatow has cultivated over the years, but it’s also a bit more tart, and in that way a bit more David Wain,” and is “a mix of good-natured and congenial spirit, plus some good dick gags and LSD-soaked absurdist moments.” Rotten Tomatoes: 57% Metacritic: 51
You know what time it is! Tyler Perry Studios Presents: A Tyler Perry Production of a Tyler Perry Play, Starring Tyler Perry, Written and Directed by Tyler Perry in “Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds“! I know, that joke is way old, but I, for one, do NOT get tired of it. Erm, I’m going to assume there’s a message about Jesus in this one… but basically the gist is that Tyler Perry plays a business man whose life is changed when he helps a cleaning woman who happens to look like the luminous Thandie Newton. Uh huh. Co-starring Gabrielle Union, Eddie Cibrian, Rebecca Romijn and Jamie Kennedy (did they throw a dart board at a poster of 90s teen idols to cast this thing?) RT: 33%
Navy SEALs actioner “Act of Valor” opens this weekend, and YES THOSE ARE REAL NAVY SEALS IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD. Our review says the film “lacks the human element to make us root for its heroes; instead the film drowns in gunfire, and mantras take the place of dialogue. We can’t even cheer on our lead characters, none of whom are given any personality beyond the film’s initial exposition. It’s a nihilist’s approach to filmmaking, common to modern American cinema in that it wants shit to blow up good, but doesn’t care about why, or what, the repercussions might be.” RT: 27% MC: 43
Opening in limited release before platforming to more cities in the coming weeks is “On the Ice,” a thriller shot on location in Alaska with non-professional actors about a tragic accident that sends three friends into turmoil. Our review from IFF Boston says the debut feature from Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, “is a small film worth seeing, simply for the chemistry between Irelan and Patkotak as best friends and the exposure to a new environment.”
“Maria Full Of Grace” director Joshua Marston returns with his second feature, “The Forgiveness of Blood.” This time he leaves the environs of South America to explore a blood feud in Albania. Our review says the film is “a very solid piece of work,” and, “has an extremely grounded feeling that you don’t generally get with dramas or thrillers — most feel put together in a petri dish, either a concoction with overly familiar elements or a collection of histrionic moments assembled to easily stir audience members. This film steers clear of that nonsense, and by the time it wraps to an emotional ending in its own terms, you’ll be glad it did.” RT: 86% MC: 70
Screenwriter Stuart Beattie writes and directs “Tomorrow, When the War Began,” a sort of Australian “Red Dawn” for the 21st century. A group of teens go on a camping trip only to discover their homes and families under siege when they return, and it’s only a matter of time before they fight back. Our review says, “is a satisfying slice of young adult cinema, more engaging and enigmatic than the first three “Twilight” movies and able to produce an air of uniqueness in an overtly familiar, sci-fi-ish scenario,” and is “fast-paced and genuinely entertaining, and its inherently Australian attitude gives it some much-needed edge.” RT: 63% MC: 55
Um, where the shit did this movie “Gone” with Amanda Seyfried come from? Basically, it’s “Taken,” with Amanda getting her Liam Neeson on to look for her sister. It didn’t screen for critics, so yeah, make of that what you will.