This Weekend At The Movies (Nov. 4-6)

A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS

(MP’s PICK OF THE WEEK)

Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson. Starring John Cho, Kal Penn, Thomas Lennon, Danny Trejo, Patton Oswalt, David Krumholtz and Neil Patrick Harris.

Six years have elapsed since Guantanamo Bay, leaving Harold and Kumar estranged from one another with very different families, friends and lives. But when Kumar arrives on Harold’s doorstep during the holiday season with a mysterious package in hand, he inadvertently burns down Harold’s father-in-law’s beloved Christmas tree. To fix the problem, Harold and Kumar embark on a mission through New York City to find the perfect Christmas tree, once again stumbling into trouble at every single turn.

I don’t love the Harold & Kumar movies, I enjoy them. Enough so that I would definitely check out their third adventure in a heartbeat. It’s a little early for me to want to watch any Christmas movies but I may have to see this one before December arrives as I really want to see it in 3D. I love that, in the trailer, they definitely seem to be poking fun at the 3D craze with some pretty ridculous visual gags. I also love that Neil Patrick Harris returns for this third entry despite being killed off in the second film. He’s a staple of these movies and if they continue to do anymore, which I doubt, he definitely should show up in any future sequels. I honestly would have preferred that Harold & Kumar 3 not be a Christmas movie as that will limit my viewings of the film to only the Christmas season, but then again, maybe I need to have a little immature Christmas fun to be mixed in with the classics I typically watch during the season.

TOWER HEIST

Directed by Brett Ratner. Starring Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Michael Peña, Téa Leoni, Alan Alda, Gabourey Sidibe and Eddie Murphy.

When a group of hard working guys find out they’ve fallen victim to a wealthy business man’s Ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence.

Brett Ratner is a mediocre director. He’s not the worst there is by any means but he doesn’t really add much to the mix. If a script is good and the actors are capable then it is not impossible to enjoy a Ratner film but don’t expect him to dazzle you with his directing capabilities. So when Tower Heist was in the works, I couldn’t help but expect something generic looking and sure enough, Tower Heist looks pretty generic, the title itself doesn’t evoke anything interesting nor does its poster. The trailer itself doesn’t look as bad as I expected it to, if I’m being honest, but this is easily a movie that I can pass on at the theater. The film also comes off a bit as the return of Eddie Murphy, who definitely looks funnier here than in anything he’s done in the last 15-20 years, which isn’t saying a lot. The question is, does anyone care if he “returns?” He’s dug himself into a hole of terrible comedy after even more terrible comedy. Regardless, Tower Heist appeals to a broad audience and will most likely capture the number one or two spot at the box office.

TAKE SHELTER

(LIMITED RELEASE)

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols. Starring Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon, Kathy Baker, Ray McKinnon and Lisa Gay Hamilton.

Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm or from himself.

I’ve heard Michael Shannon is excellent in Take Shelter, though I haven’t heard much as to the quality of the movie itself. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, I just haven’t read any reviews on the film yet. This is definitely something I’d like to see as it looks pretty interesting and some of the visuals are intriguing. It also stars the lovely Jessica Chastain, who I’ve been made a fan of after seeing her in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. I will definitely have to check this out when I get the chance.

HUMANS VS. ZOMBIES

(LIMITED RELEASE)

Directed by Brian T Jaynes. Starring Dora Madison Burge, Melissa Carnell and Frederic Doss.

Students on summer break are exposed to a deadly virus, a neuroinvasive organism that is spread rapidly through direct human contact. The Infected are enslaved by the invading “swarm” intelligence and driven by an insatiable appetite to consume human flesh. Returning home, the students spread the infection to their fellow classmates and other unsuspecting townspeople. One by one, more students fall victim to the plague, triggering an epidemic that spawns a horde of ravenous zombies. Amidst the chaos, a campus security guard, obsessed with conspiracy theories, leads a group of students to safety as they and a small band of uninfected townspeople set out to find other human survivors in an attempt to discover the source of the “zombie” virus and save the world.

This movie is based on the real life game of tag played by tons of students on college campuses around the U.S. I’m not sure that is the best thing to base a movie on but I see the desire to capitalize on a game that is played nationwide in hopes of creating a cult movie. I hope that the filmmakers fully embrace the fact that the genesis of the movie is a bit silly and create something equally as ridiculous. After seeing the trailer, I’m hoping that the film is fully aware of its origins and the audience it is intended to appeal to and delivers the experience of a good “bad” movie.

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