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Off The Couch And IntoThe Theater: April 2011


Between the multiplex and the arthouses, thirty-one films are being released this month in the Twin Cities metro. Compare that with last month's total of twenty-three or February's nineteen and this is the first time in a loooong time in which it is literally impossible to see one April film every single day until May and say you've seen all of the month's releases. And take it from me, the guy who will watch anything (and I mean anything), even I think there should be some quality control out there, because at least ten of the movies below don't deserve to exist and be distributed as far as Minnesota. DoktorPeace would probably say at least twenty. Proof in the pudding: the only films I saw in March were Cedar Rapids (worth it, but not extraordinary) and Paul (same thing), so I really have no chance with an exorbitant number like 31. Nevertheless, here I am excited like a little boy for so many of them. Let's get down to it, with "Do I Wanna See It?" percentages in parentheses, here are your April releases...

Apr 1st: Duncan Jones (Moon) presents his sophomore effort Source Code (98%) and while I didn't go gaga over his debut, this is already one of the best reviewed mainstream movies of the year, so good job David Bowie's son! James Wan (Saw) tries out PG-13 horror with Insidious (9%), and I have no idea what it's about but it's tinted blue and with a kid, so I say pass. James Marsden finds a CGI Easter bunny who wears a flannel shirt like he's from the 90s in Hop (37%), and I have to admit - dude's a mancrush of mine. Also, has there really never been an Easter bunny flick? Probably for good reason. Win Win (93%) is from the writer/director of The Visitor and The Station Agent, so I'm in, despite Paul Giamatti's sad hedgehog face. It's about a kid without a family, so I'll bring tissues. Some hipster French-Canadians made a love triangle film called Heartbeats (20%), which looks like an M83 music video, but that's about all it has going for it. Speaking of kids without families, Julian Schanbel's (The Diving Bell & the Butterfly) new one Miral (54%) is about an orphaned Palestinian girl who becomes a terrorist...or does she? So I will bring tissues and my political rhetoric with me to that one. And The Music Never Stopped (66%) justly gives bit actor J.K. Simmons a meaty dramatic role as father to an estranged son with a brain tumor that won't let him form new memories. Memento meets The Life Aquatic? Yes please.


Apr 8th: Four-ish years ago I would have had no interest seeing Your Highness (95%), a medieval stoner comedy starring Danny McBride and James Franco, but since I started obsessing over director David Gordon Green's work as well as Mr. Best-Oscar-Host-Since-Letterman, I'm all in. Hanna (83%) looks cool and probably will be at least partly cool, but I have absolutely no idea what it's about, and yet I kinda wanna keep it that way. Running, Tilda Swinton, menacing antagonists, gritty cinematography - that's all I need. The remake of Arthur (46%) should bear no allure for me, especially since I've never seen the original, and especially since I have no opinion on Russell Brand (who does though?), but it looks like a great rainy afternoon time waster for some reason. Soul Surfer (14%) commercials seemed to come out of nowhere, but I guess I don't read any blogs that care about movies centering on girls whose arms gets bit off by sharks but muster up the courage to re-enter their beloved sport. Oh well. Morgan Freeman narrates Born to Be Wild (6%), the latest in a long line of bland cute animal documentaries, this time about apes, and I guess it's in 3D. There's also this thing called the zoo. The biopic Desert Flower (50%) tells the story of a Somalian-American woman who escaped a child prostitution ring to become a model. Could be fascinating, but will also likely be histrionic and straightforward. Kill the Irishman (65%) could be a strong new entry in the gangster genre, with its unique Cleveland setting and strange cast combo of Walken and D'Onofrio, but it could also be, like those actors, stilted and past its prime. Burn! Then there's Winter in Wartime (2%), a Dutch film about a 14-year-old who somehow fakes his age to get into the Resistance during WWII. I often think Inglourious Basterds was made so that WWII could officially be let go as a topic of storytelling in the movies.


Apr 15th: The obligatory full count, definitely-gonna-see-it film for the month is Scream 4 (100%), which should be obvious if you know me whatsoever. It will almost certainly be atrocious, but damned if it won't be fun, though I'm still holding out a sliver of hope that it could be genuinely great, in an Ouroboros kinda way. Rio (1%) is a cartoon about birds, and since my wife is deathly afraid of birds and doesn't really like non-Disney cartoons, this is almost assuredly a no-go. I almost always say no to old clothes, but I love assassination movies, so The Conspirator (87%) is exciting to me, being a depiction of the trial of Mary Surratt, pinned as Booth's co-conspirator for Lincoln's murder. Plus, Evan Rachel Wood. Fellas, you know what I'm talking about. Denmark's In a Better World (69%) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film so I will half-heartedly attempt to see it, but the season is over, so it will mostly out of duty and not giddiness like everything in January/February. Super (52%) stars Rainn Wilson as a bumbling guy trying to be a superhero and I feel like we've seen this a million times, so I really don't have much energy for it, especially since I finally stopped watching The Office. Finally, Human Resources Manager (13%) is a bleak and minimal Israeli comedy about a baker trying to stop a newspaper from printing a defamatory article about his business. "I like pastries" is the only thought coming into my brain right now.


Apr 22nd: Robert Pattinson is still trying to break out of the Twilight role, this time with Water for Elephants (7%), another tepid romance, but this time he plays a veterinarian for the circus! I assume then that Reese Witherspoon plays the elephant waterer. Tyler Perry gives up on Oscar baiting and goes back to his roots with Madea's Big Happy Family (0%), and I won't hear the end of it from my students for a few weeks after its release. Not sure what hijinx Madea's getting into this time and still don't care. The surefire combo of Keanu Reeves and Michael Caine (together at last!) team up in Henry's Crime (48%), trying to rob a bank that Caine was unjustly sent to prison for robbing years ago. It will be vomity/cutesy funny yet feature countless priceless Reeves faces, so I split the difference for the percentage. Lastly in this pathetic list of four releases (barely anyone dares go up against Perry anymore) is Princess of Montpensier (Yawn%), a French old clothes film about the catholic/protestant wars of the 1500s. Yup, quick, scroll down before you yawn just at the thought of it.


Apr 29th: It took me way too long to figure out that Fast Five (2%) is the latest in the Fast & the Furious franchise. I was hoping it would be a superhero movie about a group of Flash-esque protagonists. Alas. I'm sure Blogulator contributor Sean will see it though, so I'll wait for his report. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (0%) is officially the first film to earn a second 0% within a single edition of Off the Couch and Into the Theater. I usually like to make sure I don't double up on percentages because I like to pretend each film released is uniquely bad in its own way, but I just can't. How a terrible (and terrible-looking) CGI movie that didn't even make a lot of money gets a sequel is beyond me. Prom (23%) only gets double digits for its percentage because it co-stars Aimee Teegarden of Friday Night Lights as, you guessed it, a teen preparing for her prom. Nothing else about it looks remarkable, but at least it's got Julie Taylor in it. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (71%) is another comic book movie, but has potential because it looks like it mixes noir elements without making me gag (*cough*Sin City*cough*) and stars Brandon Routh, who for some reason I've come to enjoy despite the Superman Returns fiasco. He's definitely the only good part of Zack and Miri. Morgan Spurlock, goateed smirk and all, returns with The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (34%), in which he shocks idiots worldwide that he could get corporations to sponsor his movie, which is about the corporatization of America. I wish it also wasn't meta-rabbit hole tripe, because then I'd have no interest. Okay so director John Gray may only be known for directing several episodes of The Ghost Whisperer and 1996's Steven Seagal/Keenan Ivory Wayans buddy cop flick The Glimmer Man, but White Irish Drinkers (59%) has an intriguing premise: two wannabe gangster brothers try to rob a theater on the night of a Rolling Stones concert. Sounds like Bottle Rocket meets The Town, the latter of which is a flick that squandered a good premise and great characters. And to round out the thirty-one, Potiche (3%) is an even more grating French stereotype of a movie, starring Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve as a wealthy couple whose company's workers go on strike and kidnap the patriarch of the family, forcing the CEO's wife to take control. Hysterical!

Per usual, thx to Switchblade Comb for the info on all the indie releases above!

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  1. Blogger DoktorPeace | 3:04 AM |  

    Make that thirty!

    This month may finally break my 2011 theater abstinence, but I dunno. I liked Moon, but Source Code doesn't seem to have any of the atmosphere I liked about it. And I was sold on Your Highness after the first commercial, but every new one I see pushes me further away with another pot/sex joke I fear will blah me as much as The Hangover.

    I still have to watch Scream 1, the first quarter of Scream 2, and the second half of Scream 3, so that I can fully enjoy your self-eating snake metaphor.

  2. Blogger chris | 1:26 PM |  

    You're right in that Source Code looks more like Minority Report than Moon, but then again, I actually preferred the former to the latter. I like Moon's atmosphere and Rockwell's performance, but it never felt full, which I guess was kinda its point, but I think Jones' paranoid sensibilities could potentially come across better when it's in a frenzied blockbuster. We'll see!

    The latest trailer for Your Highness looks like it's heavy on the adventure aspect, more so than the base humor, but I'm still holding out judgment. I forget, did you like Pineapple Express, Doktor? Did you see it? Gordon Green has done no wrong yet.

    Oh man you should totally see Scream 1 and 2 and then fast-forward intermittently through Scream 3. The first one is in my Top 25 of all time for sure.

  3. Blogger DoktorPeace | 2:43 AM |  

    I did see Pineapple Express, but what I mostly remember about it was being in the huge restaurant theater with maybe one other group of people and the waiter bringing spicy buffalo wings to my table.

    I also remember being largely disinterested by the end, however, and not much caring for the shoot 'em up finale. I'm not sure a female presence and prolly 3 seconds of Portman's butt cheeks can get me to this new one. A valiant effort, regardless.

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  5. Blogger Unspar! | 11:01 AM |  

    FINALLY another Keanu Reeves movie! It's been WAY too long. The only problem is that I have to wait 3 WHOLE WEEKS to see it!

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