Movies: Russell Brand vs. Natalie P., James Franco, & Danny McBride

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You know how there are those movies… those egregiously important, constantly-referenced, wildly-beloved, Oscar-winning films on everyone’s top 25 list – that you’ve never, ever seen?

I suppose I’d be one of those people complaining about why on earth anyone would even attempt to tamper with the perfection that was Arthur had I actually seen the original. But given that I haven’t, I shall now look forward to both.

Which is a roundabout way of alerting you to one of the more heavily-promoted movie openings this weekend.  Starring Russell Brand, whom I think is kind of charming and no fool (alongside Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner) this new Arthur reportedly takes any number of departures from the original, and even though there are plenty of people whining about remaking it, I bet it fares nicely. So far it looks like word-of-mouth is in the “B” range.  I’ll see it. But I guess I’ll catch the Dudley Moore version first. Also in theaters we have Danny McBride, James Franco and Natalie Portman in a movie called Your Highness and I’m pretty sure it’s a period piece – a swashbuckling adventure, if you will – that’s also about smoking pot (the director made Pineapple Express, too, so I guess that means he knows from, em, hemp flicks). The cast is great, it certainly looks diverting, and you can also expect this one to do a fair amount of midnight-showing business as well.

Now, if it’s a slightly darker tale you want, maybe one about a 16-year old girl raised in Finland to be an elite assassin, perhaps you’ll check out Hanna. In this thriller, Saoirse Ronan (the amazing kid from Atonement and The Lovely Bones) stars as a trained killer who travels all across Europe in pursuit of a target  — and, we have to assume, some kind of redemption/comeuppance. They’re saying it’s Bourne Identity meets Run Lola Run meets La Femme Nikita. Oh, and Cate Blanchett also stars so we can expect more than one icy exchange between fair-skinned steely-eyed ladies who happen to be ruthless operatives (and great actresses).

Speaking of brave young ladies in perilous situations, we have another film opening called Soul Surfer. This one’s based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a competitive surfer who lost her arm in a vicious shark attack. Here, our young heroine (played by AnnaSophia Robb) must find the will to get back into the water and ride the waves again (why, I’m not entirely sure. But that’s probably what separates me from pretty much all surfers. And I guess anyone who’s been bitten by a shark, too.) Soul Surfer also features Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt, and should be popular among those seeking a small film that packs a big inspirational punch.

That’s a peek at some of the films you might want to investigate this weekend; I would also suggest a trip to see Win Win if you can, because it’s pretty amazing. Meanwhile, as always, let us know what you see… and what you thought.

Today’s poll:

Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and let us know which of this weekend’s new movies you’re most excited about:

1)   Arthur

2)   Your Highness

3)   Hanna

4)   Soul Surfer

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