New Movies: Saldana, Rudd & Katie Holmes vs. The Help

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If you’re not staying in, avoiding lousy weather, and catching the VMA’s this weekend there are a few new movie offerings at your local cineplex. We have a funny Paul Rudd indy, a badass Zoe Saldana revenge thriller, and an incongruous Katie Holmes horror film.

Let’s look at the scary stuff first, because audiences probably will. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark is technically a remake, only it’s not a remake in the traditional sense. The first one came out in 1973 on TV, and this is actually a key fact because made-for-TV movies from the 1970s have an extremely distinctive look and feel; there’s nothing quite like them. Nor am I saying this because I grew up in the 70s — they were ultra-stylized and any number of filmmakers today love (and love to emulate) the look of that period. The basic idea behind both movie versions is folks who move into a majestic (if creaky) old house. And of course there’s the token handyman/groundskeeper dude who always knows exactly what’s up, but no one listens to him anyway. What’s up being of course that which is making noise which may or may not be creatures trapped somewhere in said creaky/majestic house.  The whole thing was supervised by Guillermo Del Toro, and even though he didn’t direct it, one of his protégés did which still means it will be moody, visually quite stylish and probably pretty scary. Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce are the big names here.

Now Paul Rudd is easily one of my favorite actors. He does smarm beautifully and he – like Steve Carell – remains likable regardless.  I’m hardly splitting the atom here and I’m pretty sure that the minute Clueless came out lots of people started to feel the exact same way. Rudd’s got a new movie out called Our Idiot Brother which is definitely an art film; it played at film festivals and got a lot of good buzz that way. Rudd plays the actual idiot brother and his sisters are Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. Quite a family. Add to this  Rashida Jones, Hugh Dancy and a bunch of other smart, appealing actors and suddenly it’s worth seeing for the cast alone. However, the screenwriter is also a well-known journalist and her brother (a former guitarist in The Lemonheads) directed it, so I’m pretty sure they have the whole smart/quirky thing down too. This looks fun and even though the sibling movies aren’t for everyone my guess is that Paul Rudd & co. may just be able to transcend the genre a bit.

Finally we have a shootemup opening in theaters called Colombiana and this may be Zoe Saldana’s action heroine breakout role (now that everyone knows her from Avatar). Clearly she’s being positioned as the new Angelina Jolie type, also evidenced by the controversy generated when the filmmakers apparently borrowed Jolie’s Wanted poster for their Colombiana artwork. In this movie, Saldana witnesses the murder of her family as a child and decides to take justice into her own hands. In fact it looks like a fairly straightforward revenge-thriller except that Zoe’s character was also “raised to be a top-tier assassin” according to the publicity, so expect major gunplay and special effects.  Michael Vartan also stars.

That sums up the weekend’s new offerings if you’re looking to venture out and catch something. That is, if you haven’t seen The Help, which is really, really something.  In the meantime, have a great weekend and be sure to take special care what with Irene approaching.

Today’s poll:

Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of this weekend’s movies you’re most likely to catch:

1)    Colombiana

2)    Our Idiot Brother

3)    Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark


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