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Sunday, April 24, 2011

New Movies Release Roundup 21 April 2011

Sucker Punch was sadly not the only bad movie released this weekend. In fact, it's hard to think of a more miserable selection of new releases than what wee have here. I haven't seen the Afrikaans superhero flick Superhelde but from what I hear I didn't exactly miss much and, as usual, I can't tell you anything about the latest Bollywood flick, Dum Maaro Dum. That leaves a grand total of two films, neither of which are as bad as Sucker Punch but neither of which come anywhere close to being good movies. Lets start off with the better of the two...

If last year's Crazy Heart was the cinematic equivalent of classic country music then Country Strong is its watered down, modern-day cousin, country-pop. It's a film that clearly tries to capture all the things that were great about Crazy Heart (the acting, the incredible music, the authentic look at a broken-down country star struggling to rise up again) but the only thing it truly captures is that film's occasionally plodding plot. Country Strong does have at its centre a surprisingly very good performance from Gwyneth Paltrow - both as an actress and as a singer - and there are these little moments spread throughout the film centred around her character that are really rather affecting. The problem is that most of the rest of the film, though never truly awful, is overlong, bland and, even if the rest of the cast are generally OK in their roles, I was never particularly interested in any of their characters. Most damningly, the music in  the film is really weak. As a big fan of proper, classic country music, Crazy Heart really worked for me at capturing that gloriously rustic tradition of American music. The music in Country Strong, however, was far more typical of the sort of country-pop music that most people now sadly associate with the genre. And I have much more trouble forgiving that than I do with the actual film itself. (5/10)

Country Strong is nothing though in comparison to the box office mega-bomb that is Mars Needs Moms (3D). The derision it has received by critics and audiences alike isn't entirely deserved because its never as offensively bad as something like Sucker Punch but, lets not kid, it is still total rubbish. It features a befuddlingly stupid plot, one-dimensional characters, fairly terrible motion-capture animation (Avatar it ain't) and a serious dearth of laughter. The only notable thing about it is revealed as the final credits play out. The annoying kid who is our lead character was played by Seth Green of all people until the geniuses behind the production realized that, though his movements could be captured and used to animate an animated kid, his voice was too adult for the character he was supposed to be playing. Go figure, right? What we land up with is an amalgamation of Seth Green's movements and a kid's voice. I have no idea why they bothered. In fact, I have no idea why they used motion capture in the first place. With its script, it never would have amounted to much but had it been a simple CGI animation or a heavily SFXed live action film it would at least have not have had those "realistic" CGI human beings (see: young Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy) that never fail to creep me the hell out. I seriously found it difficult to look at the screen at some points. Ad if the film in question does not belong to the horror genre, that's not a good thing at all. (3/10)  

Best film of the week: Bloody hell. It's Country Strong, isn't it?
Worst film of the week: Sucker Punch. Obviously.               

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