Okay, so I got one whole entry in this series under my belt before I missed a week due to being out of town. Not that I seem to have missed anything classic; for the record, I’d have probably chosen Blackhat as my must-see mostly on the strength of Michael Mann and Chris Hemsworth. But that ship has sailed, and we look forward to what has to be one of the weirder release schedules in recent memory.
First, we’ve got an erotic thriller starring a MILF-y Jennifer Lopez that seems to have sprung fully produced completely out of nowhere. The Boy Next Door literally did not exist in my brain until about two weeks ago, and it made such a minuscule impression on me I didn’t know Lopez was in it until yesterday. Turns out this is a Lifetime-y story about a student-teacher romance that goes wrong because, well, otherwise there’s no movie. The Boy Next Door was directed by Rob Cohen, who’s the ultimate “Yeah, that wasn’t that bad” director. Seriously, he’s got plenty of singles and the occasional double, but that’s about it. His biggest hit was the first The Fast and the Furious, and it’s been all downhill since. And I get the feeling this isn’t exactly going to start an upward trend. Of course, this only cost $4 million, so it would have to fall into the sun not to turn some kind of profit, and it could be an eventual guilty pleasure. Emphasis on the guilty.
Next comes the traffic accident, the thing you’ve got to slow down and look at and figure out if you’re actually seeing it. It’s Mortdecai and I can’t begin to tell you what it’s about aside from Johnny Depp wearing a mustache. There’s a definite tongue-in-cheek vibe here; they know they’re silly, they’re owning the fact that they’re silly, but sometimes there’s nothing more dire than someone being silly on purpose. And it’s another eccentric character for Depp, who must not like himself very much, considering how unlike himself he insists on being on-screen these days. There’s a hell of a lot of talent in this film, and they seem to be giving it their all, but is that going to be enough to get people to check it out, especially since Depp can’t seem to break a film without Pirates in the title lately?
And so it comes this: an animated take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a story by George Lucas and a collection of re-worked pop songs as its soundtrack is what I’d watch. Strange Magic was only slightly less stealthy than The Boy Next Door; nobody had an inkling about this one until late last year, and the combination of animated pixies and “story by George Lucas” sent a lot of people scrambling for cover. But it’s Lucas doing his first creative work since letting go of Star Wars, so there’s a pretty high level of curiosity here, even if it is closer to Mortdecai‘s “can’t look away.” This ain’t a Dreamworks celebrity-fest — Kristin Chenoweth is probably the biggest name in the voice cast — and something tells me this isn’t fighting in Pixar’s weight class, so just what are we getting exactly? About 10%, if Rotten Tomatoes is to be believed.
Honestly, if I’m doing a movie this weekend, I’m going to catch up on some Oscar nominees like Selma or Whiplash. I’m sure I’ll be able to catch this week’s releases on Redbox in a few weeks.