Observe and Report
directed by Jody Hill
The premise of Paul Blart: Mall Cop gets the R-rated treatment in this raunchy, offbeat, totally black comedy. Seth Rogen stars as a mall security guard with anger issues who becomes obsessed with the single-minded pursuit of catching a flasher. The fine supporting cast includes Anna Faris (The House Bunny), Michael Pena (Crash) and Ray Liotta. Director Hill created buzz last year with the ultra-low-budget The Foot First Way, which counted heavyweight comedy icons Judd Apatow and Will Ferrell amongst its fans. Hopefully Hill can retain his quirky sensibility in this latest addition to the suddenly hot “mall cop” genre.
Hannah Montana: The Movie
directed by Peter Chelsom
If you’re a tween girl, this is the movie-event you and your friends have been breathlessly anticipating: Miley Cyrus bringing her wildly popular TV alter ego to the big screen. As Hannah Montana’s celebrity threatens to take over her life, Miley Stewart (Cyrus) and her father (Billy Ray Cyrus) take a trip to her rural hometown in Tennessee where she learns important life lessons. Last year’s Hannah Montana concert movie brought in oodles of cash and, with its massive built-in tween fan base, Cyrus’ first starring feature should be a huge hit—even if the movie proves to be an excruciating experience for anyone over the age of 13.
directed by James Wong
This live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese anime/comic book series centers on humanoid alien Goku (Justin Chatwin, War of the Worlds) who joins forces with Master Roshi (Chow Yun-Fat, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) in order to prevent the evil Piccolo (James Marsters, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and his alien forces from collecting mystical artifacts that would allow him to take over the world. Aside from diehard genre fans, the tired premise doesn’t seem unique or original enough to attract mainstream moviegoers. Still, at the very least, one assumes the movie has to be better than last year’s disastrous anime adaptation Speed Racer.
directed by Christian Alvart
Renée Zellweger has fallen upon hard times. (Ever hear of New in Town, her previous movie? Thought not.) Her latest attempt to revitalize her flailing career is to trade in by-the-numbers romantic comedies for the horror-thriller genre. Here, she plays an idealistic social worker intent on saving a 10-year-old girl from her abusive parents, only to discover the situation is much more dangerous than she ever imagined. The most promising aspect of the movie is the presence of German director Alvart, making his English-language debut. Alvart’s previous movie, the creepy serial-killer story Antibodies, built a sizable cult audience and, if he can make stateside audiences squirm, Case 39 could be a surprise spring hit.