The Pink Panther 2
directed by Harald Zwart
Poor Steve Martin. Three years ago he took up the role of clumsy detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau, and fans of both Peter Sellers and the original The Pink Panther movies gave a simultaneous groan of disappointment. But it’s not the comedic legend’s fault. Add in a current pop star, some straight-faced costars and a few interesting cameos, and 2006’s The Pink Panther seemed more like a live action cartoon for children than a reboot of the original series. The sequel appears to follow the same formula but on a larger scale as Clouseau teams up with a group of international detectives, played by Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, to take down a cat burglar who has been stealing historic artifacts from around the world. Even a great cast might not be enough to save the movie from balancing the line between funny and just plain hokey.
directed by Paul McGuigan
For those who can’t wait for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this sci-fi thriller, packed with mutant powers and outrageous action sequences, might just be for you. The movie follows three American expats whose superhuman abilities have made them the target of a government agency that wants to use their powers to the government’s benefit. With the help of their telekinetic, telepathic and clairvoyant abilities, the trio search for the only woman who has ever escaped the agency, hoping to find the key to their own survival. With his first foray into the sci-fi genre, it looks as though director McGuigan has been able to fully realize the thriller sensibilities he utilized in Lucky Number Slevin. Djimon Hounsou, Chris Evans, Camilla Belle and a grown up Dakota Fanning round out an unlikely and talented cast of leads. But with a story that may get too complicated for its own good, you might be pushing your way towards the exit by the end.
He’s Just Not That Into You
directed by Ken Kwapis
Every once in a while the stars align, both figuratively and literally, for a special kind of movie: The romantic comedy juggernaut. And with Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Bradley Cooper and Ginnifer Goodwin teaming up to play people struggling with their own individual romantic quarrels, this is just that occasion. But while the stars have come out for this movie, its story could pose a problem. The script is based on a self-help book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo; a book created out of one line that was said in an episode of “Sex and the City.” So, despite a star-studded cast, the real question is: How much can you do with a concept that originates from a small segment of a television episode? And if Ken Kwapis’ previous directing experience (License to Wed, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) is any indication, the movie might be a bit too sweet for some to handle.
directed by Kyle Newman
Get your light saber, Chewbacca mask and love for all things Star Wars ready for this one. The story centers on a group of Star Wars fanatics who decide to take a trip to Skywalker Ranch in an attempt to steal an early copy of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace when their friend, who is suffering from cancer, wants to see the movie before he dies. But the road to Skywalker Ranch isn’t as easy as Princess Leia killing Jabba the Hutt. Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel and Kristen Bell all add up to a hilarious ensemble cast and the movie works as both an ode to Star Wars and to the friendship the characters share. But the movie’s story may fall into following the typical formula of movies like Road Trip or the Harold & Kumar movies: A parade of funny experiences and instances that are simply forgotten soon after. However, with some great cameos by the likes of Seth Rogen and Danny Trejo and lots of Star Wars references, this is a must-see for anyone who has obsessed over Yoda and “The Force.”
directed by Henry Selick
There’s no doubt that Henry Selick is an absolute virtuoso when it comes to directing stop motion animation. With The Nightmare Before Christmas, he created a world of darkness and emptiness, while still managing to make it look beautifully surreal. In James and the Giant Peach, he was able to create an incredible world of fantasy and color, depicting a child’s dreamlike naiveté. And with Coraline, Selick gets to do both. The story is based on the book by Neil Gaiman, and centers on Coraline, a young girl who finds a mysterious door that leads to another world where her parents are nicer, more interesting and have buttons in place of eyes. When she finds the parallel world isn’t what it truly appears, Coraline is forced to do battle with her “Other Mother” to get back home safely. While Selick’s abilities with stop motion work perfectly with the story and its parallel worlds, the problem might be in getting kids to come see a movie whose origin is based as much in horror as it is in fantasy.