JoBlo.com previews this week's new releases: March 4, 2011

At JoBlo.com, we feel it’s our duty to keep you informed and satisfied. You want to know what your big choices are at the theater each weekend, and we’re happy to reach out and give you the full release.


(JoBlo’s Upcoming Movies Page)

Who’s In It?  (Voices) Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Timothy Olyphant, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Abigail Breslin

Who Made It? Director: Gore Verbinski (Paramount)

What Is It? Rango is a chameleon who gets displaced from his terrarium and finds himself in a critter-filled Old West town called Dirt. Looking to unleash the hero of his imagination by pinning on the sheriff star and acting the local law, Rango faces more than he bargained for, particularly in the form of one seriously mean bird.

How’s It Look From Here? Together, director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp have already thrice plundered the box office with the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies, but can Depp’s trippy digital lizard make the same financial and cultural impact as slurring swashbuckler Captain Jack? Depp’s vocals and uniquely spastic performance (plus nods to FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS and who knows how many Westerns), done with Verbinski collecting the actors all on stage for what they call “emotion capture”, should be sufficient to fill the curiosity quotient.

Beyond that, the animation and palette look gorgeous, the cast seems terrific (is Ned Beatty turning into a secret weapon for computer-animated movies?), and the original story comes from John Logan (GLADIATOR, SWEENEY TODD).  The unconventional character designs are a welcome change from endless arched eyebrows... but will they be too inaccessible to reach wide commercial success?


(JoBlo’s Upcoming Movies Page)

Who’s In It?  Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, Terence Stamp

Who Made It? Writer-Director: George Nolfi (Universal)

What Is It? A sci-fi/action/thriller/romance (whew) with Damon as a congressman who falls for a sexy dancer (Blunt) but can’t quite seem to make an actual love connection. He slowly realizes that Roger Sterling and his mysterious group of fedora-wearing Philip K. Dicks are altering reality to keep them apart. But since she looks like Emily Blunt, Damon is willing to risk shredding the fabric of the universe to rub up on that.

How’s It Look From Here? Aside from RANGO, this week’s movies aren’t getting released so much as escaping custody. THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU was originally scheduled last September, but underwent its own adjustments, tweaks and reshoots… and made some improvements, if early word is an indication.

A multi-genre mindbender (adapted from a Philip K. Dick story) probably won’t be an easy sell, and the uninspired and wretchedly Photochopped posters certainly won’t help. But maybe director George Nolfi’s working relationship with Damon can overcome that -- he wrote THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM and OCEAN’S TWELVE. Plus… there’s Emily Blunt.


(JoBlo’s Upcoming Movies Page)

Who’s In It?  Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Neil Patrick Harris, Mary-Kate Olsen, Peter Krause

Who Made It? Director: Daniel Barnz (CBS Films)

What Is It? Pettyfer is the dreamy but kind of dickish JBF-haired teen who finds his form contorted into a hideous mancreature (caused by Mary-Kate Olsen, inexplicably enough), giving him a year to find a woman to love him or he'll be forever cursed with wearing special effects makeup. He rightfully selects ex-Disney cupcake Vanessa Hudgens as his quarry, while scene-stealer Neil Patrick Harris is the blind man who tutors the hunkbeast in dealing with his new monsterism.

How’s It Look From Here? Struggling CBS Films shifted BEASTLY from last July all the way to this March, perhaps an attempt to capitalize on the February release of I AM NUMBER FOUR, which would surely launch young actor Alex Pettyfer to A-list superstardom. Or… whoops.

Using the familiarity of a classic premise (“Beauty and the Beast”) and a hit young-adult novel (Alex Finn’s book), BEASTLY is the latest flagrant grasp for a slice of the TWILIGHT franchise’s considerable success. But will the Bella/Edward/Jacob crowd be too busy awaiting the next part of that saga (or writing their own fanfic)? Or has the audience already moved on to Justin Bieber and/or “The Hunger Games”? 


(JoBlo’s Upcoming Movies Page)

Who’s In It? Topher Grace, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Anna Faris, Michelle Trachtenberg, Lucy Punch, Michael Ian Black, Michael Biehn

Who Made It? Director: Michael Dowse (Relativity)

What’s It About? In the summer of 1988, Suncoast Video employee Topher and his friends try to figure out the next steps that the direction of their lives should take. The immediate next steps are to “borrow” a car, hit the most massive party of the ages, drink lots of booze, snort hills of blow, engage in some kinky sex, and try to hook up with “the one” while Eddie Money blares over the speakers.        

How’s It Look From Here? Is Dan Fogler the key to getting a movie stuffed in the vault? Fogler was the star of FANBOYS, which was made in 2006 and didn’t get free of the tractor beam until 2009. This one, a pet project of actor Topher Grace, started in 2007 and (reportedly after tons of audience testing and hesitancy over the movie’s excessive cocaine use) is finally bringing the “That 70s Show” star’s look at the 1980s to the 2010s (or whatever we’re calling this decade).

Grace insists it’s not a spoof, instead describing it as a “lost John Hughes movie”, which sets the bar a bit high (but maybe that’s what all the coke is for). On the plus side, it’s got drugs, fine-looking ladies, retro-cheese soundtrack, and fanboy fave Michael Biehn as… Topher’s dad? Kick ass.

OUTLOOK: A rare weekend where there’s literally something for everyone, but Depp and CG animals may be your best bet. Unless you’re a teen/tween girl (or looking to hook up with some), a fan of nostalgia comedies, or would rather hit one of the half-dozen bases covered by Damon’s latest, in which case you've got some prime choices.

Source: JoBlo.com



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