Hangar 18 – This one brings back memories, though few of them are of the actual movie. As a six year-old Star Wars fan, I was excited by trailers of this movie because they showed UFOs, but my mother kept saying it wasn’t a movie I should see because the aliens were really scary. This, of course, built it up in my mind – I think I wrote an essay about it in school, as elementary students do when they get excited about a movie, saying that the aliens were really scary…only to be told by some other kid who had seen it that it was stupid. Eventually my mother caved when a bunch of friends were going anyway, and I promised her I wouldn’t have nightmares…and I was bored out of my skull in a movie for the first time ever. As I recall through the fog of over 30 years, the dead aliens just looked like bald men, and they barely feature into the plot – the rest is standard thriller stuff, and I remember thinking, “Why does this guy like to blow up stuff so much?”
I’m sure it would make more sense now. But based on reviews I’ve read since, I’m not sure I’d think it was any better.
Upside Down – I wish I’d actually caught this in theaters. Despite the scientifically preposterous notion of two planets attached in such a way that up and down are reversed on each one, it looks like a visual feast, and seems pretty obviously metaphorical. It vanished quickly and I didn’t hear anything pro or con.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – While he’s out preemptively apologizing for Kick-Ass 2, Jim Carrey might want to take a moment to apologize for this too, since it actually made me want to do violence…to the people who made it. Though it does feature Olivia Wilde at maximum gorgeousness, this spoof of Las Vegas magicians is less funny than real-deal types like Penn and Teller are in person, and once it’s clear that the tricks are enhanced with CG, there ceases to be much wonder.
The Beatles: Help! – Superman II director Richard Lester had mixed results when he tried to make the man of steel funny, but there are no such reservations about what he achieved with the Fab Four, turning them into an unlikely comedy troupe on the run from a cult that believes in human sacrifice. Extras are pretty much the same as on the DVD.
Phantom – Cold War submarine thriller a la Crimson Tide and The Hunt for Red October, with Ed Harris and David Duchovny as Russians. I’m sure their accents are more convinshing than Sean Connery’sh wash…right?
Into the White – During World War II, British and German pilots crash-land in Norway, in winter. Can they work together to survive, or will they kill each other? Ron Weasley’s in it, so I suspect friendship will be magical.
Rooster Cogburn – Though the original novel True Grit – and the Coen brothers’ adaptation – doesn’t leave much room for a sequel, John Wayne wasn’t going out without a franchise, so he got another movie. In this one, the smarmy young girl is replaced by a scolding older woman (Katharine Hepburn) who’s a preacher’s daughter…and an age-appropriate love interest once the bickering stops.
Also, for those of you who care about metal covers, a whole bunch of new steelbooks are out today, including both Riddick movies, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Big Lebowski, Ang Lee’s Hulk, and The Mummy and Van Helsing (but I repeat myself).
Those are my picks. Tell me yours below.