In Theatres

Here I will chronicle films I see that have been released in the calender year of 2010. I will only count films that were given a general wide release on Jan. 1, 2010 or later. I know some movies I see on DVD later this year will have been released in December, 2009 in NY and LA, but if they hit Iowa City in 2010, they get counted!

The Book of Eli
** 1/2 out of *****
The Book of Eli was a great way to spend an afternoon, but I won’t be viewing it again any time soon. The action is slick and well-shot, but you get the feeling that the directors’ assumed their film is more serious that it actually is. Wait for the DVD.

Edge of Darkness
*** out of *****
Welcome back, Mel Gibson! Edge of Darkness marks Gibson’s return as a leading man, ending an 8-year drought after 2002’s Signs. This father-on-a-mission thriller is a remake of a British mini-series (by the same director, Martin Campbell), and you can feel the effort it took to cram that much material into 2 hours. I enjoyed it, but if you aren’t a big Mel fan, or get queasy around brutal violence, I’d hold off ’til the DVD.

Youth in Revolt
** out of *****
How many times can Michael Cera lose his virginity? This quirky comedy about a kid in love was a little too predictable. The only reason I suggest you give it a look is for Cera’s evil alter-ego, Francois Dillinger.

Leap Year
** 1/2 out of *****
I saw this with a “friend” over Christmas break, and was quietly surprised. It’s a typical romantic-comedy, but the leads do a good job of bolstering the material. Definitely only a DVD rental if you’re having a quiet night in with your significant other.

Shutter Island
**** out of *****
Martin Scorcese is a genius. I had mixed feelings about going to this movie after not being too excited by the trailers and commercials. Boy was I wrong to doubt. This film is phenomenal, with one of the better endings I have seen in a long time. DiCaprio really pushes it to the limit with his performance of a broken, driven man trying to find answers. I really hope this movie’s March release doesn’t mean it gets forgotten come awards season next year.

The Crazies
**1/2 out of *****
The Crazies is definitely a niche film. While not technically a zombie movie, the scenario is a very similar one. A small Iowa town (yeah, Iowa!) called Ogden Marsh is taken to hell and back after a military plane carrying a biological weapon crashes into the town water supply. As per the title, once infected, people start to go Crazy. The film follows the town sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) as he tries to rescue his wife and escape Ogden Marsh alive. If you like horror movies, go see it. Otherwise, wait for the DVD.

Green Zone
*** out of *****
Green Zone reunites Matt Damon with his Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum director, Paul Greengrass. The film is set in the chaos of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, with Damon playing an Army officer charged with finding WMDs. As the story progresses, though, he realizes what he all know by now – the people of the United States had been duped. He sets off on his own to track down a high-ranking general in the Republican Army who can expose the truth. The film is entertaining and filled with Bourne-esque intensity and action. While United 93 is still my favorite Greengrass movie, he definitely handles the material here well. Go check it out to get your early action fix before the wave of summer movies starts into theatres next month.

She’s Out of My League
** out of *****
Let me get one thing clear right out of the gate, the commercials for this film are lying to you. This movie is not the next The Hangover. It is not the funniest movie since The Hangover. Sure, it got a few laughs out of me. It’s a serviceable comedy. But do not expect to walk out of the theatre thinking it’s your new favorite comedy. The concept of the movie is very simple: Kirk, an awkward going-nowhere TSA employee meets Molly, a super-hot, super-successful blond that is, ahem, out of his league. ¬†Circumstances unfold, and somehow Molly and Kirk start to date. The main message of the film is that whether the world thinks you’re a 5 or a 10, it’s what you think you are that matters. Wait for the DVD.

Hot Tub Time Machine
*** out of *****
Hot Tub Time Machine was horribly marketed. In the trailers and commercials, it almost gave off a dumbed-down time-traveling The Hangover: a group of male friends goes for a weekend of partying, get drunk (travel back to 1986) and wacky hijinks ensue. While that is what the trailers portrayed, the movie is much better than that. Also, this film is definitely more of a hard R. There are dick jokes, sex scenes and a lot of swearing. The concept of the movie is that a group of friends all go to their old ski resort hang out after one of them drunkenly tries to kill himself. Their room’s hot tub ends up sending them back in time, where they must re-live their last weekend there, or else risk causing an explosion in the space-time continuum. Obviously, some of them do things by the book, while others attempt to change the past for the better. It’s a pretty solid comedy, but not necessarily worthy of a $10 ticket. Catch a matinee or wait for the DVD.

***1/2 out of *****

Iron Man 2
*** out of *****

Robin Hood
**1/2 out of *****


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