In Theatres This Weekend! March 9th, 2012
After months and months of cryptic trailers and speculation about odds of success, ‘John Carter’ (PG-13) finally arrives on the big screen. Based on the ‘Princess of Mars’ sci-fi novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the movie stars Taylor Kitsch as the titular Carter, a Civil War solider mysteriously transported to another planet, where he discovers a princess who desperately needs his help. Director Andrew Stanton (‘WALL-E’, ‘Toy Story’) is following in the footsteps of fellow Pixar director Brad Bird (‘The Incredibles’) when he made the jump to live action with ‘Mission: Impossible 4’–a medium in which Stanton, like Bird, is previously untested—and there have been rampant predictions of failure. But based on the action-packed trailers and Stanton’s pedigree, I’m going to reserve my judgment until I’ve actually seen the film.
Jennifer Westfeldt writes, directs and stars in ‘Friends With Kids’ (R), which almost seems like something that could have been produced by ‘Bridesmaids’ creator Kristin Wiig (and—surprise–stars both Wiig and her ‘Bridesmaids’ co-star Maya Rudolph). When two friends decide to have a child together, while keeping their relationship strictly platonic, they think they’ve found a magic formula that will allow them to enjoy the perks of having kids while avoiding the pitfalls that children can bring to a romantic relationship. Of course, things don’t progress as smoothly as they assume, leading to laughs all around.
‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ (PG-13) isn’t getting the best early reviews, which is a shame, since it stars the wonderful Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor and is directed by Lasse Hallstrom (who was nominated for an Oscar for ‘The Cider House Rules’). The story concerns a sheik determined to bring the sport of fly-fishing to his arid desert region; to do so, he’ll need the help of a British fisheries expert, who happens to think the whole idea is absurd. It promises light laughs and the leads are great, thought sadly, it sacrifices much of the flavor of Paul Torday’s novel in favor of typical rom-com structure.
It’s a bummer that ‘Silent House’ (R) is opening in limited release, because it’s our first chance to see Elizabeth Olsen since her smash breakout turn in ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’. Once again, she’s mentally tormented, playing a character besieged by dark events in her family’s lakeside house; the question now is, can directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (who worked together on ‘Open Water’) co-direct a buzzy hit instead of a lackluster horror drama?
‘A Thousand Words’ (PG-13) wouldn’t suffice to tell the story of Eddie Murphy’s rise and fall from comedic fame; after his success in the 1980s, and his mediocre everything else in the two decades since, Murphy seems like a bad punchline rather than a real screen talent. Now, he’s starring in a morality comedy about a man who unwisely lies to a spiritual guru and pays the price. It’s directed by Brian Robbins—who previously helmed Murphy’s disastrous ‘Meet Dave’ and cringe-worthy ‘Norbit’–so don’t get your hopes up for this one.