The latest in yet another super hero franchise hits theaters this weekend, as does a new Adam Sandler movie. But one limited release is probably the best movie opening this weekend.
Your options this week are either the seventh installment in a superhero franchise or the hundredth film (probably a little off, but it sure seems right) in the long chronicling of a middle-age man becoming a twelve year old boy.
Let's start with the weekend's summer blockbuster. X-Men: Days of Future Past is the direct follow-up to X-Men: First Class and attempts to wed the mid-2000s movies with First Class' retro-origin story, while also sort of rebooting the whole thing. (Yes, it's confusing). Despite the gargantuan challenges facing it, DOFP is getting solid reviews. It's just good comic-book fun, apparently. The Wire's David Sims writes that the movie "amazingly, sticks its landing" and "the torch-passing is extremely heavy-handed at times, but it’ll work for fans and probably be cheerfully ignored by everyone else." I mean, how bad can a movie with two Magnetos and two Professor Xs really be? Some time-traveling superhero fare is tailor-made for summer, and considering the other movie going wide this weekend, it's the least offensive choice you can make.
Were Adam Sandler movies ever funny, or did we just grow up? The impressive thing is that each subsequent Sandler flick manages to look even more childish and inane than its predecessor. The latest is Blended, which brings back Drew Barrymore (every time she and Sandler pair up it's hailed as some sort of reunion) and sends them off to some exotic locale. Let's be blunt: the movie will not be good. With an 11 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, there are plenty of bad reviews to go around, but A.O. Scott at The New York Times turns it into an art form: "Most of Blended has the look and pacing of a three-camera sitcom filmed by a bunch of eighth graders and conceived by their less bright classmates. Shots don’t match. Jokes misfire. Gags that are visible from a mile away fail to deliver." I recommend reading the entire review; the movie, not so much.
In Limited Release
We'll give you three choices for smaller movies this weekend. First there's the relatively light "witty romantic drama" Words and Pictures, which has Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche as a pair of high school teachers (English and art, respectively) who pit their subjects against each other and end up falling in love or something, probably. There's also Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, which is a documentary about Gore Vidal (sort of self-explanatory) and looks to be pretty good, if you're in NYC this weekend. But the best of the bunch seems to be Cold in July, which has a 91 percent RT rating and a killer trailer:
Michael C. Hall is a father who shoots a home invader, but it's not the guy the police says it is, and he starts getting threats from the guy's ex-con father, so he hires Don Johnson as a detective to help him sort it all out. At least I think that's what's going on in the trailer. Regardless, the movie looks awesome. If you live near one of the six theaters it's playing in this weekend, check it out.
Videos on Demand
Lots of mid-winter slush hitting On Demand this weekend. You can watch the high-profile The Monuments Men which is a mediocre film filled with as many movie stars as it takes to distract you of that fact, the "teen vampires are so 2010" Vampire Academy, or 3 Days to Kill, if you feel like reminding yourself that Kevin Costner is old now. But the two movies actually worth checking out would be the not-as-bad-as-you-think About Last Night or Enemy, which features two Jake Gyllenhaals.
Streaming on Netflix
Not too much new to Netflix streaming this week, but there are two solid options. Machete Kills looks like a sex-ed up romp filled with gratuitous violence, and Star Trek Into Darkness is a better blockbuster than it gets credit for, I think. As we wade into the deep of this year's summer season, you might as well revisit one of last year's best.
Movies on TV
Red 2 premieres on HBO Saturday at 8 p.m., your enjoyment of which probably depends on your age. Based on its 42 percent on RT, its gimmick of old people kicking ass is somewhere between a hoot and an eye roll. On Showtime at 5 p.m. (technically 4:55) Saturday is Silver Linings Playbook, which is decidedly the better of the David O. Russell/Jennifer Lawrence movies and the one that earned Lawrence her Oscar.