This week at the movies, we got real American heroes (GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, starring Dennis Quaid and Sienna Miller); kitchen chronicles (Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams); and honeymoon horror (A Perfect Getaway, starring Timothy Olyphant and Milla Jovovich). What do the critics have to say?
Knowing may be half the battle, but in the case of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the war is far from over, as a majority of critics has not been willing to support these troops. GI Joe is the origin story of the elite combat unit, based upon the popular Hasbro toy franchise, which is tasked with thwarting the venomous Cobra organization’s plans to wreak global havoc via malicious futuristic technology. Though some reviews say the film delivers on its promise of over-the-top thrills, most say Joe is cheesy and juvenile in its presentation of wanton destruction. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some of our favorite fighting squads, as well as Sienna Miller’s Five Favorite Films.)
At this point, praising a Meryl Streep performance is like saying LeBron James played a good game. However, she can’t do it all by herself, and critics say Julie & Julia is riveting when Streep is onscreen, but formulaic when she’s not. Streep plays Julia Child, whose landmark work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, inspires writer Julie Powell (Amy Adams) to make all 500-odd dishes in the book – and blog about her experience. Nora Ephron’s film weaves the two women’s tales together, and that’s part of the problem, the pundits say: while the Julia Child material is fascinating, the Julie Powell stuff doesn’t have the same charge. (Check out our pictorial tour of Le Cordon Bleu culinary training facility, where the film was recently screened.)
There’s nothing wrong with a twisty little genre thriller – as long as it’s done right. Unfortunately, critics say A Perfect Getaway, though well-crafted and tense, is a little too heavily plotted for its own good. The film stars Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich as a recently-wed couple backpacking in Hawaii. But the trip takes an ominous turn when other hikers inform them of murders in the area, and tension runs high. The pundits say A Perfect Getaway is smarter than average and economically paced, but ultimately gets bogged down in red herrings and an ending that strains credulity.
Also opening this week in limited release:
Finally, props to Iceman Cometh and Canuck666 for coming the closest to guessing the Tomatometers for Aliens in the Attic and The Collector.