This week at the movies, we’ve got comedians in the White House ("Man of the Year," starring Robin Williams), continued creepy curses in Tokyo ("The Grudge 2, starring Amber Tamblyn and Sarah Michelle Gellar), a marine with a missing wife ("The Marine," starring John Cena), and a dramatization of the Book of Esther ("One Night with the King," starring Tiffany DuPont). What do the critics say?
It’s an election year, so it seems like a pretty good time to satirize our cherished democratic process, right? Perhaps, but the critics don’t believe "Man of the Year," starring Robin Williams and Laura Linney, is the movie to do it. Williams plays a late night talk show host who runs for president as a joke — only to find the electorate is more receptive to his campaign than he thought. Critics say the film benefits from some good performances — including Linney and Christopher Walken as Williams’ manager — but writer-director Barry Levinson‘s script doesn’t know whether it’s a satire, a thriller, or a romantic comedy. Worse, this political send-up lacks bite when it comes to, well, politics. At 21 percent on the Tomatometer, "Man of the Year" is dipping in the polls.
It seems it is a momentous time to be a wide-release movie. This week, not one, not two, but three films were not screened for the scribes!
First up, we’ve got "The Grudge 2," starring Amber Tamblyn and Sarah Michelle Gellar in a sequel to director Takashi Shimizu‘s 2004 remake of his own Japanese-language horror flick, "Ju-On." The first "Grudge" garnered 40 percent on the Tomatometer; go ahead and guess how the pale-faced little ghost boy and his frighteningly hirsute mother will fare this time around.
Next, there’s "The Marine," WWE Films’ fourth release starring pro-wrestler John Cena as an Iraq vet who must rescue his kidnapped wife from bad guys. The last WWE release, "See No Evil," scored a miniscule Tomatometer of 6 percent. If it helps to Guess The Tomatometer for "The Marine," the freestyling Cena was known back in his WWE days as the "Marky Mark of wrestling."
And finally, completing the trifecta of this week’s releases not screened for critics, we have "One Night With The King," Fox Faith’s second theatrical release geared toward the Christian set. In this retelling of the Book of Esther, a young Jewish girl (newcomer Tiffany DuPont) grows up to save her people; screen greats Omar Sharif, Peter O’Toole and John Rhys-Davies fill out the cast. As does Tommy "Tiny" Lister (AKA Deebo from "Friday"). Guess away.
Also opening this week in limited release: "Deliver Us from Evil," a searing documentary about a convicted pedophile Catholic Priest, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer (check out Jen Yamato’s review from the Toronto Film Fest here); "So Much So Fast," a documentary about a man with ALS and his family’s response, is at 100 percent; "Driving Lessons," a coming-of-age Brit-com starring Rupert Grint and Laura Linney, is at 73 percent; "Infamous," starring Toby Jones and Sandra Bullock and based on Truman Capote‘s experiences writing "In Cold Blood," is at 58 percent (See Tim Ryan’s Toronto Review here); "Nearing Grace," about a family coping with the death of their wife and mother, is at 40 percent; "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker," the tale of a teen secret agent, is at 37 percent; and "Tideland," Terry Gilliam‘s perverse take on "Alice in Wonderland," is at 21 percent.
Recent Movies Starring Pro Wrestlers:
6% — See No Evil (Kane) (2006)
16% — Grandma’s Boy (Kevin Nash) (2006)
53% — The Devil’s Rejects (Diamond Dallas Page) (2005)
29% — The Longest Yard (Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, The Great Khali) (2005)
27% — Blade: Trinity (Triple H) (2004)
Authors: Tim Ryan and Jen Yamato