This week at the movies, we’ve got twisty thrillers ("Premonition," starring Sandra Bullock), marital dissatisfaction ("I Think I Love My Wife," directed by and starring Chris Rock), and killer dummies ("Dead Silence," starring Ryan Kwanten). What do the critics have to say?
Sandra Bullock must have a thing for mind-bending thrillers. "Premonition" is her second within a year, following 2006’s "The Lake House." Unfortunately, critics don’t share her enthusiasm. At all. Bullock stars as a happily-married woman living an idyllic life — until her husband is killed in a car accident. Or was he? Was it all a dream? What is real? How many critics will actually like this thing? That last question is particularly relevant; the pundits say Bullock gives it her all, but "Premonition" is a tepid film that manages to borrow charmlessly from "Memento," "The Sixth Sense," and "Groundhog Day." That nine percent rating on the Tomatometer should act as a premonition to moviegoers.
"I may already be a winner?"
Chris Rock is one of the funniest people on the planet. And he’s tackling classy material with his second directorial effort, "I Think I Love My Wife," a loose remake of Eric Rohmer’s classic "Chloe in the Afternoon" (88 percent, by the way). But while few would argue that someone with a talent as great as Rock’s shouldn’t be allowed to stretch, the critics say "Wife" doesn’t deliver. Rock stars as a man who warily finds himself torn between his wife (Gina Torres) and an exciting, free-spirited old flame (Kerry Washington). But whereas Rohmer’s film was wry and philosophical, critics say Rock’s is neither fish nor fowl: his comedic instincts are muted, and the female characters are not satisfactorily fleshed out. At 25 percent on the Tomatometer, critics don’t "Love" this one.
The critics’ response to James Wan’s "Dead Silence"? Dead silence. It wasn’t screened for the scribes, so they’ve got nothing to say about it. Yet. The film tells the story of the murder of a ventriloquist that has animated the spirits of every last Howdy Doody in town. Raise your voices and Guess that Tomatometer.
Also opening this week in limited release: the classic "The Earrings of Madame De…," Max Ophuls‘ elegant love triangle, is at 100 percent; "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon," a clever, scary horror mockumentary, is at 92 percent; "The Journey of Dimitri Shostakovich," a documentary about the great Soviet composer’s life and politics, is at 80 percent; "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," Ken Loach’s Palme D’Or- winning Irish Civil War film starring Cillian Murphy, is at 73 percent; and the Danish import "Adam’s Apples," a dark comedy/morality tale, is at 73 percent.