This week at the movies, we’ve got hot teen vampires (The Twilight Saga: New Moon, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson); a football family (The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron); and some interplanetary mishaps (Planet 51, with voice work by Dwayne Johnson and Jessica Biel). What do the critics have to say?
Ok, Twihards, we all know you’ve already bought your tickets to New Moon, so you don’t care about what the critics have to say. However, for the uninitiated, the scribes offer few saving graces to this second installment of the teenage vampire chronicle. Kristen Stewart is back as Bella Swan, but this time she’s on the outs with blood-sucking Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). She falls into the arms of Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who, needless to say, has some secrets of his own. The pundits say that diehards will swoon, but everyone else will be mystified, since New Moon is turgidly paced, unevenly acted, often unintentionally hilarious. (Check out all our New Moon-related features at RT’sTwilight Corner.)
Just when you think every last inspirational based-on-true-events sports story has been adapted for the screen, along comes The Blind Side. And though critics say it has plenty of problems, they also say it’s well-crafted and sharply acted. Quinton Aaron stars as a troubled high school football star who’s taken in by an affluent suburban family; naturally, lessons are learned on and off the field. Some pundits say Sandra Bullock is excellent as the family matriarch, and Aaron shines as well – both infuse a formulaic plot with plenty of humanity. However, others feel the film is overly schmaltzy and doesn’t fully address the tricky racial issues at the heart of the story.
It seems obvious, but we’ll say it again: animated features need more than great visuals to work – they also need strong stories. Unfortunately, critics say Planet 51 is mighty short on plot, along with a whole lot of other virtues. Dwayne Johnson stars as an astronaut who lands on a faraway planet and soon discovers he’s not alone: this strange world looks like 1950s America, only with little green men. The pundits say Planet 51 apes classic sci-fi flicks without adding much in the way of wit or satire; in addition, it’s flatly-paced and has a strange, off-putting preoccupation with bodily functions.
Also opening this week in limited release: