Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” made its debut on Starz this past weekend.
Last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Original Screenplay, “Midnight in Paris” stars Owen Wilson as Gil Pender, a man who idealizes the Paris of the 1920s. Disenchanted with his career as a Hollywood hack, disrespected by his fiancée and lightly regarded by his future in-laws, Gil wishes he had lived amongst the great literary, artistic and culturally important figures of that time.
Little does he know… something extraordinary is in store for him.
Making its Home Box Office debut this weekend was last year’s smash comedy, “Bridesmaids”.
Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids” was a runaway box office success, grossing $288 million worldwide. It is currently the top grossing film produced by Judd Apatow, and that’s some impressive company. The movie was also critically well received. It got nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress – Melissa McCarthy), and made a number of year end top ten lists, including the American Film Institute’s, Entertainment Weekly’s, and The (title pending) Movie Podcast’s (Tanski’s #2).
Opening this weekend on Starz was last year’s “30 Minutes or Less”.
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, and Michael Peña, “30 Minutes or Less” is the story of a pizza deliveryman who is forced to rob a bank after having a bomb strapped to him. As dark a prospect as that is, the movie is a comedy.
So the question before us becomes, does comedy ensue?
“Friends with Benefits” premiered this weekend on Starz. It’s last year’s romantic/sex comedy starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.
Kunis plays a professional head-hunter who successfully recruits a web editor (Justin Timberlake) for GQ magazine. As she’s the only person he knows in New York, the two stay connected even after the employment contract is finalized.
Each of them have recently experienced romantic difficulties and both are frustrated with the very concept of romance. Yet they both still pine for sex…
Premiering this weekend on HBO was one of last year’s quartet of big budget superhero movies, Warner Brothers’ and DC’s “Green Lantern”. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard, the movie underperformed at the box office and was derided by critics (it sits at 27% on Rotten Tomatoes).
It was also one of my very earliest reviews, and I enthusiastically sang its praises.
Now that nine months have passed, public consensus has been arrived at, and I’ve had a chance to re-watch it, have I downgraded my opinion?
Premiering this weekend on HBO was last years action thriller, “Hanna”.
Directed by Joe Wright and starring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchette, “Hanna” is the story of a very special young girl. Raised in isolation in the woods by her father (Bana), Hanna is trained in combat, languages, and survival skills.
Directed with style and scored with a wide variety of international music, “Hanna” is a captivating film. Perhaps the best way to describe it is art house meets action film.
Premiering this weekend on Cinemax was last year’s superhero epic, “X-Men: First Class”.
“First Class” was a prequel/reboot of the “X-Men” franchise, which offered us four movies of varying quality from 2000-2009. Recasting the lead roles, “First Class” turns back the clock to the 1960s, and tells the tale of the origin of the X-Men, the formation of the friendship between Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr, and their battle against Sebastian Shaw.
Released in a year which saw several high profile superhero movies, “X-Men: First Class” found a way to elevate itself above its contemporaries and surprisingly emerge as the best superhero flick of 2011.
HBO’s new movie this weekend was last year’s “Something Borrowed”.
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, and John Krasinki, “Something Borrowed” is a romantic comedy revolving around a woman (Goodwin) who lets her best friend (Hudson) from childhood always get her way, even including barging in on a college date she’s on. It turns out to be a fateful mistake, as the the stolen date eventually leads to an engagement.
But as the big day approaches, feelings that have been suppressed for years suddenly surface and the wedding is endangered.