Movies: Ryan Reynolds & Jason Bateman vs. The Great Apes

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Today we talk movies. In addition to tomorrow’s Family Night Movie Who Is Simon Miller (8/7c on NBC) which looks genuinely intriguing, there are also additional films opening today in theaters. I’m not sure any of them can beat the amazing Crazy, Stupid, Love – but several newbies are giving it a try. Did I mention just how spectacular Crazy, Stupid, Love is? The only problem for me was not enough Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

In theaters today, we have Rise of the Planet of the Apes. What this has going for it is it’s part of a much beloved (if nostalgically so – I’m not counting the Mark Wahlberg version) franchise. We all know the basic premise and this should help it along. Another something that should help it along is star James Franco. He’ll be ably assisted by Freida Pinto and Andy Serkis (who plays one of the chimps) although I’m not at all sure that great acting can make up for what looks like a very creepy and disturbing movie. The trailer alone is pretty scary, and the second they cut to chimps in cages I decided it wasn’t for me. As far as I’m concerned, part of the original film’s charm (the one with Charlton Heston) was its genuine kitsch component. It wasn’t particularly scary and the dialogue was super-hokey, which in turn made it fun. Nowadays, the computer effects are so sophisticated that the film looks genuinely terrifying. It will no doubt be quite popular, although it won’t outpace Harry Potter (with a billion dollars in the bank now, BTW). It’ll probably beat out Cowboys & Aliens. Who knows about The Smurfs. The curiosity factor alone will build attendance here, as will those moviegoers who love special effects, which are reportedly awesome in this film.

Hoping to make a dent in another lucrative audience segment  (the one that includes me and prefers Horrible Bosses, Friends With Benefits and Crazy, Stupid, Love to superheroes) we have The Change-up. Here, Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds do the old switcheroo where one’s a freewheeling lothario and the other’s an earnest and beleaguered family man. They swap places and my guess is that by the end of the movie everyone will know to be careful about what they wish for. We’ve seen this done before plenty, and clearly they’re counting on the appeal of a) both stars and b) the laugh quotient to outweigh any plot innovation.  I’ll certainly go see it strictly for the cast, although I’m not expecting to be transported anywhere for long.


If you’re seeking more serious fare there’s another movie opening called The Whistleblower and this all about a scandal to do with the cover-up of Bosnian sex-trafficking (I know, sounds like fun, right?) However it stars Rachel Weisz and it’s allegedly very good – if troubling. There may even be some awards buzz surrounding this one, as Weisz manages to impress fairly consistently. In fact, the brand new Mrs. Daniel Craig is often able to elevate a “good” movie (or at least raise its profile) and she’s got the Oscar to prove it.

There you have it; a couple of new releases to tickle your fancy.  Let us know what you see and, as always, what you thought.

Today’s poll:

Voice y0ur choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of this weekend’s movies you’re most looking forward to seeing:

1) Rise of the Planet of the Apes

2) The Change-up

3) Cowboys & Aliens 

4) The Smurfs 

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