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Box Office – Weekend of April 4th, 2008

Welcome to the Box Office! In this weekly feature, I’ll look at each week’s wide releases, summarize their plots (i.e. pasting from, and give my opinion of whether or not they’re worth your 8 dollars (or whatever godawful price they’re charging these days).This week has a few new releases, each appealing to a different set of moviegoers:

“Leatherheads”starring George Clooney, Renée Zellweger, & John Krasinski
Plot summary – A romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America’s nascent pro-football league in 1925. Dodge Connolly, a charming, brash football hero, is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his ragtag ranks. This new champ is almost too good to be true, and Lexie Littleton aims to prove that’s the case. A cub journalist playing in the big leagues, Lexie is a spitfire newswoman who suspects there are holes in Carter’s war story. As the new game of pro-football becomes less like the freewheeling sport he knew and loved, Dodge must both fight to keep his guys together and to get the girl of his dreams.
My take – I saw this movie yesterday, but I’ll spare you from a review. Let me just say that the period aspect of the movie (it’s set in the late 1920s) certainly adds to its appeal to me. I like the vintage styles and the classic look at football that we usually don’t get to see this side of ESPN Classic. I’m not the biggest George Clooney fan – I like a number of his movies, but I’m not swooning over him or anything – so he’s not the selling point for me. Renée Zellweger seems to fit the period quite nicely, but she’s never been that special to me. Lastly, I’m not an avid watcher of “The Office”, so I’m not familiar with John Krasinski, but it’s always nice to see a decent fresh face come along. Since this is pretty much a romantic comedy, I’m initially turned off, but its extra stylistic elements make me more intrigued than I would be otherwise. It’s worth a shot if you’re into screwball comedy, which I say is definitely better than the raunchy equivalent
[ Click for more info on the movie ][ Click to see the trailer ]

“Shine a Light”starring The Rolling Stones & Martin Scorsese
Plot summary – A career-spanning documentary on the Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their “A Bigger Bang” tour.
My take – With Martin Scorsese directing, it’s guaranteed to be a least decent. “Roc Docs” aren’t a new thing, as neither is one on the Stones, but it still seems like an interesting concept. I’m intrigued by seeing how Jagger, Richards, & co. are holding up these days and seeing the spin that Academy Award winner Scorsese puts on it, so I’d definitely see it myself. Concert footage featuring Christina Aguilera and Jack White will likely spice things up as well for those who aren’t familiar with the Rolling Stones beyond the name of a certain magazine.
[ Click for more info on the movie ][ Click to see the trailer ]

“Nim’s Island”starring Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin, & Gerard Butler
Plot summary – A young girl inhabits an isolated island with her scientist father and communicates with a reclusive author of the novel she’s reading. Based on the book by Wendy Orr and Kerry Millard.
My take – I haven’t seen a Gerard Butler movie that wasn’t named “300”, so I’m not familiar with his work or how he’d fare in more “family friendly” roles. I like him, though, so I’d check this out regardless. Jodie Foster has never been really high on my list, and “The Brave One” wasn’t even on my radar last year, but this movie is an entirely different bird, so no comparing this to “The Silence of the Lambs”. It’d be funny to see Anthony Hopkins pop up, though. Abigail Breslin looks adorable, as always, and look to be a good little actress. Overall, the movie seems cheesy, but what family movie these days isn’t? It looks like a fun time with plenty of adventure, action, and physical humor courtesy of Foster. It delivers easy laughs, and that certainly doesn’t hurt when it comes to this type of a movie. What more could you really ask of it?
[ Click for more info on the movie ][ Click to see the trailer ]

“The Ruins”starring Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, & Shawn Ashmore
Plot summary – A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins.
My take – Okay, this trailer completely grossed me out. The promise of plenty of gore doesn’t appeal to me either, so it’s safe to say that I’ll be skipping this one. It certainly looks creepy and unique in a genre that’s full of monsters and singular villains, so I’ll give it that much. I just cannot stomach the gross “crawling under the skin” thingies, but clearly that’s what they were going for – to get your gag reflex. Mission accomplished, I’d say. Just not my cup of tea in the least.
[ Click for more info on the movie ][ Click to see the trailer ]

So what, in my opinion, is most worth your money, and what is the equivalent of tossing your cash out of a moving car’s window? Let’s see:
• THE BEST BET“Nim’s Island”. It’s a family film, so there’s not much it could disappoint on. If you go in with lax expectations and the right mood, chances are you won’t be disappointed. It’s just silly fun, and what’s wrong with that?
• THE WORST BET“The Ruins”. Aside from my personal adverse reactions to the trailer, horror movies these days never seem to deliver. They promise plenty of scares and adrenaline-pumping action, but most of the time they fall way short of their goals. I’d be wary of wasting my money on what could very likely just be another horror failure.

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