March and April begins the pre-Summer box-office season: a collection of studio releases that aren’t capable of opening up over the Holidays or May-August timeframe out of fear of being lost in a crowded marketplace (due to lack of quality, marketability or audience appeal).
Bryan Singer’s fantasy epic Jack the Giant Slayer(RT: 49%, MC: 51) is the only major release this week and is pretty much the epitome of a Spring tentpole release. Originally scheduled to go toe-to-toe with things like Snow White and the Huntsman and Brave last June, Warner Brothers moved the film into an fairly-uncompetitive* March 1 berth.
I can’t imagine that the studio is expecting this to launch a franchise or anything at this point. This has had the stench of damaged goods around it for well over a year and Singer’s immediate retreat to the safe harbor of X-Men sequels is probably telling. Box office-wise this could be a surprise like Alice in Wonderland or another Eragon. Lord knows.
Nicholas Hoult, fresh off the success of Warm Bodies, leads his first big-budget blockbuster. I was very impressed with his work as a child actor, but I’m really not feeling the guy as an adult lead. He seems like a taller, blander, Twink-ier ersion of Elijah Wood, whose career now involves direct-to-video erotic thrillers with Sasha Gray. The presence of Ewan McGregor as the film’s alpha male would typically be worrisome, but advanced word is that he’s one of it’s more enjoyable elements. Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane and Eleanor Tomlinson co-star.
Masquerade (RT: 100%, MC: n/a): South Korean mega-hit costume drama from Chang-min Choo (Late Blossom, Lost in Love). I’ve never heard of it. Any good?
The Last Exorcism 2 (RT: n/a, MC: 63%): Eli Roth-produced horror sequel.
21 and Over (RT: 28%, MC: 37%): Project X-capitalizing comedy “From the writers of The Hangover”. No.
For classic fare: The Criterion in New Haven is running the soapy Bette Davis/Claude Rains drama Now Voyager (1942) and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992) Fri-Sun. Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center has a screening of La Dolce Vita (1960) open to the public on Saturday.
*I’m a little confused as to why they didn’t go February 21, as it would have bought them a full two weeks before the similar (and similarly-questionable) OZ: The Great and Powerful opens and consumes much of it’s audience.