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January is the often described as a grounding dump for the movies that studios want to bury and this week’s releases are a great example of this maxim. This week we see the releases of Jason Statham’s Parker, the delayed Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and the anthology comedy Movie 43.
PICK OF THE WEEK?
Directed by Taylor Hackford
Written by John J. McLaughlin (screenplay), Donald E. Westlake (novel ‘Flashfire’)
Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis
Theater Count: 2,224
What’s It About?
Parker (Statham) is a thief who lives by his own set rules and ethics ends up being double crossed by his old crew lead by Melander (Chiklis). Parker ends up working with real-estate agent, Leslie Rodgers (Lopez), to hijack Melander’s next heist.
Early Reaction: The reaction from critics has been lukewarm. Even critics who gave Parker a positive review do not venture beyond a 3 out of 4 or 3 out of 5. But it still the movie that got the best critical reception of the week and the only wide release movie that was press screened to critics.
Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
What to Watch For: It is a movie for Statham fans, with him kicking ass, dressing up in disguises and do something he has never done below, try a Texan accent.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Written by Tommy Wirkola, D.W. Harper
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Jannsen, Peter Stormare, Pihla Viitala
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Theater Count: 3,372
What’s It About?
Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are a brother and sister bounty hunter team who track and kill witches all over the world with a variety of streampunk weapons. But they have to face a new evil coven that leads to a secret in their own past.
Early Reaction: Warning sign number one was the movie’s release date was pushed by 10 months. Warning sign number two: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was not screened to critics in advance. The critical reception has been overwhelmingly negative, stating that despite its tongue-in-cheek nature it is not funny enough.
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
What to Watch For: Jeremy Renner’s star power is on the rise: but how will he fare when he is biggest star leading an action-fantasy comedy?
Directed by Peter Farrelly, Elizabeth Banks, Steven Brill, Steve Carr, Rusty Cundieff, James Duffy, Griffin Dunne, Patrick Forsberg, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Brett Ratner, Jonathan van Tulleken
Written by Will Carlough, Tobias Carlson, Jacob Fleisher, Patrick Forsberg, Will Graham, James Gunn, Claes Kjellstrom, Jack Kukoda, Bill O’Malley, Matthew Portenoy, Greg Pritlkin, Rocky Russo, Olle Sarri, Elizabeth Shapiro, Jeremy Sosenko, Jonathan van Tulleken, Jonas Wittenmark
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Emma Stone, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gerald Butler, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Naomi Watts
Distributor: Relativity Media
Theater Count: 2,023
What’s It About?
Movie 43 has been marketed as the biggest ensemble movie ever, with a massive star-filled cast ranging from Hugh Jackman to Chloë Grace Moretz to Johnny Knoxville. Movie 43 had 15 writers working on the movie and eleven directors, including big names like Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand), James Gunn (Super) and actress Elizabeth Banks. The basic plot is a group of teenagers look for the most bland video ever and search the internet to find it.
Early Reaction: Movie 43 was not screened for critics and the few reviews that are out are very negative, criticizing the movie for being a horrid, crass, unfunny comedy.
Rotten Tomatoes: 8%
What to Watch For: To see a lot of big name actors disgracing themselves in one movie.
Knife Fight – The political drama Knife Fight sees a mini-reunion of The West Wing, as Rob Lowe and Richard Schiff star. Lowe stars as Paul Turner, a political strategist as he tries to juggle three major candidates has be has to decide whether to take the high ground as the dirty side of politics haunts him. (Metacritic 35, Rotten Tomatoes: 15%) – IFC Films