Hollywood Contenders – Looking at Best Original Screenplay hopefuls                Todd Haynes explores the world of children with "Wonderstruck"                MUDBOUND and COCO to be Honored at Hollywood Film Awards                "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" pairs Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman once again                "Wonder Wheel" closes NYFF with a commanding Kate Winslet turn                Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney to Receive Hollywood Supporting Actor and Hollywood Supporting Actress Awards at "Hollywood Film Awards"                Hollywood Contenders – Looking at Best Adapted Screenplay hopefuls                "Breathe" aims to return Andrew Garfield to Oscar contention                Mary J. Blige, Timothée Chalamet and the Cast of "I, Tonya" - Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Paul Walter Hauser to be honored at the 21st Annual "Hollywood Film Awards."                New Trailer drops for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"                "Goodbye Christopher Robin" reveals the origins of Winnie the Pooh                Hollywood Contenders – Looking at Best Supporting Actress hopefuls                "The Florida Project" is one of the year's best films                Trailer for "Wonder Wheel" showcases one of Woody Allen's most visual efforts to date                “Blade Runner 2049” and “Jigsaw”: Films to see in October        

Hollywood Movie Roundup: What a “Dragon” it is getting old

BY KEVIN CRUST

This is the week that “Alice” finally topples from her perch atop the box-office charts and folks in big cities will be paying even more for that third dimension.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON

DreamWorks Animation, which had a big hit this same weekend last year with “Monsters Vs. Aliens,” stakes out the turf once more with this 3D feature that has been getting hyped all winter. Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (“Lilo & Stitch”) adapt Cressida Cowell’s book about a Viking lad (voiced by Jay Baruchel) who is tasked with the titular act as a rite-of-passage. Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrara and Jonah Hill also lend their voices.

The reviews are solid with most finding the storytelling conventional and workmanlike, but citing the 3D and, especially, the flying sequences, worthy of seeing in a theater (but at what cost?). Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune, his city rival, Mr. Ebert of the Sun-Times, A.O. Scott of the New York Times, Claudia Puig of USA Today, the Los Angeles Times’  Betsy Sharkey and Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers all come down favorably, while Ella Taylor, writing in the Village Voice, leads the naysayers, calling the film “adequate and unremarkable.”

It will be interesting to see how the bump in admission prices for 3D flicks — to a whopping $17.50 in some venues — will affect “Dragon’s” grosses. Prognosticators put its opening weekend in the $40-45 million range, enough to topple “Alice” but short of the $59.3 million that “Monster” raked in a year ago.

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE

Everything is right there in the title and for audiences of a certain age it screams “Guilty Pleasure.”  John Cusack stars in an homage to the kind of hormone-driven comedies that kicked off his career (“The Sure Thing,” “Better Off Dead”) and re-teams him with frequent collaborator Steve Pink (“Grosse Pointe Blank,” “High Fidelity”), who is making his feature directing debut. Cusack, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson (“Pineapple Express”) play middle-aged friends who use the liquid temporal portal to try to get their ’80s groove back, such as it was. The movie was written by the trio of Sean Anders & John Morris (“She’s Out of My League”) and Josh Heald.

Critics, for the most part, fall into the age range that might fall prey to the movie’s unabashedly lowbrow time-trippin’. It’s faring surprisingly well at both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. Full of backhanded compliments and not-always-flattering comparisons to “The Hangover,” reviewers both male (A.O. Scott, Michael Phillips, Roger Ebert) and female (Betsy Sharkey, Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum) are giving it the old thumbs up. A few holdouts, notably Claudia Puig, the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern and Dana Stevens of Slate felt the film wasn’t dumb enough to be fun or didn’t deliver the requisite heart to be endearing.

“Hot Tub” is poised to open at close to $20 million, but with spring break rolling out over the next few weeks and the nostalgia factor extending interest into the upper quadrants, it could prove to be a tidy, little hit for MGM, which sure could use one.

GREENBERG
“Greenberg,” which opened to good reviews in Los Angeles and New York last week, adds nearly 180 screens as it fans out across the country.

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One Comment

  • March 26, 2010 | Permalink |

    i’m interested to see ben stiller in greenberg for a more serious role

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