Hollywood Movie Roundup: Will anyone remember these “Titans”?
BY KEVIN CRUST
If you measure Summer by big budget, effects-driven movies, then Summer has arrived. We have a Greek mythology remake that fits the bill and some counter-programming in the form of Hannah Montana-meets-Nicholas Sparks and a semi-annual offering from Tyler Perry. If you’re looking for something with good reviews, on the other hand, you’re best advised to stick with the art house.
CLASH OF THE TITANS
Sam Worthington, hot off “Avatar,” stars as the demigod Perseus, stepping into the familial squabbling involving Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes). Louis Leterrier (“Transporter 2,” “The Incredible Hulk” reboot) directs from a script credited to Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi and Travis Beacham, based on the 1981 movie that starred Harry Hamlin and Laurence Olivier and developed a cult following over the years.
Even critics who find the movie moderately entertaining don’t agree on the visual appeal. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times saw it in 2D and thought it looked “terrific,” cautioning families to save the extra money it costs now to see it in 3D. Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly declares that “there isn’t a single good ‘Wow!’ of a 3D shot in the entire picture.” The majority of the reviewers were much less accommodating. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times writes that it matches the 1981 version as “goofily amusing” — but that’s not actually a compliment. The USA Today’s Claudia Puig labels it a “boring behemoth,” Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers calls it a “sham” and the Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern says it is a “sad fiasco.” Dana Stevens of Slate suggests that Leterrier and company should have “steered straight into camp and stepped on the gas.”
Postponed a week so that it could be converted to 3D, “Titans” marches into spring break with a big action-movie push from Warner Bros. Sold as “300” with monsters, it should break $60 million for its first weekend — with WB hoping for something approaching the 2007 film’s $70.9M opening. With 3D quickly becoming the standard for big movies, it will be interesting to see if audiences discern between those actually shot in 3D (such as “Avatar”) and these so-called “conversions.”
THE LAST SONG
The mega-selling novelist Sparks adds screenwriter to his resume (sharing credit with Jeff Van Wie) with this adaptation of his novel. Miley Cyrus gets her first non-Hannah live-action lead playing a teen who is sent off to spend some quality time with her estranged father (the recently omnipresent Greg Kinnear). Australian heartthrob Liam Hemsworth and Kelly Preston also star. TV director Julie Anne Robinson (“Weeds,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) makes her feature debut.
The reviews are all over the middle-ground with nobody really loving it and nobody really hating it. Okay, the NY Post’s Lou Lumenick and Travers really hate it, but otherwise things are pretty lukewarm to tepid. The boosters, EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum and Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, primarily praise Cyrus as a budding movie star. At the other end, A.O. Scott, in the NYT, writes that it is “as stuffed with bogus feeling and overwrought incident as a fast-food burrito.” Maudlin seems to be a very popular word reviewers are using to describe the movie.
“Song” got an early jump on the competition with a Wednesday opening, leapfrogging “How to Train Your Dragon” on the daily box-office chart. It doesn’t figure to give “Titans” much of a run for the money, but Sparks’ adaptations are generally solid performers. “Dear John” opened at $30.5 million earlier this year and went on to do $89 million. The presence of Cyrus would figure to lure younger audiences — “Hannah Montana the Movie” did $32.3M this time last year — but forecasters are betting this one does around $16M for the weekend and $22M for the five days.
WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?
The prolific hyphenate reconvenes the four couples from his 2007 drama, “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” in the Bahamas for further meditations on relationships. Perry, Sharon Leal, Janet Jackson, Malik Yoba, Jill Scott, Lamman Rucker, Richard T. Jones, and Tasha Smith play the tight-knit group of buppies struggling to maintain life’s balance.
Despite Lionsgate’s declarations to the contrary, they still don’t trust critics enough to screen Perry’s films in advance. Most of his early movies, which were largely adaptations of plays featuring the over-the-top Madea character, were greeted harshly by reviewers. However, his attempt at more mainstream fare — the first “Why Did I Get Married” — fared slightly better with critics. Jeannette Catsoulis, writing in the NYT, called “WDIGM,” “a beautifully shot (by Toyomichi Kurita), fluid drama filled with compassionately written characters.”
Perry’s films is as dependable as they come at the box office and this one figures to be no different. It should easily clear $20M and factoring in the Easter holiday, “Why Did I Get Married Too?” could finish closer to $30M and eclipse “Last Song.”
“CLASH OF THE TITANS” TRAILER
“THE LAST SONG” TRAILER
“WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?” TRAILER