Hollywood Movie Roundup: Give me “Kick-Ass” or give me “Death”
BY Kevin Crust
You can put your 3D glasses away because for the first time in weeks a 2D movie should rule the box-office roost. Two modestly budgeted genre movies will duke it out for the top spot with “How to Train Your Dragon” a threat to slip back into second place should either stumble. The first up is the highly marketed movie:
Director Matthew Vaughn (“Layer Cake”) co-wrote (with Jane Goldman) this adaptation of the hyper-violent Michael Millar comic book series about a regular teen who tries to be a superhero and discovers that he is not alone. Nicolas Cage is the big name, but he’s in a supporting role with Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz poised to breakout if this catches on.
Critics are giving “Kick-Ass” a surprisingly warm welcome with Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times citing its exacting knowledge of its largely adolescent male, comic-collecting audience’s fantasies. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times reps those more impressed by the then-11-year-old Moretz’s performance as Hit Girl. Ebert and fellow Chicagoan Michael Phillips of the Tribune are simply not that interested with Ebert finding it “morally reprehensible.”
This one’s been buzzing since Comic-Con 2009 and the positive reviews will only bolster the online echo chamber of the fanboys. With nine months of gestating anticipation built up, the film looks like it could join titles such as “Sin City” and “Kill Bill, Vol. 2” among the biggest gross R-rated April openers ever with a take between $25-$30 million.
DEATH AT A FUNERAL
A remake of the well-regarded 2007 British-American comedy, its been relocated to L.A. and stocked with a mostly African American cast, but it’s faithful enough that original screenwriter Dean Craig still gets the credit. Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence head the cast as the battling sons of the deceased. Peter Dinklage reprises his key role from the first movie, while Tracy Morgan, James Marsden, Loretta Devine, Regina King, Keith David and Danny Glover are also on hand. Director Neil LaBute steps away from his prolific playwriting career and indie films to give mainstream comedy a shot.
The reviews have mostly been middling, but Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that it’s funnier than the original. Most critics, however, such as Stephen Holden of the New York Times and Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times, acknowledge some laughs but deride the plug-and-play mentality that went into making it.
The original was an art house hit but it’s sub-$10 million gross leaves plenty of people who have not seen it. Screen Gems is selling it as a broad comedy and it should be able to tap into the faithful African American audience that has made Tyler Perry such a force and rake in more than $20 million for the three days.
“DEATH AT A FUNERAL” TRAILER