This Week In Movies By Pete Hammond – “Immortals”

By Pete Hammond The state of mainstream Hollywood cinema can be downright depressing sometimes. Witness the number one and number two movies of the week. In first place with a decent, if underwhelming $32 million is Relativity’s ripoff of 300 called Immortals. With ‘Superman’ in waiting Henry Cavill in the lead the film is a 3D sword and sandal beefcake epic that has no substance and no reason for being except for the fact that it wants to make money. It’s ‘B’ Cinemascore rating of audience satisfaction indicates the crowds that showed up were not too impressed and word of mouth must have been fairly lethal from Friday to Saturday as there was a large percentage drop between the two days. Of course 300 which starred Gerard Butler was a huge worldwide hit and did lots for bare ass warriors. It grossed somewhere in the vicinity of $70 in its first weekend just in the U.S. Plus it wasn’t in the higher-priced 3D like this film. The 3D conversion is fairly weak here and it is not necessary to sit thru this thing with glasses on to get the full effect. 2D ,in other words is just fine.

As for the number two film, Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill in which the star takes on the hoary old cross dressing routine and plays his own sister, it is disheartening to see that it could even make as much as the estimated $26 million that it did. When are audiences gonna sour on these low common denominator comedies Sandler keeps churning out to great success. His earlier trifle this year, Just Go With It, actually managed to make over $100 million. The abysmal film he produced but didn’t star in, Bucky Larson Wants to be a Star came and went quickly in early September thank god. It is truly my candidate for Worst movie of 2011 and I don’t see a prayer of anything coming along to beat it, but I have to say Jack and Jill is a strong contender for the crown. You could see where this film was going just from the billboards with the ugly mug of Sandler in drag. It’s sad that Sandler keeps going for this schtick. He has proven on occasion he can be very good in the right hands and given smarter material. Wise up , Adam.

So was there ANY hope for adults this week? This is supposed to be November, safe haven for smart Oscar-type movies right? Well Clint Eastwood unveiled his latest, J.Edgar starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the late and controversial FBI director J.Edgar Hoover. DiCaprio is superb under several pounds of old age makeup in the film. If an actor can survive all that makeup and still deliver a three dimensional performance he’s a great actor, and Leo certainly proves to be one. When I talked to him last week he said the 8 hour process of applying the make up every day was absolutely grueling and he felt like he couldn’t possibly emote under all of it ,but somehow he did. Co-star Armie Hammer as his constant companion and maybe-lover Clyde Tolson is also terrific but they did him no favors with his make up job. He looks like he just walked out of a high school play in his old age scenes. It’s too bad because otherwise he is terrific as is Naomi Watts as Hoover’s loyal secretary. Audiences and critics were mixed on the movie but you can bet DiCaprio will be up for an Oscar.

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About Pete Hammond

Pete Hammond is a writer, producer, movie critic and film expert whose commentary on the entertainment industry has appeared in numerous publications and on air interviews including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, OK Magazine, NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, Evening News With Brian Williams on MSNBC, the CBC, BBC, Bravo, E!, AMC, Canada AM and the KTLA Morning Show.

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