In Theaters This Weekend: March 9, 2012

The big question this week: is "John Carter" going to suck? For this weekend's releases, that's about the only thing people are curious about right now. Disney has been marketing this movie like crazy for the past couple of months (I'll explain below how this may be working negatively against them in a way), and right now, this is the most interesting thing we have releasing. Good or bad, a lot of questions will be answered in a few short days.

As I stated, the big one this weekend is "John Carter". We talked pretty extensively about it in this week's edition of the Slackers Selection CinemaCast, but for those of you who missed it, here's our basic thoughts: Fist off, it's a massively-budgeted sci-fi movie involving lots of alien creatures and tons of special effects. From the trailers and images we've seen, it actually looks pretty cool. I mean, it's Disney. If they want to throw the money at something to make it look pretty, they can. So I don't expect there to be any shortcomings on that end. The other side of it though is that it's a big-budget sci-fi movie made by Disney. Is this just going to be for the kiddies? As stated above, Disney's done a great job making sure everyone knows that this film exists. There's no question about that. But in the process, they've also made it incredibly clear that they're the studio behind it. I have no qualms with Disney, they generally produce quality movies. But for this specific type of movie, I'm not sure everyone's convinced that they have to chops to play with this crowd. Though, after hearing some of what helmer Andrew Stanton, writer and director of many Disney/PIXAR animated films, had to say about his movie-making process recently, I can say that I'm a little more at ease. Whether it's animation or live-action, I'm pretty sure this guy gets it. Again though, will that translate?

I'm not at all familiar with the original source material, so I'm not sure how the imagery and dialogue compares, but at this point, I'll say that I've given myself an argument for both sides of this thing, and if nothing else, I've piqued my own curiosity to a point where I just have to go see the thing and see how it turns out. The closer we get, the more I get the feeling we're going to end up with a Transformers-esque movie and be completely surprised by the quality put out.

Two weeks ago, I would have told you this movie will probably be a joke, and other than the cool effects you're sure to see, I probably wouldn't waste your theater dollars on it unless you had a little one that already saw "The Lorax". But I've moved passed my original hangups. This looks pretty fun, and I'm more convinced than ever that there's good potential for this to be a very fun theater experience.

Moving on.

Two other films open up nationally this weekend. They are "Silent House" and "A Thousand Words". "Silent House" should be an interesting take on the genre. It stars Elizabeth Olson who recently received high marks for her performance in Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene". The interesting style that this film uses is that it's all done in one continuous shot. There are no cuts, no other angles. One camera, one take. This might turn out to be really cool and really interesting, or it might prove to be nothing more than a gimmick.

If nothing else, I'm intrigued with this. I don't know if it will be exactly my style, but as I do with most horror/thriller films, I hope this one can find a place in its overly-diluted market. It's directed by the same people that did "Open Water", if you remember that film - 2003 seems like so long ago now... I don't think this one will be a theater watch for me, but I'm curious to see what the reviews on it will be. Maybe Elizabeth Olson will bring fresh perspective to the genre.

Otherwise, at the very bottom of the barrel, Eddie Murphy's "A Thousand Words" will also be releasing. I think that with one view of this trailer you'll know whether or not this will ever be worth your time. In my case, it's a strong never. Look, we've all seen "Meet Dave", "Norbit", "Daddy Day Care", "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" (actually, I've never seen ONE of those movies...). But we still know the kind of comedy and quality of the films. It isn't high in either regard. Suffice it to say, I will not be checking this one out in theaters or otherwise. I like Eddie Murphy and I'd love for him to get back to the type of work he was doing in the 80s. This just isn't it.

But that's what we're looking at. An interesting big-budget sci-fi movie, a unique horror/thriller, and another Eddie Murphy comedy. Good enough to keep the spring months moving.