This week at the movies

HDN | 4/25/2010 12:00:00 AM | Emrah Güler

Movies this week in children’s animation, international film, romantic comedy and drama draw mixed reviews.


[HH] The Bounty Hunter

Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler star in this movie — the kind where you get all the plot twists and most of the jokes from the trailer. The film is an action-comedy where ex-cop-cum-bounty-hunter Milo Boyd is asked to trail a convict who has skipped bail. That person turns out to be his ex-wife, Nicole Hurley. The film features the obligatory sexy shots of its hot actors, him just out of shower with only a towel around his waist, and her with cleavage as often as possible. As is the custom with Aniston movies, the biggest selling point of the film was the off-screen romance between her and her co-star. With trite dialogue, Aniston is not given the chance to showcase her talent for comedy, while Butler is in the movie to serve as eye candy.

Who should watch it? Those who would be satisfied to see any one of these two sexy stars on the big screen.

Who should avoid it? Those who are expecting to see a funny romantic comedy with at least one plot twist.

[HH] Halloween II

Director Rob Zombie — that’s right, it’s his last name — had raised quite a few eyebrows when he remade John Carpenter’s 1978 classic “Halloween” three years ago. He has now gone even further with a remake of the original movie’s sequel from 1981. The film is the tenth movie in the franchise, and begins where the first one had left off. Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) is trying to recover from the massacre of the previous movie, while Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) is hoping to cash in on what she had gone through in his next book. And of course, Michael Myers (Taylor Mane) with his horrific mask is just around the corner to wreak more havoc, hoping to reunite with his sister Laurie.

Who should watch it? Those who have somehow enjoyed “Halloween” of 2007.

Who should avoid it? Those who cherish the original “Halloween” series by John Carpenter.

[HH] How to Train Your Dragon

It’s Children’s Day today. The schools and most of the parents’ offices are closed. This is the enthusiastic 3-D animation children and hapless parents will go see today. The animation relates the story of an unlikely friendship between a 10-year-old boy and a dragon. Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (voice of Jay Baruchel) is a little Viking, living in the mountainside village of Berk. The villagers are constantly battling evil dragons. One day, the boy wounds a dragon about his age, names him Toothless, and the two become friends. He teaches a few things to adults about discrimination against the fire-breathing creatures. Gerard Butler is the voice of Hiccup’s father. Craig Ferguson, America ‘Ugly Betty’ Ferrera, and Jonah Hill also lend their voices.

Who should watch it? Those who can’t find an excuse to avoid a children’s movie, such as grandparents stuck with grandchildren while the parents are away on a long weekend.

Who should avoid it? Those who have high expectations from a string of superb animations recently released.

[HH] El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes)

This crime-drama from Argentina by revered director Juan Jose Campanella won this year’s Oscar for “best film in a foreign language.” The film brings together Campanella and Ricardo Darin, friends collaborating for the fourth time. Darin plays Benjamin Esposito, a federal agent recalling a case for a novel he’s writing. The narrative alternates between present day, 1999, and the date of the murder, 1974. Soledad Villamil and Pablo Rago also star. The film features a famous scene of a five-minute continuous shot of a stadium of a football match, which took three days of shooting and nine months of editing. Director Campanella has also directed episodes of American TV shows “House” and “Law & Order.”

Who should watch it? Those who need a break from Hollywood movies and have a penchant for art house drama from other parts of the world.

Who should avoid it? Those expecting a well-planned and cleverly-devised crime drama. The unfolding of the crime is too predictable.

[HH] Siyah Beyaz (Black and White)

The founder of the Ankara Cinema Association, organizer of the traveling Festival On Wheels, and the name covering various international film festivals for the daily Radikal, Ahmet Boyacıoğlu, goes behind the camera for his directorial debut. Siyah Beyaz is the name of one of the oldest bars in Turkey’s capital, Ankara. It’s famous for its over-50 regulars, earning it the name the “dinosaur bar.” Boyacıoğlu follows a string of regulars played by acclaimed veterans and newcomers Tuncel Kurtiz, Erkan Can, Tanel Birsel, Nejat İşler, Şevval Sam, and Derya Alabora. The cinematographer is Özgür Eken, the name behind the beautiful photography in Semih Kaplanoğlu’s “Yumurta” (Egg) and “Süt” (Milk).

Who should watch it? Those who would like to see a Turkish film not set in Istanbul or rural Turkey.

Who should avoid it? Those who are weary of testing newcomer directors in Turkish cinema.

[HH] The Spy Next Door

The man who did his own dangerous stunts once upon a time returns with another spy comedy. Jackie Chan is 55, and he’s a more mellow action figure. Here, he stars as Bob Ho, a spy working for both CIA and China. But his greatest challenge comes in the form of the three children of the divorced mom he’s courting (Amber Valletta). Abundant with scenes of gangsters and children coming together in unlikely situations, the funniest scenes rely on Chan trying his hands on being a family man. Billy Ray Cyrus and George Lopez also star.

Who should watch it? Those who are looking for an alternative to the week’s only animation for their children.

Who should avoid it? Those who want to remember Jackie Chan as the greatest martial arts hero ever.



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