Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekend Forecast: All competition is "Expendables"

The summer blockbuster heat had unanimously died down after "The Dark Knight Rises" unusually anticlimactic first week, but there have still been a slew of wannabe actioners that have been trying to keep it alive. "The Bourne Legacy" has had a fair degree more success in that aspiration than "Total Recall" and "The Watch" have, but each new option for male audiences seems to take attention away from its predecessor. "The Expendables 2" doesn't have the franchise intelligence that "Bourne" had going for it, but that's hardly a necessity with so many 80s action icons proliferating the screen. It almost qualifies overkill if the film actually has aesthetic depth.

Since the box office majority will likely go the way of the mega-action sequel, audiences can expect smaller returns on the three other wide releases this weekend. The most promising in terms of audience affection is "Sparkle", long gaining buzz as Whitney Huston's last screen appearance. I admittedly have a place in my heart for pop-propelled cinema, but not without a genuine sense of care. I don't see it in "Sparkle", though I could end up proven wrong in time. Another significant release I have rather heavy doubts on is "ParaNorman", previously placed as my most anticipated film of the month. Excessive marketing since then has pushed it as a senselessly juvenile animated feature, rather than a piece of outstanding and terrifying originality like Laika's previous feature, "Coraline".

Last mainstream release this weekend, or rather first if you noticed its Wednesday release, is "The Odd Life of Timothy Green", a family fueled story of a boy who is grown for a couple after a rainy day. Any attempts for me to caution viewers not to see it will be wasted, as it's likely meant for families at the behest of their kids. As is often the case, the most intriguing films out this weekend are left to limited release eyes. "Cosmopolis" got a heavy dose of buzz when Robert Pattinson used his appearance on "The Daily Show" to urge his ardent legions of "Twilight" fans to see the film. Depending on how well that message was heard, we may see a major surge at the box office for Cronenberg's strange, you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it film.

A few more films of potential interest include "Robot and Frank", a film which played for laughs and heart at this year's Sundance Film Festival, though not to a magnificent amount of acclaim. Jesse Eisenberg-Melissa Leo comedy "Why Stop Now?" hasn't had much going for it in the way of critical backing, is likely to factor amongst the weaker indie comedies of the summer. "Persepolis" creator Marjane Satrapi's mild sophomore effort "Chicken with Plums" makes its way to American audiences this weekend, and "Compliance", a drama with sinister comedic tendencies, may emerge as either a small critical darling, or simply small.

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