Who remembers last week's 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown People's Choice Award Winner RUSH with the kickass choreographed ski ballet dance number at the end? It rules right? Turns out the film was directed by Rebecca Wood Barrett AND Lisa Fernandez and somehow Lisa got left out of all the official documents that guys like me read when they have to do a hungover-review of 10 films that screened nine hours prior. Making those 72-Hour flicks is damn hard work and Lisa deserves to be recognized as co-director on RUSH. Sorry Lisa.
In the theatres, I'm not sure exactly what's opening locally this week but Nicolas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) has a new flick dropping Friday starring Jason Segel (The Muppets) and Emily Blunt (The Wolfman) as a loving couple who continuously have to put off their wedding in The Five-Year Engagement.
Judd Apatow produces, which right there means the flick isn't going to be as good as stuff like 40-Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up or else Apatow would have directed it himself. Rated 14A (or R according to the MPAA) we can expect lots of foul language and some humorous sexual content but this one clocks in at just over two hours, which is long for any comedy and painfully long for one where fate keeps dealing people a crappy hand time and time again. Obviously love will win in the end, and Segel is always good for some chuckles, but it looks like The Five-Year Engagment will feel longer than that.
Safe, on the other hand, is an action-packed hour and 35 minute shoot-em-up thriller. Jason Statham (Transporter, The Bank Job) stars as an ex-cop/mixed martial arts goon who refuses to throw a fight for the Russian mob. So they kill his family and force him underground where the lone wolf meets a young Chinese genius-girl who has the number/combination sequence to a safe with $30 million of the Chinese mob's money. Toss in some corrupt cops and you have a pretty standard Jason Statham B-movie — not overly smart nor super original, but Safe does have some good one-liners and fight scenes choreographed by the guy who did Haywire. Director Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans) has the skills to keep this one on track and well-paced. Good enough for me.
Not as good, The Raven also opens Friday. It's hyped as a creepy combo of the writings of macabre master Edgar Allen Poe mixed into a revisionist historical drama thriller. When a psycho starts committing Poe-inspired murders in 1849 Cleveland, the author, played by John Cusack, must join forces with a local detective to crack the case and save a young heiress.
Unfortunately, The Raven is a bit light on things that go bump in the night and comes off more as a wannabe Seven-meets-Misery than anything worthy of Poe. The main problem with a movie about a literary genius is that you need a script that's well-written. Raven director James McTeague (V for Vendetta) doesn't have that to work with so even though the flick looks okay and is populated with decent actors it never really registers as much more than another dumb costume drama. The Raven is not even as good as The Crow.
The Download-Of-The-Week is Force of Nature the David Suzuki movie. Set as a companion piece to his Legacy Lecture at UBC, Force of Nature chronicles the life and career of a true Canadian hero and is heartbreaking, uplifting, enraging and enlightening. It's also free, if you get an iTunes download cards from Starbucks.