Weekend Movie Guide

There are five big releases this weekend: Arthur, Hanna, Born to be Wild 3D, Your Highness, and Soul Surfer.  Here’s the rundown:

HANNA: CIA assassin Eric Bana, The Incredible Hulk, trains his daughter Susie Salmon to be an unstoppable, Cape Fear, riding-in-the-undercarriage-of-trucks-style killing machine.

RottenTomatoes Score: 70%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

In the end there might not be much to this tale other than titillation, but there’s plenty to be said for Ms. Ronan, who was the best thing about “Atonement” and holds her ground against forceful screen presences like Ms. Blanchett and Mr. Bana. -Manola Dargis, NY Times

“Hanna” presents the problem of the well-made diversion that is, at its core, repellent.  For all its globe-trotting, the movie never goes anywhere. -Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

Hanna is a fairy tale of lightning speed, gritty action and shocking gravity, all driven by the electronic beat of a hypnotic score by the Chemical Brothers. [oh, barf]. –Peter Travers

Armchair Assessment: I had no interest in seeing this, probably because I’ll always associate Saoirse Ronan with Atonement and The Lovely Bones, and because Joe Wright seems like a grandstanding dick, but people seem to genuinely like it.  At the very least, it seems like a movie you could laugh at, what with Susie Salmon riding underneath army trucks and whatnot.

YOUR HIGHNESS: Danny McBride gets stoned with a minotaur while Natalie Portman’s butt gets some air.

RottenTomatoes: 23%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

Like the best punk rock, Southern-rock, hip-hop or heavy metal, there’s a refreshing—corrective—honesty in the film’s irreverence. From the credit sequence styled after defaced storybooks to Thadeous’ odyssey of dangerous tasks and encounters with grotesque creatures (including a hyperactive Minotaur), the fantastic occurs without dulling the imagination as in Lord of the Rings. –Armond White

“Your Highness” is a juvenile excrescence that feels like the work of 11-year-old boys in love with dungeons, dragons, warrior women, pot, boobs and four-letter words. The screenplay by Danny McBride is so hopeless, he didn’t even write himself a good role, and he plays the lead. -Roger Ebert [I didn’t link it because he spoiled one of the best gags]

I feel a kind of head-swiveling awe in Your Highness‘s concentration of aimless inanity, in the purity of its devotion to its own louche principles. -Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

Armchair Assessment: I already wrote my review, and God help me, I agree with Armond White on this one.  Almost completely.  I’m second guessing myself, but I honestly enjoyed it. And at least Lindy and Drew McWeeny agree with me, so I know I’m not totally out of line on this one.  Some people just can’t handle penises, man. And to me that’s sad.

ARTHUR: Russell Brand is rich and blah blah something something Luis Guzman is still awesome.

RottenTomatoes: 24%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

Worse than film school formula, Arthur’s transparently the product of some powerful Hollywood agents responsible for foisting Brand on American culture. Arthur’s inamorata is another agent-foisted ingenue, Greta Gerwig, whose smiley-face slow readings intrude mumblecore lassitude on commercial efficiency. –Armond White [Come on, that was awesome]

The first Arthur was one of the most horribly mechanical comedies ever made (written and directed by the late advertising ace Steve Gordon). Only at the end of the ’70s could its indulgence of decadent NYC excess be excused, but even back then some thought it offensive. Arthur is exactly the kind of junk film schools do teach. It remakes the 1981 Dudley Moore film, following previously established clichés (what some film schools regard as sacrosanct commercial formula)—adding only contemporary political correctness. -Armond White

Here comes Arthur, and I have to say that I don’t have much to say. Arthur is, obviously, a wholly unnecessary remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore vehicle of the same name. It is not terrible. -Lindy West, The Stranger

“Arthur” might be the year’s first summer movie, in the sense that if you’re stuck in the house on a rainy day with a large group that extends from tweens to grandparents, you could definitely do worse. –Salon

Armchair Assessment:  As much as I like to point out how obnoxious Russell Brand is, in everything I’ve seen him in — Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek — he sort of underplayed things and was altogether likable.  This probably isn’t terrible either, but I will probably never see it unless I’m on a plane with a crappy selection.  It looks like it was literally made out of shrugs.

BORN TO BE WILD 3D: Orphaned orangutans?  F*ck yeah.

RottenTomatoes: 97%

Armchair Assessment: Orphaned orangutans? F*ck yeah.

SOUL SURFER: The heart-warming true story of the girl whose arm was bitten off by a shark but later learned to paddle in a circle with the help of Jesus.

RottenTomatoes: 51%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

Shamelessly pandering to the elusive Christian family audience, a committee of 18 producers and seven writers has removed nearly every trace of grit from this airbrushed portrait. -Lou Lumenick, NY Post

The flaw in the storytelling strategy of “Soul Surfer” is that it doesn’t make Bethany easy to identify with. She’s almost eerie in her optimism. Her religious faith is so unshaken, it feels taken for granted. -Roger Ebert

For plenty of family viewers, this film will catch a wave. -Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger [(*slap bass run, bow tie spin*)]

Armchair Assessment: It’s BLUE CRUSH meets 127 HOURS!  Let’s face it, I’m not going to see this, but you know what would be better than seeing this film?  Watching this Bethany chick and Aron Ralston gettin’ it on.  I am hard like a diamond right now.