Weekend Movie Guide: Behold, The Dark Ages Of January Releases

Senior Writer
01.03.14 10 Comments

Opening Everywhere: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Opening Somewhere: Open Grave, The Best Offer, Interior. Leather Bar.

FilmDrunk Suggests: Is this a trick question? It’s cold, maybe stay inside, build a fire and watch an old classic like Top Secret on DVD or Blu Ray.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 58% critics, 67% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

Pleasantly disposable ‘Paranormal Activity’ spinoff invests the found-footage horror franchise with some welcome diversity and humor. – Andrew Barker, Variety

The real terror of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the horrifying thought that Blair Witch disease rages unabated, 15 years after the outbreak began. – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Armchair Analysis: One thing I’d like to add to the ever-growing list of things that we wish Hollywood would stop doing this year is the fake “man on the street” commercials with the overzealous movie patrons telling us how much they sh*t their pants. Anyone who is still actually scared by these recycled ghost stories should not be allowed to speak on TV about anything.

Open Grave

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 17% critics, 51% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

The film’s aura of mystery only works in the first 20 minutes or so, when it seems effortless; after that it feels like it’s working very hard to keep the truth obscured, and in so doing just becomes a colorless slog. – Ian Buckwaiter, NPR

Where the story leads is so disappointing-and hackneyed-it makes the entire journey feel like an enormous waste of time. – Christy Lemire, RobertEbert.com

Armchair Analysis: Based on this synopsis, this movie seems quite intriguing…

A man (Sharlto Copley, DISTRICT 9, ELYSIUM) wakes up in a pit of dead bodies with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Fleeing the scene, he breaks into a nearby house and is met at gunpoint by a group of terrified strangers, all suffering from memory loss. Suspicion gives way to violence as the group starts to piece together clues about their identities, but when they uncover a threat that’s more vicious — and hungry — than each other, they are forced to figure out what brought them all together — before it’s too late.

But then I look at those critics scores and it seems horrible. Funny how that happens.

The Best Offer

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 44% critics, 78% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

Geoffrey Rush brings striking depth of character to a classic Old World mystery set against the sophisticated backdrop of Europe’s art auctions, with charming input from Jim Sturgess and Donald Sutherland. – Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

None of it comes together in any satisfying way, unfortunately, because Tornatore telegraphs every revelation with head-slapping amateurishness. – Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

Armchair Analysis: I have no clue what this movie is about, but it has Geoffrey Rush so it’s either fancy or about pirates.

Interior. Leather Bar.

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 50% critics, 36% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

Uses the notorious Friedkin movie as a starting point for a discussion about identity, perception, an actor’s mask and the fear and power of on-screen sexuality. – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

A partly authentic, partly scripted behind-the-scenes featurette that never quite conveys the star’s “high/curious” interest in all things taboo. – Peter Debruge, Variety

Armchair Analysis: I wouldn’t even know how to describe this strange and rather Franco-esque project to someone. But props to The Wrap for a URL that manages to combine James Franco and gay sex. Well played.

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