Weekend Movie Guide: Re-Re-Re-REMAKES!

WEEKEND MOVIE GUIDE: Opening this weekend, it’s a pair of 1980s remakes, a love story that spans two decades, the introduction of Aroma-Scope (*groans*), our soon-to-be favorite clown movie, and McDreamy punching v-cards and saving lives.

Conan the Barbarian

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“It takes a lot for a “Conan the Barbarian” movie to be flat-out idiotic, when you consider how low the bar is set already. But this remake of the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger extravaganza flirts with absurdity from its opening seconds: Morgan Freeman’s voice is heard as the narrator, which is in itself the stuff of parody. Then we listen and get lost within two sentences, because the narration is so poorly written that Freeman himself probably didn’t know what he was talking about.

“It’s downhill from there…” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle [MICK LASALLE IS THE WORST FILM CRITIC IN AMERICA! -Vince]

Armchair Analysis: Movies like Conan aren’t created to make us storm the gates of the Academy and demand Best Picture justice. They’re created for guys who like to have pushup contests on pub floors and for the bouncers who forcibly remove them. If you get your jollies from movies about juiced up nomads getting revenge, and you can see past the silliness of the plot and writing, then this movie should pleasure you. If you’re normal, it will suck. Or you could just read Vince’s review.

Fright Night

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“’Fright Night’ is different. It stands apart from the rehash pack by accomplishing something rival remakes rarely do: It improves on the premise it has been handed, producing a modernized version of a decades-old story that’s superior to its predecessor in virtually every aspect.” – Sean O’Connell, Washington Post

“It was wonderful, a fantastic tribute to my favorite 80s horror movie.” – Me, as I saw it earlier today and I’m ever so giddy.

Armchair Analysis: I loved this movie the first time and now I love the remake. If you’ve never seen the original – starring Chris Sarandon, the guy from “Herman’s Head,” and a young, surprisingly hot Marcy D’Arcy – you probably won’t understand why the trailer for the new film makes it look so cheesy, but that’s all part of the charm. To this day, I still want my neighbor to be a vampire. Or a wrestler from G.L.O.W.

One Day

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“They are completely wrong for each other. Which, of course, also makes them completely right for each other. His impulsiveness breaks her out of her drab severity. Her seriousness pulls him back to earth. They make each other better.

“Few films ‘get’ the strange, intertwining bonds of affection quite so effortlessly, although the episodic structure keeps the drama from flowing nicely. And the story — adapted by David Nicholls from his novel — could certainly use more fleshing out.” – Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger, presumably while making armpit farts

Armchair Analysis: A guy and a girl meet on their graduation day and they get together one day every year for the next 20 years. Basically, it sounds like the most organized booty call ever. Too bad it’s also such a ludicrous idea. Seriously, no guy is going to go out of his way to schedule one specific day out of each year to meet up with the same girl. That’s the kind of focus we set aside for fantasy football and Christmas.

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World

Rotten Tomatoes: 9%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“Spy Kids deals with time travel. To enjoy the film, retrogression, not revisiting your inner child would be a necessity. Perhaps I’m being too harsh. The film after all, was made with children in mind. And Robert Rodriguez does love to push the envelope with filmmaking. But providing cards that dispense fragrances is where you should draw the line.” – Daniel Pinto, Daily News

“What is disappointing is the ‘4-D’ aspect of the movie, or Aromascope as Rodriguez calls it. Viewers get a card, and at certain points in the movie a number will appear on screen to correspond with eight scratch ‘n’ sniff circles.

“Unless the cards have been improved since a press screening a few weeks ago, all you’ll smell is bacon-y eraser and candied turnips.” – Lisa Wilton, Toronto Sun

Armchair Analysis: I totally understand the idea behind regurgitated kids’ movie sequels. They’re neverending cash cows, even when they hit the straight-to-DVD point. But if I had kids and they wanted to see this, I’d send them to boarding school. Shame on you, Joel McHale.

The Last Circus

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“Though I felt certain aspects including the initial build up at the circus itself could have been extended, it was still an interesting piece. In the end, The Last Circus is dramatic, visually stunning and intriguing. While it isn’t a true horror film, per se, it does explore the genre through the means of the human psyche. But then again, what is the most terrifying monster of all but man?” – Lauren Taylor, Bloody Disgusting

“The movie never sits still long enough to create its own silly-gory groove, and everything is so over the top with extreme violence playfully mixed with equally extreme sex and terrorism portrayed as one part of a very loud, very political three-ring circus, that it’s hard to ever get a handle on anything that’s tangibly relatable.” – Drew Taylor, Indie Wire

Armchair Analysis: We’ve previously discussed this film about a circus clown that slaughters an entire platoon in the Spanish Civil War, and his son, who follows his father’s bloody, giant clown shoe steps. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to see this?


Rotten Tomatoes: 23%

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“And then — well, suffice to say that there’s something larger afoot here. But that something larger is so contrived and ludicrous that it’s neither funny nor interesting. In particular, it’s not funny — and that’s the real crime of Flypaper.” – Marshall Fine, Huffington Post

Sadly, “Flypaper” is neither clever nor funny enough to make a viewer care. Director Rob Minkoff (“Stuart Little”) keeps the action moving briskly but the characters, despite an overload of colorful quirks, remain artificial conceits. – Leah Rozen, Reuters

Armchair Analysis: Patrick Dempsey plays your average dude, just heading to the bank at closing to make a deposit, when two – count them, two! – gangs converge to rob the bank at the same time. AWKWARD! Sounds like a pretty decent setup for an action/suspense/thriller, right? Too bad it’s apparently a romantic comedy and it was written 12 years ago. Dempsey spends the film trying to stop the gangs and escape with a foxy teller played by Ashley Judd. God, I hope there’s a Sara Bareilles song in this.