Weekend Movie Guide: ‘The Big Year’ Is For The Birds LOL

In Theaters Errywhere: The Big Year, The Thing, Footloose

In Theaters Somewhere: Trespass, Fireflies in the Garden

FilmDrunk Suggests: Vince is going to see The Lion King for the 114th time! You should hear him sing “Hakuna Matata” while you reach for his popcorn. [50/50, Drive, The Guard, and Midnight in Paris are all worth your money. I haven’t seen Take Shelter, but it looks awesome. -Vince]

Now off to the theater!

The Big Year

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 38% critics, 69% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“But somehow, the comic chemistry never seems to ignite in “The Big Year,” which burbles along at the clunky pace of a low-stakes chase; issues of male ego, competitiveness and compensation are briefly addressed but never truly engaged, and too often, the three actors look and feel as if they’re in three different movies.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

“Yet with Black, Martin and Wilson front and center, it’s easy to refocus. Each is completely in his wheelhouse, and Black, especially, gets to round out his leading-man résumé thanks to Brad’s sweet wooing of a fellow birder. These guys are showing off their plumage, and despite all the rushing around, it’s a sight to see.” – Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

Armchair Analysis: I’m biased. I absolutely loathe Jack Black, and if you’ve seen the trailer for The Big Year he’s up to his oh-so-hilarious dancing shenanigans again. Yet I love Steve Martin and Joel McHale. But then again I hate Anthony Anderson, and Owen Wilson is only occasionally funny. Clearly, my gut tells me this is an epic grease fart, but it’s PG, has plenty of star power, and has just enough of an absurd plot that people should shell out some cash for it. But doesn’t a film about competitive bird watchers just scream Christopher Guest? Maybe in a perfect world. Alas, this is no perfect world:

The Thing

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 29% critics, 76% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“We’re here to jump out of our skins. And the narrow corridors and shallow focus are perfect for wondering what’s behind the corners. In terms of scares, this old-fashioned “Thing” is better than most new things.” – Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News (I used his review again because I wanted to point out that he likes everything and is a bad person.)

“This new “The Thing” dutifully takes place before the events in Carpenter’s film. But everything about it — the action scenes, even the music — is so clearly based on what he did, it feels like a copy. And a slightly cheap one at that.” – Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger

Armchair Analysis: Hooray, a remake being packaged as a prequel! As I’ve previously pointed out, Fright Night pulled off a fantastic horror film remake. The Thing looks to be just another case of someone reaching into a hat and pulling out the name of an old movie that could draw a quick profit. It would be nice to have more Fright Nights, so let’s hope that the people behind The Thing kept that in mind. Spoiler alert: They probably didn’t.


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73% critics, 71% audience (*groans*)

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“Treating the 1984 hit as a kind of sacred text, co-writer/director Craig Brewer — having irreverently helmed ‘Hustle & Flow’ and ‘Black Snake Moan’ — merely goes through the motions of updating the toe-tappin’ tale of small-town high schoolers driven to dance despite the local minister’s fire-and-brimstone rules against stepping out in public.” – Rob Nelson, Variety

“The cover-heavy soundtrack feels about as obligatory and unremarkable as one might expect, and while it’s nice to see Brewer work in original tracks like ‘Let’s Hear It for the Boy,’ we’re left to believe that a gaggle of adorable tykes in 2011 know that ‘80s hit verbatim.” – my old college buddy William Goss, Film.com

Armchair Analysis: I didn’t much care for the original Footloose (any soundtrack with Kenny Loggins rules, though), starring Kevin Bacon as a teenager who teaches the people of a town under the rule of religious zealots that it’s ok to dance, but I accept that it’s a classic. People love a movie about a dude dancing through an empty factory. It’s totally realistic how he never once slips in bum feces. This remake was unnecessary, and I’m tired of this “we need to share our generation’s classics with the new generation” mumbo jumbo that studios spew forth. Just buy them a DVD and stop ruining our childhood favorites. So help me god, if Gleaming the Cube is remade…


Rotten Tomatoes Score: 15% critics, 63% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“‘Trespass’ is about desperate hours, a hostage situation, the panicked eyes of the abused glancing at the door and wondering whether to make a run for it. All of this was also happening on the screen, but those idiots deserved it. Why me? I wished a bottle would roll by so I could stick an S.O.S. in it.” Kyle Smith, New York Post

“Directed by Joel Schumacher, ‘Trespass’ never advances beyond being a grand manipulation. Three male idiots and a junkie woman break in, and within minutes they make everyone in the audience who’s not a candidate for sainthood look forward to seeing four corpses.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle (Vince’s favorite movie critic, mind you)

Armchair Analysis: I think this looks fantastic. I’m super stoked to watch Nic Cage lose his sh*t after he finds out his wife (Nicole Kidman) has been cheating on him and then robbers kidnap his family for their fortune that they may or may not actually have. Just look at that picture! There’s no way this won’t be great.

Fireflies in the Garden

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 20% critics, 47% audience (Translated: nobody likes this film.)

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

“Poor Ryan Reynolds anchors this clunker as Michael, a writer returning to his childhood home for his aged mother’s (Julia Roberts) belated college graduation. When the gathering becomes her funeral, Michael deals with his rigid dad (Willem Dafoe) and an aunt (Emily Watson) he knew when both were kids.” – Joe Neumaier, NY Daily News (See? Even Neumaier hates this.)

“Like too many other, similar American independent films about families and their dealing and healing, it turns the profundities of human life — the heaviness and lightness of love, the epiphanies, disappointments, pleasures, sorrows, bliss-outs and losses — into teachable moments.” – Manohla Dargis, NY Times