Previewing TMNT, Reign Over Me

Gosh, I can practically kick back and put my feet up -- I've got only five movies between Monday and Thursday, down from last week's nine.

Yesterday was a weird movie day, starting with TMNT, which is not only a really dumb title -- it doesn't exactly trip off the tongue -- but is also a rather pointless retread of a cartoon fad that ran out of steam 20 years ago. Are kids still into this? Speaking as an adult who still appreciates cartoons and comic books, I can say that this reiteration has nothing for us grown-up fans, so who's going to see this? I ran from that strange experience to a screening of Reign Over Me, featuring the saddest, most pathetic Adam Sandler we're ever likely to see as a New York widower still devastated by the loss of his family on 9/11. The film has some affecting moments, but I'm still thinking about whether it really works on the whole.

Tonight I'll see the new film starring the man who will forever more be known as "Academy Award nominee Mark Wahlberg," even when he appears in stuff like Shooter, which looks like it should be starring Dolph Lundgren and heading directly to pay-per-view. I hate that the trailer gives away the story's big twist, but it looks like something we all would have guessed anyway. *cough* patsy! *cough*

Tomorrow it's The Lookout for me -- this opens March 30, and it's the directorial debut from screenwriter Scott Frank, who wrote Out of Sight, the 1998 George Clooney/Jennifer Lopez crime caper. What has me psyched for this one is star Joseph Gordon-Levitt -- yes, that kid from Third Rock from the Sun. If you saw last year's Brick, you know what an extraordinary actor he's grown into, so I'm looking forward to seeing more of that.

My last movie of the week will be Year of the Dog on Thursday (the film opens in limited release on April 13). This is another screenwriter-making-his-directoral-debut thing -- here it's Mike White of Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl. The trailer looks pretty cute ... and I use the word "cute" as someone who can't stand cute: a romantic comedy with an appealingly quirky cast, including Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly, and Peter Sarsgaard, about people and their pets and how they all manage to fall in love with one another.


MaryAnn Johanson

author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride

minder of