Weekend Roundup: Local Film Festival News & Movies I watched

It was quite a busy weekend I just had, dampened a bit by a coating of snow on the ground Saturday morning. Our local weatherman Paul Douglas aptly called it groan-worthy, and we now have a Winter alert with possible 3-5 inches of snow in the next 36 hours! Heh, so much for Spring 😦

Anyway, why talk about the weather when we’ve got movies to talk about, right? A couple of film-event announcements I’d like to share with you:

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival opened last Friday which will go on until May 5. It currently screens 170 films from 50+ countries for three weeks. One of the independent movie screened is Cracks, directed by Ridley Scott’s daughter, Jordan. This event wasn’t off my radar somehow, but I’ll be checking the schedule and see if there is anything I’d like to see.

The other film festival in town, Twin Cities Film Fest or TCFF for short just announced its dates for 2011, it will take place Tuesday, September 20th – Sunday, September 25th, 2011! They’re currently awaiting film submissions on various categories and the festival organizers will have a booth at the 2011 The Twin Cities Actor Expo on April 30th. I’ll be sure to cover that one in the Fall like I did last year.

Did you see Rio this weekend? Once again an animated feature wins box office as people flocked to see the animated feature Rio, which looks pretty cute, especially since I was quite addicted to the massively popular Angry Birds game for quite a while, which have a cameo of sort in the movie. Animated movies continue to prove successful for Hollywood, as Hop and Rango were two of the highest-grossing movies of 2011 so far. Last year How to Train Your Dragon also pulled in impressive numbers (earning $43 mil – $3 million higher than Rio) which was also released in the Spring season (per boxofficemojo).

I didn’t make it to the theater, but managed to see a couple of movies. One was The Switch, (you can view the trailer here), which was one of the better Jennifer Aniston rom-coms, which is not saying much. I only saw this because I love Jason Bateman, and really he’s the heart and soul of this movie. Him and the little boy Thomas Robinson who plays Aniston’s son, who is just down right adorable!

The premise of a woman wanting to have a baby on her own and the male seed swap thing is a bit of a twist on the conventional genre, but in the end it still has the same ‘ol cliches. I mean, it’s exasperating to watch a supposedly nice looking, smart, and successful guy being in love with a woman for years and not have the guts to at least tell her. I mean, a woman actually had to resort to a turkey baster, for goodness sake, you’d think the guy would drop more than a hint that he actually has feelings for her?? It doesn’t help that the only reason we think they have feelings for each other is because the trailer says so (read: the chemistry between Aniston & Bateman is barely there). And from that preview, you pretty much know where the story is going and you can probably guess the ending, too, and you’d likely be right. Even the charismatic Bateman, and the occasional funny bits from Jeff Goldblum (relegated to playing the BFF) can’t elevate this from being a run-of-the-mill rom-com. Oh well, it wasn’t a complete waste, just not something I’d highly recommend.

The other movie I saw was RED, which I reviewed last year when I scored an early advance screening. I liked it then and I still do now. The cast seems to have a great time working together and it shows, I particularly enjoyed watching Helen Mirren and Brian Cox in this, they’re just so adorable as an odd romantic couple. And of course, the tall, dashing Karl Urban [sigh]… which really makes me want to start a “Karl-Urban-for-Bond!” campaign already!

Well, what movie(s) did you end up this weekend? Seen anything good?