Romance, Sci-fi Nostalgia or Action? What are you watching this weekend?

Happy Friday everyone!

Well, the cold snap is back here in my neck of the woods, with high only in the teens and below zero windchill, brrrrrr. It’s fairly typical of course so I’m not whining by any means, it’s just we’ve been sort of spoiled this year with a relatively mild Winter. Anyway, February is generally a super slow time at the movies, but it’s almost-Valentine weekend so I reckon movie theaters will probably do pretty decent business this weekend. Interestingly, there are only one major romance movie out on wide release this weekend against a mixed bag of crime thriller, family adventure and a sci-fi blockbuster re-release. Here’s the breakdown of what’s playing this weekend:

Romance – The Vow

Perennial beefcake-with-a-heart Channing Tatum is once again in a tearjerker romance since Dear John, this time he’s paired with gorgeous girl-next-door Rachel McAdams. Both of them are entering familiar territory as Rachel was in the ultimate lovey-dovey of a movie that is The Notebook.

A car accident puts Paige (McAdams) in a coma, and when she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband Leo (Tatum) works to win her heart again.

Crime Thriller – Safe House

Seems like the debonair A-lister Denzel Washington enjoys playing a scoundrel, and why not, he’s good at it. He won an Oscar playing a corrupt cop in Training Day, and since then he’s varied his heroic roles with not-so-noble characters. This time he’s bound to make Ryan Reynolds’ life a living hell.

A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge.

The supporting cast is pretty good in this one: Vera Farmiga (love her!), Brendan Gleeson, Robert Patrick and Sam Shepard.

Family Adventure – Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

A young man partners with his mom’s boyfriend on a mission to find his grandfather, who is thought to be missing on a mythical island.

Really not much to say about this one. Seems like a rather generic family fare packed with some cool 3D effects,  fun visuals and wince-inducing dialog (unless it’s from Luis Guzman then it’s at least potentially droll). Well unless you’re a huge fan of The Rock, adults probably find this whole thing to be rather pointless. I’d probably spend the entire movie wondering how much Michael Caine gets paid for this [scratch head]…

Sci-Fi Nostalgia – Star Wars: Episode I 3D Re-release

Has it been thirteen years since the first one of the Star Wars prequel trilogy released in theaters? I wonder if the wound of disappointed fans have fully healed by now, but hey, Mr. Lucas surely is bound to find out. Still not satisfied with the depth of his pool of $$$ he’s currently swimming in, he’s joined the 3D craze with James Cameron (who also found his pool of cash not deep enough). But clearly there is indeed a market for anything Star Wars. I’m sure the same fans who’ve bought their 300th version of their SW box set when the Blu-ray version came out last Summer would enjoy seeing the podrace and climactic lightsaber duel popping out right at them in 3D!

Notable Limited Releases:

Perfect Sense (Ewan McGregor, Eva Green)
A chef and a scientist fall in love as an epidemic begins to rob people of their sensory perceptions.

Stevee @ Cinematic Paradox found it to be quite good, read her review.

The Turin Horse
This one is intriguing and bizarre at the same time. Set in 1889, it involves German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and a horse in Turin that might have something to do with his subsequent mental illness that rendered him bed-ridden and mute for the next 11 years until his death.

Scott @ Front Room Cinema reviewed it as part of his Cine-City Festival coverage and he was truly moved by it.

Rampart (Woody Harrelson)
Crime drama set in 1999 Los Angeles, veteran police officer Dave Brown, the last of the renegade cops, works to take care of his family, and struggles for his own survival.

Chico & Rita
An animated musical from Spain set in 1948 Cuba about a young piano player with big dreams and a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice.

In Darkness
A dramatization of one man’s rescue of Jewish refugees in the Nazi-occupied Polish city of Lvov.

Return (Michael Shannon)
A soldier returns to her family, friends, and old job after a tour of duty, though she finds herself struggling to find her place in her everyday life.

What I want to see this weekend:

I mentioned this movie at last year’s Comic-con post when Steven Soderbergh, Gina Carano and Channing Tatum were on hand to promote this movie. Story goes is that Soderbergh saw mixed martial art fighter Carano fighting in a cage, which prompted the experimental director to build a story around her. Though the clip of Gina & Michael Fassbender they showed looked really bad ass (not to mention the awesome cast!), initially I wasn’t too interested in seeing this on the big screen. But y’know, somehow the pretty decent review (including these two by Dan Heaton and Terrence) on this got me intrigued. Unfortunately there aren’t too many theaters left that are still playing this, so we’ll see if we can find one.

So friends, are you going to make a trip to the cinema this weekend or go for a rental?