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?

55 thoughts on “Romance, Sci-fi Nostalgia or Action? What are you watching this weekend?

  1. It’s ‘Safe House’ today after work and, if dragged by the kids, to the first in the 3-D Star Wars prequel later in the weekend. However, I plan on attending a 35mm screening of Sam Peckinpah’s ground-breaking ’69 western ‘The Wild Bunch’ being shown at The Autry Museum tomorrow. I will stay far, far away from ‘The Vow’, though.

    1. BTW, I thought ‘Haywire’ (and Ms. Carano) had its moments. I think for (potential) action stars who enjoy a good debut, it really comes down to their sophomore showings and how memorable and lasting they’ll be. Bruce Lee followed ‘Fists of Fury’ (‘The Big Boss’ in H.K.) with the even better ‘The Chinese Connection’ (‘Fist of Fury’ internationally). Counter that with Steven Seagal’s woeful ‘Hard to Kill’ in follow-up to ‘Above the Law’. See? Time will tell.

    2. Ahah, me too Michael. Rom-com + Channing Tatum, ‘nuf said. That’s cool that they’re showing another classic film on the big screen. I’m so jealous!!

      Yeah, we’ll see if Carano can and will have a follow up to this but based on how well-received this film is, maybe she’ll have a pretty decent career? Just don’t have her do monologues or Shakespeare 😉

    3. Ted S.

      I’m so jealous of you Michael, I would love to see Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch in 35mm and on the big screen. I read somewhere that there’s also a 70mm print of the film too but it’s so messed up that no one could clean it. The BD transfer is pretty great though.

      1. I’m really looking forward to it. I think this will mark only the third time I’ve seen it on the big screen. Originally in ’69 (TMT coming ;-)) and once during the 80s at a revival theatre screening. Thanks, Ted.

      1. Well, it’s not so much ‘Saw’ as it is… I dunno… any old haunted house movie from back in the day. Read my post on Monday and decide for yourself.

  2. PrairieGirl

    It’s an UNtheater weekend for me. Of course you know we’re seeing one of the all-time classic rom-coms, Night Shift (1978) with Michael Keaton in his first (and one of his best) leading roles. And the ever-lovable and campy TV series The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr. (1993) with Bruce Campbell and Julius Carry.

    1. Oh I thought Night Shift is more of a comedy not a rom-com? In any case, I love Michael Keaton, he’s a hoot! I might sneak in one Gregory movie this wekend on top of Haywire (that is if we can still find a cinema that still play it).

  3. Thinking of checking Chronicle out. Also I still have to see The Artist.

    Actually I’ve been busy watching Sherlock from the BBC. Honestly it’s one of the best things I’ve seen in ages. Cumberbatch and Freeman are great together and the writing is outstanding. I love how the show toys with convention. Especially about where the hat came from and how everyone thinks they are “companions” lol.

    1. Hey Dave, I hope you’ll enjoy The Artist! Oh yeah, from the clips I’ve seen on Sherlock, I can see why that show is massively popular. The writing is key, plus the chemistry between the cast looks top notch!

  4. Ted S.

    I won’t be seeing any of the films in opening this weekend, Lucas will not take anymore cash from, I already spent too much on his countless releases and re-releases of his Star Wars saga on video. And of course I don’t care for 3D.

    I was thinking of checking out Safe House but it’s getting terrible reviews and I still can’t see Ryan Reynolds as an action hero.

    Since football season is over, I’m gonna have to catch up on all of the BDs I bought back around the holidays time. Might watch Rise of the Apes, haven’t seen it since I saw it in theater.

    1. Ahah, well you are a wise man Ted. I can’t help being so snarky on Lucas & Cameron but really they’re just getting ridiculous w/ their scheme to milk their work until the last drop. Especially Titanic when it’s centered on such a tragic event.

      Y’know it turns out only Block E still has Haywire and I can’t stand that theater. So we might end up watching another Soderbergh film, Contagion, instead.

  5. Safe House just isn’t doing it for me, and I’d wrap myself in bacon and taunt a grizzly bear before I’d give money to George Lucas.

    I think this weekend is when I finally watch Troll Hunter on Netflix Instant.


    1. Ahahaha… well save that bacon and grizzly bear, Adam!! Ah, Troll Hunter, I’ve been seeing reviews for it, tempting but really it’s sooo not my kind of flick 🙂

  6. I’m not seeing anything in the theater this weekend, but definitely checking out “Safe House” the weekend after. But this weekend I have some movies I recently bought that I still need to watch and I’m also checking out “Moneyball” which I just got from Netflix today.

    I really liked “Haywire” and I hope you enjoy it as well. It was surprising how good it was seeing as it did come out during the lull months of film. The plot runs a little thin but the action is amazing!

    1. Hi Amanda, ‘Moneyball’ is already out on dvd?? Hmm, somehow I thought it’s still in the theaters. Well Haywire is definitely not heavy on plot, that’s not what miss Carano is good at 😉 Glad you enjoyed it, unfortunately I may have to wait until it arrives in the discount theaters as it’s not showing in a theater near me anymore 😦

    2. Funny that most people in this post are saying they are not going to the theater and the box office is getting record-breaking ticket sales this weekend 😉

  7. I saw Safe House today !

    Bourne-esque for sure. But the action is great. This is about as anti-tinker-taylor as you can get. Check out my review.

    Not sure what else to see – Journey 2 and The Vow seem too obvious. On the other hand if This Means War opens on Valentine’s Day – I will check it out then.


  8. Thank you for the recommendation Ruth. I would love to see Starwars 3D but doubtful it will get here 😦

    I am still waiting for haywire to be out of midnight and Tinker Soldier Spy to change from coming soon to now playing. I miss going to the cinema a lot but since that tax incident, movies in cinema aren’t so great anymore 😦

    I will, probably, see Birdsong this week. A war miniseries from the great Britain.

    1. Oh no, if you read my post I actually did not recommend Star Wars 3D 🙂 I think I was quite clear on that one.

      I do hope you get to see TTSS as Benedict is really good in it and the rest of the cast too of course.

      1. I know you said it Ruth 🙂
        But it will be my only chance of ever seeing the movie in big screen. Here, 3D is not the only option, for all 3D movies there will always be 2D version available.

        Hehehe Benedict is on my next world Cinema Series 😉 Cillian follows afterward.

  9. Well, as much of a Star Wars fan as I am (honestly, Phantom Menace isn’t that terrible of a movie. It’s probably the best of the prequels I think. In 2 and 3 the dialogue just gets too ridiculous) 3D is not really a draw card for me. Won’t be shelling out twenty dollars for a ticket. We have the DVD’s 🙂 I am having a bit of a sci-fi weekend at home though – I just saw Alien for the first time!

  10. FUNK

    Watched Thor the other night, and it’s one of my favorite super hero movies I’ve seen. Hope the Avengers is going to be that good.
    My gosh U’ve just seen Alien? Thats a movie I see every few years, and each time I watch I thourghly enjoy it.

  11. Matt Stewart

    Hmmm none of these seem all too interesting to me, though I suppose safe House would be decent enough!

    I am looking forward to next week in the movies, The Secret World of Arrietty!!! Yay!!! 😀

  12. I’d love to watch THE VOW, love such stories and Channing is always hunky and nice, but I’m not sure I will stand Rachel McAdams, she is such a bad actress, with wimpy voice and overly pathetic and superficial approach to acting. And she has some really bad hairdos in the film.
    I will watch MYSTERIOUS ISLAND since I think this world needs more family movies and Rock rocks.
    PERFECT SENSE would’ve been the best film ever if Catherine Zeta Jones was Ewan’s partner in the film.

    1. Ahah I know you love your Channing, Dez, but what’s the dis on miss Rachel?? Well, looks like this movie is clearly a winner w/ audiences looking for a little romance this weekend 🙂

  13. Hi Ruth, how are you? We generally don’t go to the movies on weekends. Tuesday evening is our ‘date night’. Partly because it breaks up the week nicely and it is Crazy Tuesday at our local cinema on Tuesday (only £3 per person as opposed to usual £6.50). By the way, as I comment I am listening to your delightful selection Jonny Williams numbers. Thanks for that. As to your list of films, the Vow isn’t usually something I would go to see in the cinema. Although my wife might have something to say about that 🙂 I saw a trailer for Safe House and thought it looked pretty good. I think Denzel can do just about anything though I’m undecided about Ryan Reynolds.

    I think you’ll enjoy Haywire Ruth. It’s economic with the violence and Carano portrays an interesting female archetype. I suppose you could say she’s Jason Bourne in sports Bra. It’s interesting that Soderbergh picked an unknown as his lead given the prestige of everyone around her. Good performances all round. It’s good to see Bill Paxton in a big action movie again, though Haywire is probably an action movie with a small ‘a’. Most of the action is in anticipation of violence. The only thing i didn’t like about it was Ewan McGregor. I like him less and less the more things I see him in.

    Journey 2 has no appeal for me. It reminds me of an awful film I saw once with Will Ferrell called Land of the Lost. Makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

    I think re-releasing Phantom in 3D is a shameless ploy to squeeze a little more juice out of the franchise before Lucas retires. I’ll be steering clear of it. Thanks for this great weekend post Ruth! 🙂

    1. Hi Ronan, hope you had a nice weekend! Glad you enjoyed the John Wililams music, those never get old for me.

      I was really looking forward to Haywire but I might have to wait until it’s available to rent. We ended up opting for another Soderbergh film CONTAGION which was pretty good actually, but not exactly an entertaining movie given the subject matter.

      Ahah yep, seems like Lucas is forever milking his already-exhausted franchise!

  14. I won’t hitting theaters for any of these movies although I’m planning myself a Star Wars marathon in the coming weeks. Definitely want to check out Safe House if only for Denzel. It looks like your average Denzel thriller, which is good enough for me most of the time. And I’m sure I will be seeing The Vow down the road as well but it looks too superficial… even for me 😉

    1. I thought you’d be rushing to the theater to see your Rachel, Castor. But yeah, some movies just ain’t worth it no matter who the cast is.

  15. I’ll be curious to see what you choose if Haywire isn’t available for ya this weekend.

    I saw Safe House a few days ago and am “reluctantly” heading to The Vow later today. But Take Shelter is also playing in my town, so I will DEF be visiting that!

    Have a great weekend, Ruth!

    1. Ahah, reluctantly dragged to see The Vow eh? I take it you’re on a date? 😉

      Well I ended up renting Contagion as we were too late to see The Grey.

  16. I will be seeing The Vow, which is completely against everything in me considering that anything Nicholas Sparks–or similar–is just not my type of film. I didn’t care much for Dear John, and if I have to see The Notebook show up on ABCFamily one more time, I’m going to die. Either way, The Vow’s based on a true story, so I’m hoping that’s what pulls me through it.

    I might go see Safe House at some point, or just wait for it to come out on DVD. Feels like it’s been a slow get-go for the year 2012 with film, maybe because so many epic ones are to be coming out this year.

    1. Ahah, glad I’m not the only girl not into Nicholas Sparks-themed chick flicks! So you went to see The Vow ’cause it’s based on a true story? Interesting, let me know what you think.

      Yeah I might save Safe House for a slow-night rental 🙂

  17. Quite surprised to hear The Vow has made so much money so quickly but then Rachel McAdams is gorgeous and a very likable actress. I’m sure Tatum has his fans also!

  18. No movies for me over the weekend, although I did watch Blow Out on Friday night. Great movie, very happy to have included it in my project. This has actually been a really slow month of movie watching for me, unfortunately. Hope to fix that this week.

    1. Hi Eric, your movie project’s been going well so far eh? Good for you! I’m not as prolific in movie watching this month either compared to December.

  19. I ended up going to see “The Grey” which I did not have a chance to see when it first came out a couple of weeks ago. Good film, surprisingly so actually. I’m glad Liam Neeson discovered his bad ass persona at this point in his career because he’s making otherwise forgettable projects into respectable films that are entertaining and well-crafted.

    Check out my blog for my pre-Valentine’s Day special. I also expect to post my second “Architecture and Film” post that you liked so much later in the week. I would have it ready as soon as tomorrow if the first of the two was not kicking my ass at the office.


    1. I almost went to see The Grey too as Haywire is no longer available but the timing didn’t work out. Yeah, Liam is suddenly a bad ass action star, but he still looks good even at his age!

      I’ll be over to your blog shortly, thanks Niels!

  20. I don’t think I’d see any of these movies…everyone I know has seen The Vow and they’re all like “OMG best movie ever! I cried so much!” And I’m just like, no. Not for me.

    And thank you for linking my Perfect Sense review!

    1. Ahah, yeah I’m glad people enjoy The Vow, I just can’t picture myself watching it… at least for the unforeseeable future 🙂

      You’re welcome Stevee!

  21. Too much Sci-Fi in my past Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek I have given all of that up a long time ago. I do tend to watch Dr.Who as I am a fan and not really a Whovian though I also like Being Human UK which actually starts in Canada on the 25th Feb. As I am also a fan of Vampire culture except for those teen ones (Pattinson) etc…I saw an old one on YT last Halloween with Peter Cushing and Joanna Lumley it was bizarre. I am a sucker for some romance films but not all of them as these days Hollywood seems to make them too cliche and dumb gone are the days of Bridget Jones and When Harry Met Sally. Though I haven’t seen the new Woody Allen yet so I could be wrong.’ When you are sleeping’ & Notting Hill are favourites but others leave me flat. I like New York City Rom-coms as I found an odd one on YT one of their free films a comedy with Famke Janssen I do recommend ‘The Treatment’ a very long film but worth watching

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