February 12, 2010, - 1:58 pm

Weekend Box Office: “Wolfman,” “Valentine’s Day,” Percy Jackson & Olympians”

By Debbie Schlussel

Nothing that exciting at the box office, this weekend.  In fact, the new movies released today range from snooze-fest to bleechhh.

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*  “The Wolfman“:  Nothing objectionable about this movie in which men turn into wolves upon sight of the full moon (not sure if this qualifies them as werewolves, but I think it does).  It’s just that it wasn’t exciting.  I found it very boring–sooo boring I struggled to stay awake and lost the battle–and old hat.  Been there, seen that.  It wasn’t scary, though it had the expected blood, violence, and far more graphic guts and limb dismemberment than I needed to see.  I laughed when two characters, relatives, turn into wolfmen and fight each other.  It was just comical, unintentionally so.

Sir Anthony Hopkins plays a wealthy Brit, whose son is missing and later found after being killed by a beast in the woods.  His other son, Benicio Del Toro–estranged from his family and living in America–happens to be on tour in London as an actor.  He receives a letter from his late brother’s fiancee (Emily Blunt), still looking for his brother.  Once he returns to the manor, he is informed of his brother’s death.  One night, he is out in the woods and in a gypsy camp, searching for what killed his brother.  He gets bitten by a wolf beast, and soon turns into one.

The message is that even the best of men can be the wildest and most harmful of beast when the nocturnal forces of nature wield their power.  I didn’t need the message or the movie, and I struggled to stay awake amidst the action.  At not even two hours, I found the movie slow and essentially a 1/2 hour movie with a ton of fluff–like flashback scenes of little boys running around an English estate–thrown in to make it a feature-length flick.  This movie sat on a shelf for about two years for a reason.

ONE-HALF REAGAN
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* “Valentine’s Day“: Probably worse than its initials (VD), but best referred to by them.  Just like the saccharin faux-holiday of the same name, I hated this painful viewing experience. HELP! It’s like I was sentenced to hell, and instead of heat, the punishment was watching an endless loop of “Love Boat” episodes, minus Isaac, Gopher, Doc, Julie, and the Captain. This movie was that bad and worse. If Barack Obama does the right thing and keeps Guantanamo Bay open, this is perfect torture material. I think I’d prefer waterboarding. I wanted to walk out so badly, you have no idea. Guys, if your girlfriend or wife wants to drag you to this, kill yourself.

Brother of LaVerne a/k/a Gary Marshall directs something like 21 celebrities in a horrible set of intertwining stories that are supposed to be romantic, but are just stupid. Two words: Ashton Kutcher. Translation: Skip at all cost. He plays a sensitive man who is a florist and wears pink. Anne Hathaway plays a phone sex operator. Among others in this utter waste of time: Jennifer Garner, looking particularly Sarah Jess-EQUINE Parkerish, if ya know what I mean. I was looking for the Adam’s apple. Plus, the movie has Taylor Swift (ET with blonde hair) and Queen Latifah.  Check, please.   Oh, and the acting was atrocious.

I cannot stress enough how awful and unbearable this movie is. Total garbage.

FOUR MARXES
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* “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief“: Nothing wrong with this movie, but it was just too long, had too much in it, and I found myself bored amidst a ton of action. That said, it’s fine for kids (though some young kids might be scared–Medusa is beheaded and the main characters in the movie carry around her snaky head to use to make monsters turn to stone).

This movie is based on a series of books for young teens by author Rick Riordan, and is supposed to be “the next Harry Potter.” We’ll see. A young boy, Percy Jackson (which sounds like the name of a Black Olympian track star from the ’60s, but is actually the name of a White teen high school student who has dyslexia and ADHD), discovers that he has certain powers and is the half-human, half-god child of a Greek god and a human. He learns to become a fighter and is searching for a lightning bolt he is accused of stealing, so that he can maintain the order of the earth, while his father and Greek god uncles are feuding.

I interviewed the main actors in this movie when they recently came to Detroit, and, for the most part, they didn’t really have anything exciting or interesting to say.  The only one who sparkled was the guy who sparkles in the movie, Brandon J. Jackson–who plays a satyr, and the protector of Percy Jackson.  A Detroit comedian and the son of pastor and minister parents, he’s funny and going places.  He’s the life of the party, so much as there is a “party” here.

There was sooooo much in this movie. Jackson and the other demi-gods travel across America looking for the lightning bolt and trying to keep the peace, while fighting off monsters, evil forces like Medusa and her snake hair. It had a good message, but it was just packed too much and could have been shorter. Kids will like it, especially boys.

ONE-AND-A-HALF REAGANS
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12 Responses

Have some fun, Debbie-imagine the Wolfmen crossing over and decimating the Valentines Day stars only to be struck by lightning bolts. You know, like the ending of “Blazing Saddles”.
Did you review “Coco Before Chanel” which comes out on DVD next week? I’m looking forward to another strong outing from Audrey Tautou. Have a good weekend, all!

Douglas Q on February 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

(off topic). A luge competitor has died (as reported by Sky News) in a horrific, catastrophic accident at the Olympic Games. It was during a practice run. (baruch dayen emes)

J.S. on February 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Hollyweird should put out a patriotic movie where there is nothing but kicking the muslim’s ass. I haven’t seen a very good one yet.

Jarhead on February 12, 2010 at 4:12 pm

What’s funny is I have no interest in seeing the new Wolf Man movie (can’t stand Benicio Del Toro as an actor) but I do want to see “House of the Wolf Man”. This black and white indy film just seems to be more fun and enjoyable than the high dollar hollywood crap with a message.

Even funnier is that when you click on to watch the trailer it plays the new Wolf Man movie ad then goes to the “House of the Wolf Man” trailer.

http://www.worstpreviews.com/headline.php?id=14345

a short synopsis:

In 1944, “House of Frankenstein” was released, which was followed by “House of Dracula” in 1945. Apparently, “House of the Wolf Man” was supposed to happen soon after, but never did. So director Eben Mcgarr took it upon himself to make that third film, which stars Ron Chaney, the grandson of Lon Chaney Jr (the original Wolf Man).

So check out that trailer and unfortunately we will have to wait for when it appears on DVD as I don’t think it will get a wide release.

ender on February 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm

So why are people ragging on Swift all of a sudden. She writes her own music, she performs live, as in actually singing, messed up notes and all, she doesn’t drink or do drugs or screw around, she’s kind to her fans, she’s loves her mom and dad, she’s impossibly tall and thin, and blonde. OK, she has cat eyes. But who amongst us doesn’t have cat eyes?

gmartinz on February 12, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Taylor lost me when she insisted on standing up at the grammies and hustling to emminem’s and Lil wayne or whoever’s garbage. She is trying to hard to be fashionable and appreciative of all “genres”. Some “genres” do not deserve respect or appreciation. Anyway, she appears to be just another in a long line to not keep it Country…..goodbye.

    Jon2 on February 14, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I just came back from Valentine’s Day cuz my best friend wanted to see it with me. I should’ve read your review first. It was boooooring!

Matthew on February 12, 2010 at 10:57 pm

I enjoy listening to your movie reviews on the Mike Church Show, but noticed tonight that you said (when talking about the Percy Jackson movie) that the main character was the son of “Perseus” when in the movie he was actually the son of Poseidon.

I saw both The Wolfman and Percy Jackson earlier tonight.. The Wolfman was a major snoozefest, and Percy Jackson was mildly entertaining.

KL: You’re right. I got it wrong and realized it as soon as we got off the air, so it was too late to correct myself. Makes no difference though, as it doesn’t change my review or the details of the movie one bit. DS

Kyle Lambert on February 13, 2010 at 2:52 am

I saw all three movies yesterday afternoon. I sort of liked Percy Jackson as you did, Kyle. Maybe I liked it a little more than you did, Debbie. In particular I enjoyed the anti-pothead (anti-lotus) adventure in Vegas and also the vivid images of Hades and one of the three famous Furies (pretty scary, like the harpy in Jason and the Argonauts). The Hydra and Medusa I’d seen in other films already, but they were good here, too. There was a lot of decently reliable information packed into the story about all the ancient Greek gods and goddesses which I appreciated (except for the inclusion of hellhounds which are Norse). I myself think all this sort of info is more important for young people to see and absorb than that of the “fart candy” and Dementors of the Harry Potter sorcery stories. Dialogue in Percy Jackson was weakly dumbed down, though (favorite rejoinder among kids: “Cool!”), and characters were pretty flat.

As for Wolfman, I liked this film more than both you, Debbie, and you, Kyle. I don’t think it was intended to be scary in the way modern intense horror can be (like Zombie’s Halloween stories) or action-crammed like the slam-bang busyness of the recent Downey Sherlock or the Lycan-Underworld films; this is a re-imagining of the Lon Chaney original with the focus all on character and atmosphere. Here, the “star” of the movie is the corrupted, cursed family; the tone and themes are classic Gothic. All the acting by Del Toro, Hopkins, Blunt and Weaving was admirable, and best of all, THERE WERE NO KIDS OR TEENS IN THE MOVIE. This movie is centered around and written for adults, particularly for Anglophiles like myself who appreciate comments such as one made by Weaving in the movie that “If we didn’t have rules, it would be a dog-eat-dog world, don’t you agree?”–a wise, conservative sentiment. Also, the romance was sweetly suggestive rather than coarsely and boringly obvious.

I didn’t care for Valentine’s Day. Garry Marshall who directs is renowned for slick, shallow, ingratiating, glossy “chick flicks” that appeal only to women, not men. This was that. The film included bare-chested hunks, whiny females, vengeance fantasies against low-down, cheating heels, cutesy kids, hopeless romantics whom uninsightful women don’t properly appreciate, a politically correct bewildering demographics– all wrapped up in Love Boat-television-style inventiveness as you point out. Yuck.

Burke on February 13, 2010 at 8:51 am

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