New Season

The first day of spring—thank you.

Not only should we be grateful for the changing weather, at least those of us in the Midwest (and probably the Northeast), but with the warming temperatures comes the first wave of new films. At one time studios usually held back motion pictures for release until close to Memorial Day, however around the early 80’s it was discovered that March could be a lucrative box office season, or at least warm audiences up for the popcorn fest to follow. Of course August and January are still reserved for the worst of the worst, but let’s take a look at what’s happening out there this year…at least from a genre perspective.

The most obvious films to draw  our  attention are Battlefield, Los Angeles, Suckerpunch and Source Code. You might overlook Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula, but save it for late night rental. And if you were smart, you’d give Battlefield, Los Angeles a miss as well.

As special effects get easier to produce, you’ll see more of these films with astonishing effects (Skyline), but which are absurdly written and cobbled together with a cast in the middle of a production which might become a career killer. Hopefully, Aaron Eckhart, star of Battlefield: Los Angeles will be able to redeem himself. This is a far cry from the role of the tortured D.A. Harvey Dent, A.K.A. Two-Face in Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

It’s not that this film is that horrible, it’s just that it doesn’t grab the audience.Several startling images are dangled in front of you and you are appreciative, but it isn’t enough. The characters aren’t engaging and the storyline doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat. Perhaps there’s a message somewhere about illegal aliens, but it isn’t worth wading through fluff.

Source Code, on the other hand, has Jake Gyllenhaal. He is an actor who manages to find depth in characters where none may have existed in the script. Here he is a soldier suddenly in the body of Chicago commuter. Tripped through time and space, he is confronted with the challenge of averting a disaster, to keep the train he’s on from being blown up. Set for release for an April 1st release, it has already begun receiving several favorable reviews. Of course, if you can’t wait until then, there’s always Sucker Punch.

Directed by Zack Snyder, the man who gave us 300 and The Watchmen, you know you’re going to get something visually exciting. Sucker Punch looks like a bit of Japanese  anime with a grindhouse mentality. The early reviews are mixed, but given the Snyder’s cult status and the trailer, I’m betting this will be a surprise success this spring.

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