Despite only the four releases this week, I have such a busy week ahead. I doubt I'll have time to see Water for Elephants, Your Highness, Insidious or Burke and Hare, despite declaring I would check out the three former films. Water for Elephants looks like a soppy love triangle-type film and Your Highness has been labelled as a frontrunner for 'Worst Film of the Year'. I always like seeing the widely considered 'Worst of the Year', though I feel I have already seen it with Sucker Punch. Still, if I see neither of these films, I won't lose any sleep. Perhaps I'll lose sleep from the creepy Insidious anyway, from the Wan/Whannell pairing that brought us Saw. My friend Mel Garrick interviewed the masters of horror recently. I'll link to her article later.
Water for Elephants - Based on the acclaimed bestseller, Water for Elephants presents an unexpected romance in a uniquely compelling setting. Veterinary school student Jacob meets and falls in love with Marlena, a star performer in a circus of a bygone era. They discover beauty amidst the world of the Big Top, and come together through their compassion for a special elephant. Against all odds - including the wrath of Marlena's charismatic but dangerous husband, Jacob and Marlena find lifelong love. Starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz. Seems to be a soppy love story with stunning cinematography, but lacking the chemistry or the emotion to endow it with resonance. Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 58%
Your Highness - Thadeous (McBride) has spent his life watching his perfect older brother Fabious (Franco) embark upon valliant journeys and win the hearts of his people. Tired of being passed over for adventure, adoration and the throne, he's settled for a life of wizard's weed, hard booze and easy maidens. When Fabious' bride-to-be, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), gets kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux), the king gives his deadbeat son an ultimatum: Man up and help rescue her or get cut off. Sounds like a vehicle for McBride to step out of the supporting-role shadow, where he should be destined to stay, and become the lead that no-one wants. I have heard nothing but terrible feedback; as the comedy exists little outside of the weed and penis jokes, and brings few laughs. Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 25%
Burke and Hare - Before finding it on Rotten Tomatoes (where it sits at 29%), I had never heard of this film. Starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis and directed by John Landis (Animal House), Burke and Hare is set in 19th Century Ediburgh. Selling cadavers to medical schools was big business in the 1800's, and Burke and Hare think that they can make their fortunes in the industry. The only problem is that there aren't any dead bodies to be found. Sounds like a riot.
Insidious - My promising journalist friend Melanie Garrick recently interviewed James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the co-creators of the cult horror Saw franchise, for TimeOut Sydney. Apparently Insidious was made on a budget even smaller than the original Saw's - just US$800,000 - but it has pulled in solid numbers at the U.S box office. Citing inspiration from real-life ghost stories, Whannell and Wan have built a spine-tingling horror film, recognisably influenced by horror classics, Poltergeist and The Exorcist. Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) have a happy family with their three young children. When tragedy strikes their son, Josh and Renai begin to experience things that science cannot explain. While I have heard some qualms about the ending a couple of times, its chilling features are never disputed. Even if it is only nearly as good as Saw, it would be worth a look. Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 66%
My Weekly Recommendation: Insidious