10 Cloverfield Lane film

Some Movies to See This Weekend, March 11, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016 Rob Samuelson

This weekend certainly is eclectic at the movies. There’s a sci-fi thriller, a goofy spy comedy, a romance, and a religious coming-of-age story. The quality of these things may vary, but the variety of genre is almost certainly a good thing. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.

10 Cloverfield Lane
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Writers: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.

I’ve been in the bag for this one from the moment its teaser trailer, featuring Tommy James & the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now,” debuted as a surprise just two months ago. Nobody knew this movie, a maybe-kinda-sorta sequel to 2008’s found footage Godzilla riff, Cloverfield, was happening until the trailer was released. When you see the cast, which features a legend (Goodman) and an actress who has oddly never become a big star (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), cooped up in an underground bunker, it goes from “promising” to “the closest thing to The Twilight Zone we’ll get any time soon.”

Details are scarce, but the setup is Winstead’s character gets into a car accident and wakes up in the bunker. Goodman is a terrifying monster who will not let her or John Gallagher Jr.’s character go. Fires happen, bright lights freak everyone out, and maybe the big lizard guy from the first Cloverfield is stomping around outside. Or maybe those Twilight Zone comparisons aren’t far off and the title Cloverfield is merely the newest anthology name with little to no connection between installments beyond a sense of freaky sci-fi concepts.

The Brothers Grimsby
Director: Louis Leterrier
Writers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston, Peter Baynham
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson, Isla Fisher

Sacha Baron Cohen has been out of the loop for a bit, with his last onscreen role being 2013’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. And that was more of a cameo than anything. It’s a shame because Cohen’s satirical view of the world is always worth seeing, even if his now decade-old Borat character has inspired too many people to constantly spout the lines from that movie. Hopefully now his turn as a soccer hooligan who meets with his long-lost brother (Mark Strong) will get people to stop saying, “My wiiiiife,” over and over again whether the situation calls for it or not.

If there’s reason to pause, it’s the man in the director’s chair, Louis Leterrier. His Incredible Hulk was probably the most personality-free movie of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe so far and 2010’s Clash of the Titans was a dull slog of epic action tropes. The comedic spy thrills of The Brothers Grimsby, though, look like a return to his days doing the Transporter movies, which would hit the sweet spot.

The Perfect Match
Director: Bille Woodruff
Writers: Brandon Broussard, Gary Hardwick, Dana Verde
Starring: Terrence Jenkins, Paula Patton, Kali Hawk, Lauren London, Donald Faison

Sometimes people don’t want to grow up. When that lack of maturity includes being able to date tons of beautiful women, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, at least for the ego. It’s a common setup for teaching a protagonist a lesson, and it’s the case for The Perfect Match, about a handsome entertainment agent who is told to bring a real date to his friends’ wedding rather than a one-night-stand type of girl. Of course, he finds someone and falls in love, but she doesn’t want a long-term relationship. Based on its slick romantic comedy trailer, there is little to distinguish the movie from tons of others like it, but some of its supporting cast are what do it for me.

That’s because Paula Patton was so good in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and has frustratingly done nothing high-profile since. She plays the wise older sister character here, which hopefully will launch her onto more movie screens soon. Then there’s Scrubs’ Donald Faison as a friend. When Turk shows up, it’s worth paying attention. He better get a chance to dance and be silly, or else, The Perfect Match. Or else!

The Young Messiah
Director: Cyrus Nowrasteh
Writers: Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh, Cyrus Nowrasteh
Starring: Sean Bean, Sara Lazzaro, Adam Greaves-Neal

There is little in the New Testament about Jesus’s youth. There is no dramatization of him learning about -- and coming to terms with -- being the son of God. Whether you believe in the religion behind it or not, that’s a powerful fable about accepting identity. The Young Messiah takes a serious look at this, as Mary and Joseph struggle to inform their son about his place in the world, while Roman soldiers search for the boy who has been called the king of the Jews.

Seeing Sean Bean in the cast as a Roman is a good sign for the movie’s quality. It does not appear to get too hokey as most religious movies do, instead focusing on the emotions and turmoil of learning such news. Would I prefer to see a big-screen adaptation of Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal? Of course. That’s much more irreverent and up my alley. But I don’t have the icky feeling I normally do with religious movies when seeing the trailer for this one. That’s promising.

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