Cinema Scoop  

Will Identity Thief suffer Side Effects?

Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a look at what the cinema has in store for us this weekend.

     Identity Thief

Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (Melissa McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Miami, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy. There's only one glitch: The ID she's using to finance these sprees reads "Sandy Bigelow Patterson"....and it belongs to an account rep (Jason Bateman) who lives halfway across the U.S. With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life. And as he attempts to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver, one easy target will discover just how tough it is to get your name back.

     My Take

On paper the idea of the hilarious Melissa McCarthy stealing the identity of Jason Bateman sounds pretty funny and it could be a winner. In reality though, based on the previews I've seen, this looks like it might just be another lame brained, slapstick comedy that doesn't really have a whole lot of originality going for it. Beyond the identity theft setup, it appears to be a cross between "Midnight Run" and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and I have a sneaky suspicion that it won't be as clever or as funny as either of those films.

Director Seth Gordon has been hit and miss since he debuted with the fabulous documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters in 2007. Four Christmases was a stinker, but Horrible Bosses was actually quite funny, so there is hope.

Also featured in the cast are John Cho, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet and Genesis Rodriguez.

I anticipate that this movie will be fairly popular this weekend given the fact that this is a light week for new releases and audiences generally tend to flock to comedies. The fact is that I like the two leads and I sincerely hope that Identity Thief is highly entertaining and provides enough quality laughs to make this one worthwhile.

     Side Effects

This provocative new thriller is about Emily and Martin (Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum), a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily's psychiatrist (Jude Law) - intended to treat anxiety - has unexpected side effects.

     My Take

I'm very intrigued by this one. The previews don't give too much away, and given that it is a mystery thriller, that is definitely a good thing.

Director Steven Soderbergh has proclaimed that he has used his last good idea for a movie with Side Effects and that he is retiring from making films at the age of 50. If that is true then that is a shame because he is one of the more interesting and divisive filmmakers working in Hollywood these days. He runs the gamut from making mainstream movies like the Ocean's trilogy to artsy fair like The Good German, The Girlfriend Experiment and Bubble.

I've been a big fan of his with films such as Out of Sight, The Limey, Erin Brockovich and Traffic, but I've been equally a detractor of his as well with films like Full Frontal, Solaris and Haywire. The fact is, you never really know what you are going to get from a Soderbergh film, but one thing you can be assured of is that it will be very well made.

I love me a good psychological thriller full of twists, so I'm quite hopeful that this film will deliver the goods. I think it will appeal to those who enjoy an intelligent mystery drama.

A solid cast and talented director are likely to make Side Effects a film that will be well worth seeking out this weekend.

     Anna Karenina

Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

     My Take

This is the third collaboration between Keira Knightley and director Joe Wright, following the award-winning films Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. It is the 13th and latest film adaptation of the timeless classic novel by Leo Tolstoy.

I'm personally not a big fan of these types of costume dramas, especially when they are set in the 19th-century which I happen to think has got to be the most boring time period in history since it focuses so much on the class system, and in particular, aristocrats having to act all prim and proper. Snoooooze!

Even though I have no interest in this film I'm sure that it will no doubt be a visually sumptuous piece of work and it will most certainly appeal to fans of this particular genre.

If the umpteenth version of Anna Karenina is something that interests you, head down to the Paramount Theatre and enjoy it.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and see you at the movies!

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About the Author

Just to give you a little background on my qualifications, I've been a film buff my whole life and I enjoy all different genres.

I especially have a passion for classic cinema.

I spent most of the past 17 years working for Rogers Video, so not only have I seen an immense amount of movies, but I've recommended many films to people over the years.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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