Cinema Scoop  

Will spirits conjure up box office gold?

Greetings film fanatics, it's time to take a peek at what the cinema has to offer us this weekend.

     The Conjuring

Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. "The Conjuring" tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Fermiga), world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most horrifying case of their lives.

     My Take

Are you ready to have the pants scared off of you and to be thoroughly creeped out? I sure as heck am, and I've been so ever since I first saw clips from this spooky new horror thriller. It's based on real events and the story is taken from the files of Ed and Lorraine Warren and their first-hand account of the supposedly supernatural entity that they encountered while investigating strange occurrences at a farmhouse owned by Carolyn and Roger Perron (Lili Talyor, Ron Livingston).

Director James Wan re-teams with his Insidious star Patrick Wilson to bring us what many are already calling the scariest film in years. The MPAA slapped the film with an R-rating even though there is reportedly no gore and minimal violence. When the filmmakers asked why, they were informed that the film is simply too scary and that there were no specific scenes or tone that could be removed in order to get a PG-13 rating. Yikes! This sounds like a white knuckle thrill ride that will have you gripping the edge of your seat or the clammy hand of your date.

There has been a multitude of supernatural thrillers that have been released over the years, and while this storyline may seen awfully familiar and remind some people of films such as The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist and The Exorcist, it still looks like it will have its share of jump-in-your-seat moments that are sure to have fans of this genre flocking to the cinema. Not unlike wandering through a haunted house at the amusement park, I think that this film will offer the same type of visceral thrills and excitement that is sure to be a blast. I have a sneaky feeling that this will be a pretty big hit with summer audiences.

I'm really looking forward to this atmospheric and spooky looking film. I sincerely hope that The Conjuring lives up to the hype. We shall see.

     RED 2

In RED 2, the high-octane action-comedy sequel to the worldwide sleeper hit, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they'll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the next-generation weapon. The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world - and stay alive in the process.

     My Take

I imagine that anyone who enjoyed the first movie will likely be on board for this sequel. I didn't mind RED, but I didn't go nuts for it either. It had some fun action and amusing comedy here and there, but it wasn't overly memorable and it certainly is not a film I've ever felt the need to revisit. The best thing about it was definitely the stellar cast of veteran actors.

RED 2 reunites the majority of the first film's cast with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren and Brian Cox returning to stir up trouble, this time being joined by Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins (likely in a cameo role ala Ernest Borgnine in the first film), Byung-hun Lee and David Thewlis.

Stepping behind the camera to direct this sequel is Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest, Fun with Dick and Jane). I have to say that RED 2 does appear to be pretty standard looking action fare and a film that isn't going to bring anything new to the table. It's an obligatory sequel to a hit that grossed almost $200 million worldwide so I doubt that a tremendous amount of thought or effort really went into making this movie. If it does well, and let's face it, it likely will, you can be assured that we will be getting a RED 3 in the not too distant future. Yay, another movie that I won't be looking forward to. 

Oh well, I'm sure that there is an eager audience out there who can't wait to see these geriatrics kick a little butt. I hope it's a worthwhile and entertaining sequel. Enjoy!


Veteran sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges) has spent his career with the legendary police force known as R.I.P.D. (Rest In Peace Department) tracking monstrous spirits who are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. His mission? To arrest and bring to justice a special brand of criminals trying to escape final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth. Once the wise-cracking Roy is assigned former rising-star detective Nick Walter (Ryan Reynolds) as his junior officer, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, two of R.I.P.D.'s finest must miraculously restore the cosmic balance... or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way.

     My Take

Note to film studios everywhere: you don't have to turn every single comic book in existence into a movie. This stupendously dumb looking movie looks like a total rip-off of Men In Black except with malevolent spirits instead of aliens. Some nincompoop actually decided that it would be a great idea to spend $130 million on this thing. I wonder if they will still have a job after this inevitably lands with a thud at the box office this weekend. Of course, I could be totally wrong and this could end up being a huge hit. That steaming turd of a film Grown Ups 2 actually grossed more than the incredibly awesome Pacific Rim last weekend so apparently there is no accounting for taste anymore. 

Well, let's just pretend for a minute that R.I.P.D. will actually be a highly entertaining and fun supernatural action comedy. It does feature a strong cast of likable actors such as the always amazing Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Mary-Louise Parker and Kevin Bacon. It's directed by Robert Schwentke, who made the solid Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan and also happened to direct the first RED (which also features Mary-Louise Parker).

R.I.P.D. may appeal to younger viewers who love these video game style movies, heavy on special effects and thin on plot with plenty of slapstick humour thrown in for good measure. I really don't see this film garnering a huge audience though outside of the youth demographic. The fact that it hasn't even been screened for anyone yet is also concerning as the studio likely doesn't have enough faith in it. 

If you are still totally hepped up to see R.I.P.D., then for your sake I sincerely hope that it is a satisfying experience and not the complete misguided bomb that I fear it may be.


Also released this week is the latest animated adventure comedy from DreamWorks Animation (Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods) that is sure to have the kiddies all excited.

Turbo features an ordinary garden snail whose dream to become the fastest snail in the world comes true when he embarks on an adventure that eventually leads him to the Indianapolis 500.

The superb cast of voice actors includes Ryan Reynolds (him again) as Turbo, Paul Giamatti, Samuel L. Jackson, Michelle Rodriguez, Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion now, whatever), Maya Rudolph, Michael Peña, Bill Hader and Ken Jeong.

Turbo marks the directorial debut of Canadian filmmaker and artist David Soren, who previously did artistic work on Chicken Run, Shrek and Over the Hedge.

Turbo should be the perfect film to take small children to this weekend and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this ends up winning the box office race this week as well. It will likely be another case of animation domination.

Turbo already opened yesterday so you can check it out now.

Have a great weekend everyone, 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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