What’s Seattle Saying – March 22, 2013

WhatsSeattleSayingLogoEach week, Should I See It will be looking to its left and to its right, collating the thoughts of many of the film reviewers and writers located in and around the Seattle community.

OPENING IN SEATTLE – MARCH 22, 2013:

    • Admission
    • The Croods
    • Olympus Has Fallen
    • Spring Breakers

See what the Seattle critics say about these films…after the cut!

 

AdmissionADMISSION
Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Michael Sheen
Rating: PG-13 (for language and some sexual material.)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Director: Paul Weitz

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Paul Rudd (This is 40) are paired for the first time on-screen in Admission, the new comedy/drama directed by Academy Award nominee Paul Weitz (About a Boy, In Good Company), about the surprising detours we encounter on the road to happiness. Every spring, high school seniors anxiously await letters of college admission that will affirm and encourage their potential. At Princeton University, admissions officer Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) is a gatekeeper evaluating thousands of applicants. Year in and year out, Portia has lived her life by the book, at work as well as at the home she shares with Princeton professor Mark (Michael Sheen). When Clarence (Wallace Shawn), the Dean of Admissions, announces his impending retirement, the likeliest candidates to succeed him are Portia and her office rival Corinne (Gloria Reuben). For Portia, however, it’s business as usual as she hits the road on her annual recruiting trip.- Focus Features.

 WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Admission?

X - NoBrian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio.Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
“…flat, uninspired and, simply put, remarkably unremarkable.”

Check - YesSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
I was more than satisfied by the experience of watching this one, my time in the theatre one I thoroughly enjoyed.

X - NoMoira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
“‘Admission’ is not a goofy romantic comedy — really, it’s barely a comedy at all…”

Only three of our critics expressed their thoughts on Admission, and had three different takes on the film. One outright pan, one middle-of-the-road review, and one thumb lifted in the air, with the film’s flaws acknowledged. The sample set small locally, that sample seems to be on track with national critics who tagged the film with a 42% Rotten Tomatoes score. The opening box office underwhelmed as well, meaning Admission may be headed to remedial school (i.e. home video) sooner and not later.

CroodsPosterTHE CROODS
Starring the Voices of: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
Rating: PG (for some scary action.)
Genre: Animated Family Comedy
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Director: Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
The Croods tells the story of the world’s first family road trip. When their cave is destroyed, the Crood family must embark on a comedy adventure into strange and spectacular territory in search of a new home. As if patriarch Grug (Cage) didn’t already have enough to handle, it goes from bad to worse when they encounter an imaginative nomad named Guy (Reynolds.) With Guy’s help the Croods conquer their fear of the outside world and discover that they have exactly what it takes to survive – each other. – Paramount

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT The Croods?

Check - Yes

Brian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio.Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
“A colorful, innovative and heartfelt blast – you’d have to have rocks in your head to not enjoy the simple pleasures of this rollicking animated caveman movie!”

Check - YesRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“Not exactly deep, but the comedy timing is good and the physical humor is a throwback to old Warner Bros. cartoons.

Check - YesBrian Zitzelman, Examiner.com
“Other than some consistently flat jokes about how awful mother-in-laws are, each more tiresome than the last, this dynamic offers plenty of comedy, and in the end heart.”

Check - YesLaremy Legel, Film.com
“To be completely fair, it’s not as good as “Lilo & Stitch” or “How to Train Your Dragon,” but it’s in the ballpark, and being a bronze-medalist in a crowd full of winners is nothing to be ashamed of.

Check - YesSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
The Croods does remind me of Pixar’s Brave, both movies putting their strong-willed female protagonists front and center while content to tell a simple, straight-forward story free of indulgent embellishments.

Check - YesTim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
“…a kid’s movie that just lets kids be kids for a few hours. Sometimes, that’s all you really need to be entertained.”

Check - YesBrad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
“…nothing too overwhelming, but a perfect father-daughter feature that should entertain the whole family and may even bring a few teddy bear-type fathers to tears.”

Check - YesTom Keogh, The Seattle Times
““The Croods” is about storytelling…There’s something touching in that, something that tugs at a viewer and makes “The Croods” more than the sum of its sight gags and sentimentality.”

Check - YesMichael Ward, Should I See It
“…finds enough ways to entertain the masses and hit every proper beat with its intended target audience – the youngest among us.”

DreamWorks’ The Croods runs the table with our panel, as all nine reviewers praise the film. While most appeared to be entertained by the film, one reviewer, Brian the Movie Guy, had effusive praise for the production. Nationally, The Croods found the favor of 67% of national film critics via Rotten Tomatoes, and has the family film slate all to itself until May 24. The Croods is set up to make a whole lot of money, signaling the likely arrival of a franchise.

OlympusHasFallenOLYMPUS HAS FALLEN
Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
Rating: R (for strong violence and language throughout.)
Genre: Action
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Director: Antoine Fuqua

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
When the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning’s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger crisis. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directs an all-star cast featuring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd and Rick Yune.- FilmDistrict.

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Olympus Has Fallen?

X - NoBrian the Movie Guy, KOMO Radio/Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
“…if you’re looking for anything beyond goofily thunderous gunplay, you best lower your expectations on this derivatively over-the-top flick.

Check - YesRobert Horton, Everett Herald
“There’s a fun B-movie stuck inside this overblown, violent mess, although the premise is so grabby it does have its moments.”

X - NoAllen Almachar, The MacGuffin
“I can already picture the abundant reviews calling this out as a Die Hard rip-off. And you know what—they’re right.

X - NoSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
My feelings towards Olympus Has Fallen aren’t exactly euphoric, and my reaction to the overall motion picture itself isn’t anywhere near positive.

Check - YesTim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
“There are a few leaps of faith the film ask you to take, but taking that leap is well worth it…”

Brad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
X - No
“…best left for a lazy weekend afternoon on the couch.”


X - NoSoren Andersen, The Seattle Times

“…along with people, high principles sure take a beating in ‘Olympus.'”

X - NoMichael Ward, Should I See It
“Couching behind a veil of faux-patriotism, Olympus Has Fallen is a silly and irresponsible film…”

Even its most fervent supporters must acknowledge that Olympus Has Fallen has direct ties and connections to the classic Die Hard film. Essentially conceived around the same ideas, Olympus opened to strong box office numbers and a better-than-expected critical reception. Nationally the film has maintained close to a 50% mark, which is far more positive than the treatment it received locally. Just 2 of our 8 reviewers liked the film, and neither praised it all that highly. This B-movie-style film features an A-list cast and will try to retain some of audiences, who will likely pivot over to G.I. Joe: Retaliation in the coming days.

SpringBreakersSPRING BREAKERS
Starring: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson
Rating: R (for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence throughout.)
Genre: Comedy/Crime Drama
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Director: Harmony Korine

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Faith (Selena Gomez) have been best friends since grade school. They live together in a boring college dorm and are hungry for adventure. All they have to do is save enough money for spring break to get their shot at having some real fun. A serendipitous encounter with rapper “Alien” (James Franco) promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. With the encouragement of their new friend, it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget. – A24

WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT Spring Breakers?

Check - YesAdam Gehrke, AdamGehrke.com
“The acting here is solid, the visuals are interesting, just know that this could be a tough watch for the weak of stomach.”

Check - YesErik Samdahl, FilmJabber
Spring Breakers is original, sexy and ridiculous like few movies can be. It may be the best movie I see all year that I won’t recommend to anyone.

X - NoNick Ahlers, The MacGuffin
“Don’t be fooled by his flashy first few scenes, as it soon devolves back into nothingness.”

Check - YesSara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
The hedonistic mixture is both mind-blowing and mind-numbing, usually both at the very same time, everything coming together to create an expressionistic cocktail of youthful rebellion unlike anything I’ve maybe ever seen.”

Check - YesTim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
“Without a doubt, Spring Breakers will be a polarizing film. The uncomfortable truth is more people will be able to relate to this film than not.”

X - NoBrad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
“…a story of four lost girls trying to find their way is trying to break through the surface, but the erratic filmmaking just won’t let it loose.”

The divisive and challenging Spring Breakers proved to be just that for our Seattle panel, although must give the film a recommendation. All reviews point to the manic and unhinged performance of James Franco as the takeaway from Spring Breakers and our local critics fall about in line with the national consensus score from Rotten Tomatoes of 68%. Truly one of the most controversial films of recent years, Harmony Korine’s most mainstream film to date is turning heads and drawing crowds.

FINAL CONSENSUS
If you are game for the task, Spring Breakers is a trainwreck of a film one almost has to see to believe. Admission proved underwhelming, while Olympus Has Fallen could not galvanize our critics to its cause. At the end of the day, families win out and The Croods swept our Seattle critics, making it a worthwhile film for families to experience together.

On March 29, three new films open wide, and we will look at two independent films which drew nice totals in Seattle when they opened. Playing in a handful of theaters each, our panel will weigh in on the long gestating Kristen Stewart-led On The Road and Ginger & Rosa, featuring a much talked about performance from Elle Fanning.

EXPECTED OPENINGS/EXPANSIONS IN SEATTLE March 29, 2013:

  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation
  • Ginger & Rosa
  • The Host
  • On The Road
  • Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor

What’s Seattle Saying surveyed critics include:

Adam Gehrke, AdamGehrke.com
Brian The Movie Guy, KOMO Radio/Star 101.5 FM/Brianthemovieguy.com
Robert Horton, Everett Herald
Brian Zitzelman, Examiner.com
Erik Samdahl, FilmJabber
Laremy Legel, Film.com/Rope Of Silicon
Staff Reviewers from The MacGuffin
Sara Michelle Fetters, MovieFreak.com
Tim Hall, The People’s Critic@SeattlePI.com
Brad Brevet, Rope Of Silicon
Staff Reviewers from The Seattle Times
Ian Dinsmore, Seattleite
Michael Ward, Should I See It