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Review Revue: WIMPY KID 3, TOTAL RECALL and CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER

Going to the movies should never, ever be stressful (unless, of course, you’re planning on seeing the latest Lars von Trier flick). You want to see something new and relevant so that you can talk it up with your know-it-all friends. But you don’t want to sit through the one film that everyone thought would be great but… isn’t. So here is our formula, simplifying the should-you-see-it conundrum:
5 new releases x 2 critical samplings = what you should go see.

Simple enough, right? This week we have Colin Farrell trying to pull off Schwarzenegger, a wimpy kid, young and pretty divorcees, some babymakers and a bunch of wayward Europeans.

TOTAL RECALL

Synopsis: Take 1990s retro gem TOTAL RECALL, remove Ah-nold and the Mars plotline, add Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel, and stir.

Most typical critique: James Berardinelli, ReelViews:

One of the great advantages of remaking a movie is being given the opportunity to correct problems — something not attempted here.

The quote not to miss: John Semley, Slant:

Len Wiseman’s TOTAL RECALL’s a trifling mess, as superfluous as a third breast.

Should you go see it?

Not so much. Rent the first one, folks! Love it or hate it, the Paul Verhoeven original is fun fun fun.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS

Synopsis: Didn’t think the illustrated-novel-turned-film DIARY OF A WIMPY KID was territory for yet another sequel? Think again!
Most typical critique: Anna Smith, Empire:

Greg avoids the curse of the three in the third outing for the Wimpy Kid. Hardly groundbreaking but plenty of fun for its target audience.

The quote not to miss: Derek Adams, Time Out:

Slightly better than its predecessors — although it’s still the same disjointed fluff about an aloof American middle-class kid with a bunch of hang-ups.

Should you go see it?

Did you see the first two? Films based on graphic and illustrated novels have had a good run in the past, and this one does seem to fare slightly better than the first installments, so perhaps this is a good bet.

CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER

Synopsis: Rashida Jones co-pens and stars in this Sundance Film Festival fave, an after-the-fact look of what happens when wedded high school sweethearts suddenly don’t feel so much like sweethearts anymore. But who couldn’t love Andy Samberg?

Most typical critique: Christy Lemire, Associated Press:

CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER is by no means a parody of romantic comedy cliches, but rather an acknowledgement of them en route to an exploration of greater emotional truths.

The quote not to miss: Fred Topel, Crave Online:

Jones is unafraid to make her character self-destructive and unlikeable… I really like where they go with these relationships.

Should you go see it?

This one’s interesting. At turns amusing and surprisingly insightful, this is what LOLA VERSUS LOLA could have (and should have) been: a true evolution from the rom-com we’re used to.

THE BABYMAKERS

Synopsis: A kooky caper involving hot young things (and up-and-coming stars) Olivia Munn and Paul Schneider as a procreationally challenged couple who resort to stealing sperm from a sperm bank.

Most typical critique: Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly:

Munn, sexy and spirited, plays Audrey as a woman without much patience for arrested-male shenanigans. You may end up feeling the same way.

The quote not to miss: Melissa Anderson, Village Voice:

Its 95 minutes feel like a trimester…

Should you go see it?

Skip it. This just seems assembled from parts we’ve all seen before, and we liked them better the first time…

360

Synopsis: An inter-European matrix of stories featuring a whole bunch of excellent acclaimed actors, 360 is a way more literate version of what Gary Marshall tried to do with the abominations VALENTINE’S DAY and NEW YEAR’S EVE.

Most typical critique: Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice:

There are fleeting moments, but [screenwriter Peter] Morgan’s narrative promiscuity leaves 360 feeling only spread out and empty.

The quote not to miss: Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies:

I hope Peter Morgan doesn’t give up writing, and I do hope [director Fernando] Meirelles gives up trying to be Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Should you go see it?

Up to you. While by no means riveting, 360 invites us to connect the dots at a leisurely, or European, pace.