THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: A Memorial Day With Unmemorable Blockbusters
Memorial day weekend is upon us and with it comes a whole slew of new blockbusters! The crop includes Terminator Salvation with hot-head Christian Bale; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian with Ben “must have been a good pay check” Stiller; The Wayans Brothers’ latest “comedy” Dance Flick, Easy Virtue with Jessica Biel; and last, but not least, Steven Soderbergh‘s The Girlfriend Experience, which premiered a month ago on video-on-demand.
The fourth installment of the Terminator series should have a huge opening weekend despite a limp critical response. David Edelstein of New York magazine writes:
This isn’t storytelling, it’s programming—inorganic matter passing for life”, and says about Bale’s character, “John’s mission is the apogee of nuttiness: to find his dad, a teenager, and keep him alive to impregnate mom and save the world from an army of titanium-girded Austrian musclemen. But Bale is such a dour prig you wonder why he just doesn’t abort himself in spite.”
The other mind-numbing sequels opening this week haven’t fared much better. The critical consensus for Night at the Museum is that its slapstick and special effects go manically overboard, even for toddlers. Pete Travers of Rolling Stone writes:
Adults who see this movie unaccompanied by a child should sign up pronto for therapy with Gabriel Byrne on In Treatment.”
As far as the rest of the list goes, Dance Flick can immediately be added to the category of “turkey”; Easy Virtue is a light and fluffy costume dramedy (i.e. boring!); and Girlfriend Experience is a smart study on the nature of relationships and the business of prostitution, starring porn-star Sasha Grey. Soderbergh’s film is definitely the one to see this weekend if you want more than throw-away popcorn.