Home > Vulture News > THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: Angelina Jolie in Spyland: ‘Salt’ Aims For A Big Opening Weekend; Plus ‘Ramona & Beezus’ Is Like Trix: Just For Kids!

THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: Angelina Jolie in Spyland: ‘Salt’ Aims For A Big Opening Weekend; Plus ‘Ramona & Beezus’ Is Like Trix: Just For Kids!

This years Comic-Con, which started Thursday and runs through the weekend, has started with a bang. So far the newsworthy moments have come from the usual suspects: Robert Rodriguez previewed footage of his upcoming Grindhouse inspired action thriller Machete and during a discussion featuring J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon, the writer/director of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blogannounced he will be directing The Avengers, based on the Marvel comic characters (not the 1960s television show, which was made into an excruciatingly unwatchable movie in 1998).

Angelina Jolie, who, unlike Abrams and Whedon, is definitely not a Comic-Con regular, also made an appearance to promote her new movie Salt. She said her experience filming the movie left her scarred; literally. The actress did most of her own stunts for the spy thriller and told the crowd she hit her head on the edge of a desk during a stunt she described as, “one of the easiest.” Who says A-list actors don’t suffer for the sake of our entertainment?

THE BUZZ:  Good, if you leave logical thinking at the door, that is. Salt was directed by Phillip Noyce, who returns to the action genre after directing thoughtful art house movies like Rabbit Proof Fence and The Quiet American. Those two adjectives wouldn’t describe his latest movie.

Salt is a big budget fantasy, filled with illogical set pieces, that exist purely for their entertainment value. It’s the second project he’s collaborated with Jolie are The Bone Collector in1999.

Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Glieberman calls the movie out for a barely credible plot, but says that the lack of realism didn’t bother him one bit:

Fantasy has leaked, like an oil spill, into everything, even naturalistic thrillers, and that has changed our relationship to them. Salt, a jacked-up espionage/action machine starring Angelina Jolie as a CIA superstar who may or may not be a Russian mole, is a movie I have no trouble calling flagrantly preposterous and over-the-top — impossible to buy on any sober, adult level. It’s like a John le Carré double-agent yarn compacted into comic-book pulp as if by the makers of Con Air.

Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers attributes the fact that movie works so well to Jolie’s ferocious performance. He says:

It’s Jolie’s ferocity and feeling that make us stick with Salt as she predicts the coming of Day X, when Russian sleeper spies are meant to rise up and take America by force. A big topic for a piece of popcorn escapism. Whether you buy it or not, hang on for the ride. It’s a twister.


Beverly Cleary‘s classic children’s series have been translated to the big screen in Ramona & Beezus. What’s strange is that it took Hollywood this long to make an adaptation of the bestselling books. The last version was made for PBS in 1988 with a very young Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter, Go) playing Ramona. The latest version is a vehicle for Selena Gomez and it’s her first movie role since getting her big break as a Disney pop star.

THE BUZZ: Good, if you can consider yourself part of the age group that the books are aimed at. Ramona & Beezus will keep kids happy in the air conditioning for a couple of hours and it’s just entertaining enough for adults to keep them from falling asleep.

The Chicago Sun-TimesRoger Ebert, sums the adult perspective on the movie in his review. He writes:

This is a featherweight G-rated comedy of no consequence, except undoubtedly to kids about Ramona’s age. Joey King and the Disney star Selena Gomez are both appealing, and the movie is wisely populated with grownups who are content to play straight men; Sandra Oh is a calming presence as Ramona’s sensible teacher. The adults hint that normality exists in some form on Klickitat Street, and prevent the movie from going totally wacko and running off the rails.

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