Updated 5/1 at 8:00a
|A Nightmare on Elm Street||WIDE||R||Horror||33||1,12,9||5.4|
|Compare to the "best" wide releases from recent weeks:|
A nightmarish end to spring
In the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street that opens this weekend, a group of young people try not to fall asleep, for fear of being haunted by a homicidal maniac in their dreams. Audience members may find themselves trying not to stay awake, for fear of having to continue watching a terrible movie. And, yet, Nightmare isn't even the week's worst major release; those honors go to the misguided family comedy Furry Vengeance. The good news? The summer movie season kicks off next week, with the arrival of Iron Man 2.
Here are the details on this week's major new releases:
|Furry Vengeance (2010)||23|
|Extraordinary Measures (2010)||45|
|Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The (2008)||31|
|Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D (2008)||57|
No, it's not what you think it is. This live-action family comedy stars Brendan Fraser as a real estate developer who encounters spirited (and physical) resistance from an enterprising group of animals when he attempts to build a housing subdivision in their wilderness. (It is, however, as bad as you think it is.)
What the critics like: Entertainment Weekly is grateful that the animals themselves don't speak. Very young children might -- might -- get some enjoyment out of the film.
What they don't like: Pretty much everything about the movie, which is receiving some of the worst reviews for a major release this year. The comedy is appallingly unfunny, the animation for the animals is both cheap and disturbing, and the movie could not be more obvious about its pro-environment message (and could not present it in a less appropriate manner). Many critics also appear to feel sorry for Fraser.
Music video director Samuel Bayer (Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) makes his feature debut with this darker and louder remake of Wes Craven's 1984 horror classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, with Jackie Earle Haley stepping into the shoes (or should we say razor gloves) of Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger. The buzz from early test screenings was negative, and this week's critical response isn't any better. (Be sure to check out our look at the entire Nightmare on Elm Street series if you haven't already.)
What the critics like: While its hard to replace the iconic Englund, Haley's performance appears to be a bright spot. There are also a few scary moments. Some of the visuals are slick.
What they don't like: It's routine, generic, stale, and unimaginative, which is especially troublesome given that the original film was anything but. The movie is also boring enough that audiences may have as much trouble staying awake as the on-screen characters do. Many of the scares are so mild that they are more likely to induce laughter than fright.
Harry Brown 56
An older man (Michael Caine) in present-day Britain reaches his breaking point when his best friend is murdered by a hooligan.
What the critics like: Caine's performance, for starters. Actually, that's about the only thing that critics are finding universally agreeable about the film. Some reviewers find the movie gripping and effective.
What they don't like: This tale of revenge is highly derivative of older movies such as Death Wish and the Dirty Harry oeuvre (or even Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino). Several critics despise the film; without Caine, the film has little to offer other than exploitation and unjustified violence, and it veers wildly from realism to sensationalism. A detective played by Emily Mortimer is also a liability, although critics are divided as to whether that is due to the actress or the character itself.
Please Give 75
|Please Give (2010)||75|
|Friends with Money (2006)||68|
|Lovely & Amazing (2002)||75|
|Walking and Talking (1996)||67|
Writer-director Nicole Holofcener is known for making intelligent, adult-oriented, female-centric comedies starring Catherine Keener, and Please Give -- about a New York married couple with neighbor problems -- continues that trend. In addition to Keener, the ensemble cast includes Amanda Peet and Oliver Platt.
What the critics like: The performances are strong; the film is well-crafted, smart, funny, sharply observational, honest, and a welcome departure from typical Hollywood fare.
What they don't like: The New York Observer's Rex Reed finds the film downright boring, and even the critics who enjoy it admit that there isn't a whole lot happening in terms of story or drama. Several critics compare it to a good short story, which we don't necessarily think of as a compliment, seeing as how the film itself isn't short.
Next week in Metacritic
Opening wide next Friday, May 7th, are the summer's most anticipated film, Iron Man 2, and the appropriately-titled documentary Babies. The Naomi Watts-Annette Bening drama Mother and Child will also screen in limited release.