Wondering which movie to go see in theaters?
Here are the ten best movies playing in theaters and my quick, spoiler-free advice:
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – See-it – If it’s not the best, it’s definitely the second best – and darkest – Harry Potter film (behind Goblet of Fire). HP7.2 is the perfect ending to the magical story about the young wizard and his lifelong antoganist Voldermort, who finally gets enough screentime to be worthy of an Oscar nom-nod. And don’t be surprised if the film makes its way into the Academy’s top 10 this year as well.
- Super 8 – See-it – Super 8 is as “mint” as a summer blockbuster can be these days, pairing Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams in a sci-fi adventure about a group of small town kids who accidentally capture a shocking military secret on film. It falls somewhere between Goonies, Stand By Me, E.T. and Close Encounter of the Third Kind. And don’t leave the theater until you see the kid’s homemade zombie film roll during the credits.
- Midnight in Paris – Rent-it – It’s a typical Woody Allen film starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, and Adrien Brody about an engaged couple who travels to Paris where their lives are – individually – changed forever. Fans will embrace it, millennials will be bored.
- Winnie the Pooh – See-it – I’m not just saying this because my sister read every Winnie the Pooh story to me as a kid, Winnie the Pooh truly is a sweet and nostalgic family treat – it is a perfectly short family film for children (which Harry Potter is not!)
- Bridesmaids – See-it – Kristen Wiig is officially the next big thing in comedy, and proves it in her leading role as a maid of honor in this R-rated, female-driven, Judd Apatow comedy.
- Captain America: The First Avenger – See-it – New This Week – Marvel comics has a third great superhero film of the year with this pleasantly nostalgic, good-ole-fashioned, action adventure film.
- Life in a Day – See-it – As a social media savvy cinephile this documentary may be my favorite of all-time, as it depicts the lives of 80,000 people who upload videos of themsleves on July 24th 2010 to make an single incredible film created entirely by us – oh, and two award winning filmmakers.
- The Tree of Life – See-it if you can – Brad Pitt and Sean Penn somehow managed to star in a film that you’ve never heard of – which is a shame – because this story about a Midwestern family in the 1950’s is a splendid, emotional, rewarding, insightful, visual treat. Just be patient.
- Horrible Bosses – See-it – This film about a pyscho, a maneater, and a tool is far from fresh but the ensemble cast of Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx make it altogether funny.
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon – See-it in 3-D – The 3rd installment in Michael Bay’s series about giant alien robots battling on earth is better than the 2nd, not quite as good as as the first, but definitely 10x better than most critics are saying. It’s the perfect Independence Day film full of 3-D action – possibly the best 3-D action since Avatar – and, surprisingly, tons of laughs! Go see-it and we will rub the box office numbers in those snobby critics’ faces.
Ten other films in theaters that didn’t make the top ten…
- Tabloid – See-it if you can – This Errol Morris documentary tells the story of Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney, a beauty queen with an IQ of 168, who graced the tabloids with an unbelievable story 30 years before Britney Spears sahved her head and Paris Hilton’s sex tape.
- Friends with Benefits – Rent-it – New This Week – Now we know why Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz broke up, and why Bad Teacher stunk, because JT and co-star Mila Kunis’s chemistry carries this formulaic yet hip romcom just enough the nearly recommend seeing it in theaters – if you’re into that sort of thing.
- Cars 2 – Rent-it – This is a rare summer sequel that is better than the first as Pixar’s animated cars voiced by Owen Wilson and Larry The Cable Guy head overseas in a competition for the world’s fastest car.
- Larry Crowne – Wait-for-it – This rom-com is neither funny nor romantic, but the chemistry between Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts is believable and there is some post-retirement life lesson here… somewhere. So watch it on ABC in 10 years or show it to your dad on Netflix in a few months.
- Bad Teacher – Wait-for-it – Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, and Jason Segel star in the completely wrong comedy about three high school teachers. If you’re interested in romantic comedy parody or just want to see Diaz’s charity car wash scene – this film is probably for you.
- Last Night – Wait-for-it – Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington are a happily married couple in NYC until 7 years into their marriage the wife meets the husband’s gorgeous colleague Eva Mendes who he’s never mentioned before. Yadda, yadda, yadda, a drunken business trip ensues.
- The Perfect Host – Skip-it – David Hyde Pierce (Dr. Niles Crane from TV’s Frasier) is the perfect host of this dinner party that goes 90 minutes too long. The intriguing twist in the plot would have made a better short than a feature film. You could rent-it and quickly “drive-thru” but I’d say skip it altogether.
- Monte Carlo – Skip-it – It’s an enchanting and charming tale for teenage girls about three young women travelling to Paris post-graduation and the romanticly royal world they discover – boyfriends, go watch Transformers 3 while your girl giggles at this.
- The Ward – Skip-it – John Carpenter’s return to horror will have you wondering if he himself was institutionalized these past 9 years. Skip this pysch-ward ghost thriller.
- Love Wedding Marriage – Skip-it – Mandy Moore and Kellan Lutz (one of the Cullen vampires from Twilight) might sweep the Razzies with this “comedy” that will actually leave you awkwardly waiting for a pity laugh you feel so bad for it.
…and the five worst films in theaters:
- The Undefeated – Skip-it – This documentary is just a 2-hour, back-patting Sarah Palin infomercial.
- Zookeeper – Skip-it – Even if you love the zoo and Kevin James you’ll hate this fluffy, offensive, and dismal film that is a complete waste of time and onscreen talent.
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Skip-it – This Jim Carrey family comedy has certainly flown under the radar. And it’s not because penguins can’t fly. As my good friend Ryan Beltz (@RJB1983) put it: “Jim Carrey has obviously decided at this point in his career he is going to follow down the Eddie Murphy road of comedy #talktoanimals”
- The Hangover Part II – Skip-it – Excedrin and Gatorade won’t make you feel any better after watching this even raunchier sequel with about 1/10th the LOLs of the first film.
- Green Lantern – Skip-it – If you don’t know anything about the comic book superhero’s mythology and need a completely adolescent explanation in an obnoxiously loud, visual-effect vomiting fashion, you might mildly enjoy this film. Otherwise, skip-it.
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