Hear me chat about these movies with the gamely masochistic Ken Miller of Las Vegas Weekly in this week's Josh Bell Hates Everything podcast (probably the last one for a few weeks, since there isn't much worth talking about - or even screening in Vegas - for a little while).
New in Town (Renée Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., Siobhan Fallon Hogan, dir. Jonas Elmer)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I don't know if I'm just getting crankier, or if I've gotten stuck seeing more bad movies than usual, or if this month really is as shitty as it seems, but I can't remember a time when so many awful movies came out in quick succession to the almost complete absence of anything good. Even dumping-ground movies like this are often just mediocre, and sometimes even surprisingly good. But with this, Bride Wars and Paul Blart: Mall Cop, I've definitely seen some of the worst movies in recent memory, and quite possibly the worst movies I'll see all year (one can only hope). This has every awful rom-com cliché you can imagine, plus insults to both city folk and country folk, plus a main character who is alternately portrayed as a moron and a savvy businesswoman - but always as out of place in a man's world. I'm sure there are similar movies that are nearly as bad, but this one just struck all the wrong chords with me. It's sad enough that Paul Blart has been such a huge hit; I can only hope that people will have enough good sense to stay away from this movie this weekend. Wide release
The Uninvited (Emily Browning, Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel, David Strathairn, dir. Thomas and Charles Guard)
I think any amount of goodwill toward this movie has to come from diminished expectations; we expect the bottom of the barrel from our January horror movies, and this movie is slightly more competently assembled than its title doppelganger The Unborn. But it's also extremely dull and tedious, especially if you can figure out the rather obvious plot twist early on, and not particularly scary. The acting on the whole is slightly above average for this sort of thing (Banks has fun with her evil-stepmother part, even if the twist renders her performance a little problematic), and the plot mostly adds up even after it's completely turned on its head. But the characters remain uninteresting and one-dimensional, and unlike in the recent My Bloody Valentine remake, there isn't any fun camp along the way to the stupid reveal. If the plot mechanics don't grab you, there's not much else to go on. Wide release