[Previously: Part 1, Part 2]
Movie: The Lincoln Lawyer (Brad Furman)
High-Concept Synopsis: Matthew McConaughey plays a slick defense attorney who operates out of Lincoln Town Car, if that's not goddamn ridiculous enough for you. Somehow, rich-boy Ryan Phillippe's case takes him through the looking glass.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of the lesser John Grisham movies (yes it's based on a Michael Connelly book, but my point remains). Fans of the serious work of Matthew McConaughey (you know, Amistad, We Are Marshall, classics like that). Fans of the actually un-shabby supporting cast (Marisa Tomei, Josh Lucas, William H. Macy, Bryan Cranston, Michael Peña
Who Won't Be Seeing It: John Grisham fans who are quite offended that I conflated his worth with Michael Connelly's up there. People who barely want to watch McConaughey in comedies anymore, much less dramas. Folks who hold a grudge against screenwriter John Romano for his story credit on the worst Coen Brothers movie ever, Intolerable Cruelty.
Why I'd See It: I have to admit, I can't see too many circumstances where I would. This feels like a movie that should have been made 15 years ago, and it probably wouldn't have been very inspired then either. March 18
Movie: Limitless (Neil Burger)
High-Concept Synopsis: Grubby, lazy writer Bradley Cooper comes across an experimental drug that makes him otherworldly smart and cunning. It makes his life awesome, but it also sets shadowy businessman Robert DeNiro on his tail.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People eager to see Bradley Cooper get the chance to carry his own movie for a change. People who were impressed by director Burger on The Lucky Ones. Shabby writers looking to live vicariously through Cooper's hyper-productive fantasia.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who find Cooper's screen persona hopelessly smug and unrelatable. People who were less impressed by Neil Burger's direction on the barely-seen The Lucky Ones. People who have honestly forgotten why Robert DeNiro was ever considered a national acting treasure.
Why I'd See It: I hope for the best for Bradley Cooper, even when he's being bearded by Renee Zellweger. I think the shlubby-to-suave character here fits in his wheelhouse while also not just being a movie where he's allowed to smirk his way through the whole thing like The Hangover or The A-Team. And I still say Neil Burger has promise as a director. Let's see how he does with this. March 18
Movie: Paul (Greg Mottola)
High-Concept Synopsis: The guys from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz come across a cartoony alien guy in the American desert. He's voiced by Seth Rogen, which tells you everything you need to know about this movie.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's shlubby British charm. Fans of Greg Mottola's last two pretty excellent movies, Superbad and Adventureland. Fans of the long, proud history of aliens-among-us comedy, from ALF to I Love Lucy.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Edgar Wright partisans (if they're not too busy watching their Scott Pilgrim DVDs for the 800th time), who refuse to believe Pegg and Frost can be funny without his guiding hand. People who are maybe weary of Seth Rogen bringing his dumb stoner persona to yet another genre. People who are pissed that Sigourney Weaver got aced out of the trailer.
Why I'd See It: I guess technically Pegg and Frost play different characters in all their movies, but really it's just always Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Which is fine with me. I think the bigger draw for me is Mottola, to be honest. I'm really interested to see how he follows up Adventureland. March 18
Movie: Win Win (Thomas McCarthy)
High-Concept Synopsis:Paul Giamatti is a sad-sack everyman (stay with me here...) who moonlights as a high-school wrestling coach and comes across a pale-faced prodigy who somehow gives his life meaning. Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, and Melanie Lynskey co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It:People who look past the general trite-ness of the plot and see that McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) as well as this cast are capable of something great. Anyone who followed the generally great buzz this got at Sundance last month. High-school wrestlers looking for THEIR Hoosiers, THEIR Karate Kid. Melanie Lynskey fans excited that she's got a seemingly substantial role.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who don't look one inch past the general trite-ness of the plot. Audiences turned away by the sheer pastiness of the two male leads. People who have maybe had their fill of McCarthy's cinematic loneliness.
Why I'd See It:The general concept wasn't lighting my world on fire, but the great Sundance reviews, as well as promising trailer, have put this solidly on my radar. March 18
Movie: Sucker Punch (Zack Snyder)
High-Concept Synopsis: The Zack Snyder-fication of the age-old tale of young girl (Emily Browning) terrorized by her awful family, institutionalized and escapes via the power of her ultraviolent imagination. Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, and Carla Gugino co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of Snyder's signature style (i.e. slo-mo action, ridiculous and revealing costumes, CGI everything), especially as this looks increasingly like 300 (Teenage Girls). People who have been waiting for Emily Browning to get another shot at something interesting since Lemony Snicket. Fans of Carla Gugino's RIDICULOUS Jolie-ish accent work, as heard in the trailer.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Non-fans of girlie violence. People who have given up on Snyder delivering on the promise he showed in Dawn of the Dead. Audiences who detect more than a bit of prurient grossness in this story of sexy schoolgirl dream warriors.
Why I'd See It: I'm torn. It certainly looks different enough that it's worth a look, but this feels like Zack Snyder traveling directly up his own butthole, and increasingly, his butthole looks more and more like the butthole of the nerd who drew cartoons of topless women on his notebooks in school. March 25
Movie: Source Code (Duncan Jones)
High-Concept Synopsis: Jake Gyllenhaal plays a soldier sent back in time to try and stop a train bombing ... as many times as necessary to get it right. Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of director Jones, who brought such a singular vision to 2009's Moon. Fans of thinky sci-fi adventure. Fans of the excellent cast, including Jake, who hasn't been in a good movie in a while and could use one.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who don't so much see Gyllenhaal as struggling against bad material as contributing to bad material. People bummed to see Duncan Jones going so mainstream so fast. People disappointed that, after Up in the Air, Vera Farmiga gets stuck behind not only a desk but buttoned up under a military uniform.
Why I'd See It: Jake. Vera. Jeffrey Wright. The guy who made Moon. I can't think of a single reason why I wouldn't meet this movie at a sprint. April 1
Movie: Super (James Gunn)
High-Concept Synopsis: The latest in the post-modern "regular guy tries to be a superhero, to darkly comic results" subgenre. Rainn Wilson stars as the wannabe, with Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon lending support.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who have enjoyed the "regular guy tries to be a superhero, to darkly comic results" subgenre. People who have been waiting for Rainn Wilson to indulge in Dwight Shrute's more vigilante tendencies. People who dig Gunn's ultra-dark take on indie genre comedy.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who got enough of oh-so-dark comedy in the guise of superheroes with Kick-Ass. Linda Cardellini fans irate at the career she should have gotten who can't bear to watch her billed so far below Ellen Page, who basically has the career she should have. Jenna Fischer fans who refuse to watch any movie directed by her ex-husband and starring her onscreen tormentor.
Why I'd See It: Eh. The reviews out of Sundance were actually really strong, but I find Wilson off-putting and I've never warmed to Gunn either. Oh, and I seriously hated Kick-Ass. April 1
Movie: Insidious (James Wan)
High-Concept Synopsis: The director of all those Saw movies puts the torture porn away for a while in favor of a good, old-fashioned haunted-house story. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne play the parents of one seriously disturbed child, and the scares appear to lurk behind every corner.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Suckers for the Poltergeist/Amityville school of horror. People following the good critical buzz out of Toronto. People who like to see happy suburban families terrorized.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who were burned by too many of the Saw movies and now hold an understandable grudge. Or, the other side of the coin, people who really love the Saw movies and are now disappointed to see Wan step out of his wheelhouse.
Why I'd See It: I've heard good things. Very good things. April 1