Weekend Openings (July 22-24)


This Comic-Con weekend marks the last comic book superhero film of 2011, and the second commitment-free sex comedy of the summer:

Guess who's busting into cinemas this weekend?Continuing Marvel Studios’ attempt to build up to The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, a brave but puny young man who is selected for the U.S. Army’s super soldier program.  Armed with newfound physical strength and his trademark shield, Captain America battles the evil Nazi commander Red Skull over a mysterious artifact.  The reviews for this film are decent, but not enough for me to break my ban on superhero films; although critics are mostly relieved to find a genuinely wholesome, nostalgic superhero epic, many also claim that the film is a rather generic, obligatory set-up for The Avengers (God!  Think of all the wasted time and effort if THAT film ends up being a failure!).  The big problem for our star-spangled hero is Harry Potter, as the latter film shows no significant signs of slowing down its box office dominance and will probably barely hold on to the top spot this weekend.  Still, this should bring in about $50-60 million in its opening weekend.

Also opening this weekend, a hotshot actor and the actress from Black Swan star in a comedy about two people who decide to add casual sex to their friendship, but can’t anticipate the complications that ensue.  I am of course referring to No Strings Attached Friends With Benefits.  Ahem…I am obviously not the first or the smartest critic to notice that the two films have basically the same premise, so how does this latter one distinguish itself?  Why, you get the Marine Corps to help out!  Yep, it appears as though Kunis and Timberlake’s little stunt of going to the Marine Corps Ball has boosted the visibility of this otherwise non-entity of a film, and has given nice publicity from those who may want to opt out of sci-fi/fantasy spectacles.  $17-22 million by Sunday.

I wonder if my alternate self can balance their checkbook? In limited release, Mike Cahill makes his feature debut with the science fiction drama Another Earth.  A young student and a widowed composer come together in the wake of a tragic accident, and contemplate the implications of a recently discovered duplicate planet in our solar system.  If that sounds like a strange premise, you’re not alone.  Nearly every critic appears to admire the film’s lofty ambitions, but the consensus seems to be that it bites off a little more than it can chew.

Fans of The Office may want to look out for A Little Help, starring the adorable Jenna Fischer as a woman who becomes embroiled in a web of lies after her husband suddenly dies of arrhythmia.  Actually, fans of Fischer may be the only audience for this film, as most critics report being turned off by its inability to effectively navigate between humor and tragedy despite her shrewd performance.

Finally in limited release, Kristen Scott Thomas stars in Sarah’s Key as a journalist who investigates a mystery involving a young Jewish girl whose life was torn apart by the notorious Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup.  Reviews describe this film as having essentially two separate stories, and unfortunately, nearly all of them agree that only one of them is truly compelling.

Will you be seeing any of these films, or do you still have Potter fever?  Let us know right here on The Awards Circuit!