Friday movie roundup – March 23

As someone who likes being on top of things and having work done on time and converting the chaos around me into neat, manageable boxes, I am very frustrated at how things developed this week. There are SIX new films opening in wide release today — the usual number is about three — and I only have a review of one of them.

But it’s not entirely my fault! “The Hills Have Eyes II” didn’t screen for critics, no doubt due to it being sucky. “Shooter” screened, but while I was out of town (and the same night as “Premonition,” so even if I’d been here, I couldn’t have seen them both). “TMNT” and “The Last Mimzy” both screened last weekend, when I was still traveling. And I don’t know what happened with “Pride.” Sort of fell through the cracks. That happens when there are six G.D. movies opening at the same time.

The one I do have a review of is “Reign Over Me,” a not-very-good dramedy starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. I saw it at South by Southwest last week, and wrote about the experience at the time.

For the other films, here’s the rundown, copied from this week’s “In the Dark” e-zine:

“THE HILLS HAVE EYES II” (1 hr., 29 min.; rated R for prolonged sequences of strong gruesome horror violence and gore, a rape and language) is a sequel to last year’s remake in which grotesquely mutated humans commit acts of violence against stranded travelers in the Southwestern desert. This time around, it’s National Guard trainees who are the victims. Another change: This time, 20th Century Fox declined showing it to critics before it opened. Is it possible that a sequel to a remake of a gruesome horror flick isn’t very good?! Hard to believe, but here it is, one of HOLLYWOOD’S SHAMEFUL SECRETS.

“TMNT” (1 hr., 30 min.; rated PG for animated action violence, some scary cartoon images and mild language) might also be known by its full title, “TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.” It’s an animated film that either sequelizes or restarts the “TMNT” saga of the early ’90s. The point is, if you have TMNT nostalgia, or if you are currently 10 years old and a boy, it’s probably for you.

“SHOOTER” (2 hrs., 4 min.; rated R for strong graphic violence and some language) stars Mark Wahlberg as a retired military sniper who is framed for the attempted assassination of the U.S. president and must go on the run while proving his innocence. It’s directed by Antoine Fuqua, of “Training Day” fame.

“THE LAST MIMZY” (1 hr., 34 min.; rated PG for some thematic elements, mild peril and language) is a children’s film about two kids who finds toys that help them see the future, or some such. Honestly, the trailer confuses me, and a cursory glance at the plot description online shows it bears little resemblance to the 1943 short story it’s allegedly based on (“Mimsy Were the Borogoves,” by Lewis Padgett).

“PRIDE” (1 hr., 44 min.; rated PG for thematic material, language including some racial epithets, and violence) is an Inspiring Sports Drama(TM) that is Based on a True Story(TM). Swimming is the sport this time, and Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac are among the grown-ups who inspire the underprivileged young men on to greater heights (or depths, I suppose, since it’s swimming).

The podcast version of “In the Dark” can be heard here or subscribed to via its feed here.