Friday movie roundup – Oct. 13

I’m not very enthusiastic about any of this week’s new releases, so I don’t expect you to be, either. Let’s run them down quickly and never speak of them again, shall we?

The biggest release (at least in terms of number of theaters) is “The Grudge 2,” the sequel to the 2004 hit, which was itself a remake of a Japanese film. The original Japanese film spawned a sequel, too, but this is not a remake of it, because the Japanese sequel had a completely different story from this one. Although I don’t know how different it could have been, considering all of these movies focus exclusively on Japanese ghosts who pop up unexpectedly and frighten you. I mean, there’s only so much you can do with that.

“The Grudge 2” wasn’t screened until last night at 10 p.m., thus ensuring there would be no reviews in the papers today. If you’re a savvy moviegoer and/or a regular reader of this Web site, you know what that means: It blows, and the studio knows it.

The screening was populated almost entirely by teenagers, so the theater was perpetually aglow from the light of their cell phones. I submit that any text message sent to a teenager is, by definition, not urgent enough to require being read during a movie. If the message were urgent, it would have been sent to a grown-up.

Anyway, speaking of things that blow, next up is “Man of the Year,” a lame, toothless comedy starring Robin Williams as a Jon Stewart-esque comedian who gets elected president. The fundamental problem with the film is that its main character is supposed to be hilariously funny, yet every example of his humor that is shown to us is, in fact, NOT FUNNY. Note to people who make movies: If you want them to be funny, you should not let Robin Williams write his own material.

This one screened a few weeks ago — very early, for some reason — and I remember two things about it. One, the only people in the theater who laughed at Williams’ bland brand of humor were old people. Two, Mike Russell, Dawn Taylor and I got shushed for laughing too much at Christopher Walken. The problem, you see, is that we think everything he says is funny; ergo, every time he spoke, we laughed. Hey, sometimes you gotta make your own fun. At least we weren’t checking our G.D. text messages.

The other wide release today is “The Marine,” in which WWE star John Cena plays, um, a Marine, I guess. I quote from the trailer: “Meet a one-man strike force that never surrenders!” If you’re wondering why that line sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve heard it in every action-movie trailer ever made. Anyway, Cena’s wife gets kidnapped and he has to rescue her, or something. Twentieth Century Fox didn’t screen it at all, not even last night at 10 p.m., so you know it’s extra-special. I’m guessing it will appeal most to fans of professional wrestling, which means if you can read this, you’re probably not interested. KA-ZING!

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