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This Week's Movie Buzz: See It, Rent It, Or Skip It?

April 20th, 2009 9:44am EDT | Evan Crean By: Evan Crean
The SoloistThis week is fairly busy at the box office, with seven movies arriving. Four of them are general release, while the other three are limited release. I will be going over "Obsessed," "Earth," "Fighting," "The Soloist," "Tyson," "Mutant Chronicles," and "The Informers."

Successful asset manager Derek Charles (Idris Elba) has everything a man could want. He just received a promotion at work and he has a happy marriage, but when an obsessed temp in his office (Ali Larter) starts stalking him, his picture-perfect life is placed in serious danger.

"Obsessed" is the first feature film for director Steve Shill, who has extensive experience directing in television especially, shows on HBO and Showtime. Beyonce Knowles takes a break from musically themed movies to play Derek's wife in this thriller.




SEE IT, RENT IT, OR SKIP IT? : Skip it. The movie looks incredibly generic and bland for a thriller. Cheesy music in the trailer overdramatizes the movie; not to mention there are bad lines and even worse acting.

EARTH
Based on the TV show "Planet Earth," this documentary follows the migration paths of four animal families. Some of the footage included in the film was taken while shooting the television series.

"Earth" is directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, the men behind "Planet Earth." The UK version of the film is narrated by Patrick Stewart, while the American version of the film is recited by renowned voice actor James Earl Jones.




SEE IT, RENT IT, OR SKIP IT? : See it or skip it. The G-rating makes this a movie parents can take their kids to see. In keeping with the show's aesthetic, "Earth" should promise epic visuals that will have the greatest impact on the big screen. If you wait to see it on the small screen, the documentary might not be as exciting. Skip this movie however, if you're not into nature documentaries.


Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) lives in New York City with next to nothing, selling counterfeit goods to get by. His fortune changes after he meets con man Harvey Boarden (Terrance Howard), who sees he has a natural ability for street fighting.

As his manager, Harvey introduces Shawn to the underground bare knuckle circuit, where rich men bet on expendable fighters. Shawn finds he's able to take down martial artists and professional boxers, but his most challenging fight will be trying to escape this corrupt world.

In his second Hollywood film, native New Yorker Dito Montiel, who wrote and directed "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," lends his talent to writing and directing "Fighting."




SEE IT, RENT IT, OR SKIP IT? : Rent it. While the movie seems like it has some solid action, the story doesn't seem very elaborate and the characters do not appear to have much depth. Overall all it seems like another effort to appeal to the growing popularity in American culture of mixed martial arts stemming from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In this film which is based on a true story, Los Angeles reporter Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) befriends Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a gifted but troubled musician. A onetime Julliard student, Ayers now lives in poverty. Through a series of articles, Lopez shines a spotlight on Nathaniel's remarkable story, while Nathaniel still dreams of performing in the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Joe Wright, the visionary behind "Atonement" and "Pride and Prejudice," directs "The Soloist." Catherine Keener ("Hamlet 2") co-stars as Mary Weston, Steve Lopez's editor at the Los Angeles Times.




SEE IT, RENT IT, OR SKIP IT? : See it. This movie looks like a touching story about friendship and making a positive impact in the lives of others. Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. are both superb actors that usually give amazing performances, so they shouldn't disappoint viewers.

An assortment of interviews, archival footage, and photographs reveal greater detail about the life of boxing legend Mike Tyson. This documentary goes from Tyson's memories about growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, through his entry into the world of boxing, to his rise and fall from fame and fortune.

The writer and director of "Tyson," James Toback has directed nine films, the most recent of which was his "When Will I Be Loved." "Tyson" is his first documentary in over a decade; Toback has not directed one since his 1989 effort "The Big Bang."




SEE IT, RENT IT, OR SKIP IT? : Rent it. "Tyson" seems to paint an honest, yet more sympathetic picture of Mike Tyson and his career. Despite showing the man in a more positive light, there's no reason to rush out and see this one in theaters. The limited release of the documentary is just another reason to wait to see this film at home.

Set in the year 2707, war rages on between the Earth's major companies over the planet's diminishing resources. An ancient buried seal is accidentally shattered, releasing a terrible mutant army. As the mutants threaten human existence, a single squad of soldiers comes down to Earth to fulfill the prophecy of the Mutant Chronicles and save mankind.

After directing the 2000 horror film "Lighthouse," "Mutant Chronicles" is Simon Hunter's second time in the director's chair. The film stars Thomas Jane ("The Mist") as well as Ron Perlman ("Hellboy 2").

Watch "The Descent: Part 2 - Clip - Keep Quiet"




SEE IT, RENT IT, OR SKIP IT? : Skip it. With stylized visuals similar to most recent comic book movies, "Mutant Chronicles" does not seem like it has anything new or interesting to say. The film has a limited release which will make it hard to find, and so far it has received dismal reviews from critics. Christopher Tookey of the Daily Mail says, "This is a gruesome film, even by modern standards. It is also utterly devoid of a point, or interesting ideas."

This film is a multi-strand narrative focusing on characters in the early 80s from all walks of life: a Hollywood dream merchant, a depraved rock star, an aging newscaster, a voyeuristic doorman, and an amoral ex-con. Connecting the strands is a group of good looking young people who sleep all day and party all night, doing drugs and having sex with reckless abandon.

Bret Easton Ellis, the man who wrote the novel on which the movie is based, also adapted it for the big screen. Gregor Jordan, whose most recent movie was 2003's "Ned Kelly," directs "The Informers." Several big name actors appear in the film, including Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, and Mickey Rourke.




SEE IT, RENT IT, OR SKIP IT? : Rent it. Despite receiving largely negative reviews from critics, this movie could still be worth renting. Its dark, gritty style is intriguing and seems quite reminiscent of the 1980s. From the trailer it appears as if Billy Bob Thornton, Winona Ryder, Kim Basinger, and Mickey Rourke all give great performances in their roles.

Evan Crean
Story by Starpulse contributing writer Evan Crean, a movie trivia guru and trailer addict with a practically photographic memory of actors and directors. Get a first look at the movies premiering each week, which which ones will be worth your $10, which ones you should wait to rent and which ones aren't worth your time.


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