Opening Wide This Weekend: Friday The 13th, The International, Shopaholic

by | February 13, 2009 at 11:24 PM | The Movies


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Friday the 13th
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Jason Voorhees terrorized teenagers throughout the 1980s by viciously murdering teenagers in all sorts of interesting and sickening ways. He was a young deformed boy mistreated at Camp Crystal Lake and left to drown, and his mother sought bloody vengeance against the negligent caretakers. The boy then carried on her crusade against hedonistic co-eds – although he’d grown into a hulking, powerful man-monster who hid his face but brandished a machete ruthlessly against trespassers. After ten films and a crossover where he squared off against Freddy Krueger, it’s time for a reinvention. Yet this reboot of the franchise could easily be mistaken for a chapter in the old series, if not for its updated technology and hairstyles. Jason’s superhuman powers have been scaled back, but he’s still a masked man in the woods killing naked women and their douchebag boyfriends. That’s all you should expect, and that’s all you’ll get. Go for it if you dig the splatterhouse vibe.


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The International
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In what is at times a compelling action thriller and at times a lesson in global economic conspiracy theory, we get Clive Owen as a relentless Interpol crusader trying to put a stop to the corruption inherent in the International Bank of Business and Credit, a Luxembourg-based company that’s become the favored bank for organized crime and terrorists all over the world. This bank has everyone who moves against it killed, which continually hampers his legal efforts, even though he’s got an American colleague in Naomi Watts backing him up. This makes him desperate enough, especially with Armin Mueller-Stahl’s urging, to go outside the law and throw his life under the bus to get the job done. The film spices up its very dry, procedural nature with the occasional assassination, vehicular manslaughter and a very spiffy extended shootout sequence at the Guggenheim. When he gets too close to dirty bank business, apparently a massive machine-gun toting goon squad causing a bloodbath at a national landmark is the most discreet way to get rid of an employee they don’t need anymore. Of the three wide releases this weekend, this is your best bet, but drink some coffee first to fight the occasional drag.


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Confessions of a Shopaholic
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Isla Fisher sets forth on her campaign to get people to stop mistaking her for Amy Adams with this fluffy girlie-girl story about Rebecca Bloomwood, an aspiring fashionista who can’t control her impulse buying of ridiculously expensive and just-plain-ridiculous clothing. The habit is so far out of control that it eventually destroys her life – but in a cheerful rom-com still-gets-to-make-out-with-Hugh-Dancy kind of way. Desperate for money when she loses her job, she haphazardly lands a gig at a financial magazine and somehow becomes a sensation by comparing every economic concept to shoes. For some reason, the sharp anti-corruption crusader journalist Luke Brandon (Dancy) isn’t sharp enough to see through her malarkey and eventually gets all up on her. She spends most of the film being a vapid liar, but the fact that someone as bubbly and eager as Suze (Krysten Ritter) deigns to be her best friend helps us believe there’s something pleasant about her. The main laughs in this otherwise tepid flick come from John Goodman and Joan Cusack as her bit-part down-to-earth parents, Kristin Scott Thomas slumming it as the snooty French fashion mag editor for whom Rebecca dreams of working, and people like Ed Helms, Julie Hagerty, Lynn Redgrave, Wendie Malick and Fred Armisen showing up randomly to try and stack the comedy deck. However, this doesn’t quite manage to offset the annoying tendencies of the main character – which shouldn’t be blamed on Fisher, necessarily, but rather the tough sell of trying to make an audience in this economy sympathetic to an idiot who can’t stop maxing out credit cards to buy ugly-ass boots.

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