This week at the movies, we’ve got a supernatural quest (Race to Witch Mountain, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and AnnaSophia Robb), a vengeance thriller ( Last House on the Left, starring Sara Paxton and Garret Dillahunt), and playmate pratfalls (Miss March starring Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore). What do the critics have to say?
Race to Witch Mountain finds Disney attempting to resurrect a franchise that delivered some sizable hits for the studio in the 1970s. However, critics say the reboot is only sporadically successful, despite the best efforts of a talented cast. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as an ex-con cabbie who picks up two teens with supernatural powers; together, they attempt to elude government officials and ominous forces. The pundits say the cast is just fine, especially the Rock, who mixes toughness and good humor with panache. But the rest of the film is alternately too noisy and not exciting enough to maintain interest throughout. (Check out star Carla Gugino‘s five favorite films, and our rundown of the finest live-action Disney films.)
Wes Craven‘s original The Last House on the Left was a horror movie touchstone, a film so violent in its time that even its poster had to reassure audience members that it was only a movie. Critics say the remake (which Craven produced) is stylishly crafted and effective in spots, but it misses the spirit of the original by miles, lacking Craven’s bleak artistry and his sense of social commentary. Sara Paxton stars as a young woman who is brutally attacked by a prison escapee and his flunkies. She flees to the supposed safety of her house, but when her parents discover that they’re harboring the very thugs who attacked their daughter, they exact their own brand of revenge. The pundits say the film is better-made than most, but it’s ultimately pretty generic, substituting the dark subtleties of Craven’s landmark film with oodles of gratuitous gore.
Unless your taste runs toward the bottom-of-the-barrel lowest common denominator, the critics say you may want to scratch Miss March off your calendar. The film stars Zach Cregger (who also directed with co-star Trevor Moore, both part of the the Whitest Kids U’ Know comedy troupe) as a young man who awakens from a coma to discover his once-chaste high school significant other is now a Playboy centerfold. The pundits say Miss March is crass, unfunny, and poorly made, a gross-out comedy with little beyond scene-stealer Craig Robinson to recommend it.
Also opening this week in limited release: