Movies

Top One Movie of the Week

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Our critics choose from The Back-Up Plan, The Losers, and Océans.

Our two critics pore over the new releases and argue over what to see. In a perpetually crowded field, we’ll help you narrow down your options.

ANDREW: So, full disclosure: I haven’t been following my own advice in this column. My Top One Movie last week was The Secret in Their Eyes… but I wound up spending my popcorn money on the so-so big-budget B-movie Kick-Ass instead. I mention this lapse in the interest of journalistic integrity, and will try to more accurately predict my own viewing habits in the future…starting with this column, where I’m going on record to admit that I may not see any of the week’s thin crop of releases. While I loved Jennifer Lopez as a hot-blooded U.S. Marshal with some very conflicted feelings about George Clooney‘s fugitive bank robber in the Steven Soderbergh/Elmore Leonard classic Out of Sight, the rest of the booty-blessed diva’s film career has been nothing but meh. (With, I suppose, the possible exception of Antz.) And The Back-Up Plan, her latest romantic/artificial insemination comedy, seems unlikely to change my opinion. Or am I being too hard on poor Jenny from the block?

SCOTT: I’m trying to imagine any circumstances under which I’d pay to see The Back-Up Plan, and, lo and behold, the answer is right there in the title. If I were desperate to see a movie and everything else at the theater was sold out, I guess it would be my back-up plan. (That’s probably not what the marketing team had in mind, but hey, if they’re going to serve up fish in a barrel, they ought to be prepared for a few shots.) Sure, it’s a can’t-miss premise — after all, who wouldn’t believe J-Lo would have a hard time finding a man to impregnate her? — but the made-for-TV talent at the helm (Swingtown and Big Love director Alan Poul and Will & Grace and Becker writer Kate Angelo) leads me to believe this is little more than a very special sitcom episode stretched out to feature length. I agree that this week’s pickings are slim, but I think we can safely cross this one off the list. Not that The Losers looks like a much better option, except maybe to those who mistake it for The Expendables, due later this summer. True, it stars The Wire‘s ultimate badass, Idris Elba, and hotter-than-the-sun Zoe Saldana, but is there any reason to hope for more than big fireballs and bad one-liners?

ANDREW: Probably not… but there are plenty of times when explosions and one-liners are all I really need from a movie. Unfortunately, I had my fill of those particular ingredients last week (in pint-sized Hit Girl portions). Though, on a positive note, if I were in the mood for another violent comic-book adaptation, I could probably do worse than The Losers — which may well turn out to be the second most interesting "betrayed wisecracking mercenaries" action flick of 2010, just ahead of Joe Carnahan‘s big, dumb A-Team reboot and just behind Sly Stallone‘s star-studded Expendables (Li! Lundgren! Schwarzenegger?!). And yet, for heartier cinematic nourishment, the only real option among the upcoming new releases is Océans, a lush undersea documentary from the talented Frenchmen who brought us the gorgeous oversea documentary Winged Migration back in 2001. Any chance you’d like to spend 100 minutes contemplating the wonders of the deep this weekend?

SCOTT: I’d love to make a case for Océans (which is, I am reliably informed, a French word meaning "oceans"), but as someone who still has a half-dozen unwatched episodes of Planet Earth sitting on his DVR, I clearly have to be in a particular mood to enjoy nature photography, however stunning. The trailer really is eye-popping, and I’m sure the dulcet narrative tones of Pierce Brosnan would lull me into a state of deep relaxation, but I’d be lying if I said I had any plans to see it this weekend. Of course, the same might be said for all three of this week’s offerings, but since "none of the above" is not an option, I’ll indulge my Zoe Saldana lust and hope that director Sylvain White has more to offer than he’s shown in his previous outings, Stomp the Yard and, uh, I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. The Losers is my winner, if only by default.

ANDREW: Yeesh… well, I know I won’t be seeing The Losers, and I’m tempted to simply abstain by casting a protest vote for Ralph Nader (although, to be honest, that didn’t work out so hot the last time I tried it). But given that my parents are coming into town this weekend for Dad’s birthday, and given that Human Centipede doesn’t open until next week, I suppose there’s a chance that Océans may conceivably fit in with my scheduled family bonding time… as long as co-directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud don’t show any cute animals in peril. (Seriously, my wife made it about twenty minutes into March of the Penguins. As soon as Pierce Brosnan switches to his serious voice and says, "But nature can also be cruel…", it’s game over, man.)

SCOTT’S TOP ONE MOVIE OF THE WEEK: The Losers

ANDREW’S TOP ONE MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Océans

The Top One Movie of the Week: Kick-Ass, Death at a Funeral, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Perfect Game, The Secret in Their Eyes, and The Joneses.
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