Film Friday: ‘My Bloody Valentine 3D’ & ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’

by W. Andrew Powell

Get ready to duck and wince at three dimensional gore with this week’s release of the remake My Bloody Valentine 3D. Plus, Kevin James is a good guy with a mission in the comedy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop; Defiance stars Daniel Craig as a Russian fighting the Nazis in World War II; and lots more.

My Bloody Valentine 3D
According to the trailer for My Bloody Valentine 3D, “Nothing says date movie, like a 3D ride to Hell.” While I’m not prepared to justify that claim, I have to admit, a slick horror film is a lot of fun, date or not, and this is looking like one of those good, old fashioned, bloody enjoyable movies.

Based on the 1981 horror classic of the same name, My Bloody Valentine 3D takes place in the small town of Harmony, where ten years ago a mine accident killed five people and left Harry Warden in a coma. A year later, Harry awoke and killed 22 people before he was taken down.

Now, the man responsible for the accident is back in Harmony, and so is a killer. Wearing a mining mask and wielding a pickaxe, the town can only wonder if the Harry is back for revenge, or what is really going on.

Devin Faraci of CHUD called My Bloody Valentine “an in-your-face bit of bloody fun that’s guaranteed to thrill those looking for a gory good time.” Just make sure to catch the 3D presentation of the film for extra fun.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Call me a skeptic, but I find Kevin James only mildly amusing at the best of times, which makes the appeal of a film starring James a bit sketchy in my mind.

As the title suggests, James plays mall security guard Paul Blart, a wannabe action hero who really hates crime. So, when Santa’s helpers go on a crime spree in the mall, and take Paul’s family hostage, it’s up to this one security guard to save the day.

Reviews have been decidedly negative, with Brian Lowry of Variety calling Paul Blart: Mall Cop “an almost shockingly amateurish one-note-joke comedy on which the star also shares writing and producing credit.”

However, esteemed film critic Roger Ebert had a surprisingly positive review of the film, which noted Paul Blart: Mall Cop has a unique angle on the whole crazy comedy routine.

“Paul Blart: Mall Cop isn’t ‘wholesome’ as a code word for ‘boring’ It’s as slam-bang preposterous as any R-rated comedy you can name. It’s just that Paul Blart and the film’s other characters don’t feel the need to use the f-word as the building block of every sentence.”

Depending on who you want to believe, you might enjoy Mall Cop, but it’s safe to say that if you’re like me and find Kevin James questionably amusing, you can probably find more amusement elsewhere.

Also opening this week…

Taking a different slant to what we normally see in World War II movies, Defiance is an action-driven drama about a group of Jewish refugees fighting the Germans in Eastern Europe.

Based very loosely on a true story, the film was directed by Edward Zwick, who is known most recently for his work on the film Blood Diamond, and stars Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell as three Russian brothers protecting their outcast community from the Nazis.

The trio are put to the test when winter arrives, making food scarce for the group. They then must decide what to do next: hunker down for the winter, or join the Russian resistance and fight the Nazis head on.

Although the film was nominated for a Golden Globe, reviews have been mixed for Defiance. As Owen Gleiberman wrote for Entertainment Weekly, “Defiance bogs down in a not very well-developed script. It’s a repetitive stop-and-start action film, and Tuvia and Zus don’t have enough layers. But they do kick ass charismatically.”

Jamal Woolard stars in this biopic as famed rapper Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G. With a strong supporting cast, and a by-the-numbers screenplay, punctuated by B.I.G.’s hits, the film is sure to play out well for rap fans, or anyone who loves an interesting life story.

Like Defiance though, reviews are also quite mixed. John Anderson of Variety called Notorious, “a rock-solid biopic with a foolproof rise-and-fall storyline and a warmly nuanced performance by Jamal Woolard.”

Meanwhile, David Fear of Time Out New York was less impressed. “Notorious delivers nothing but clumsy filmmaking and a greatest-hits checklist, without offering insight into the man or his myth.”

Last Chance Harvey
In this romantic drama, Dustin Hoffman is Harvey Shine, a jingle-writer at the end of his rope, running off to his daughter’s wedding to make amends for never being there as she grew up. When he misses a flight home, however, Harvey is fired, and seeks solace in the airport bar where he meets Kate, played by Emma Thompson.

Sharing their life-long sob stores, the two hit it off and look for a way to get beyond their own issues and find something new with each other.

While the film has received decent reviews, many are quick to note that the film is enjoyable, but not particularly groundbreaking. As Manohla Dargis of the New York Times wrote, “There’s something irresistible about watching two people fall in love, even in contrived, sniffle- and sometimes gag-inducing films like Last Chance Harvey.”

Hotel for Dogs
Last of all, Emma Roberts stars in this light comedy about two recently adopted orphans who secretly turn an empty hotel into, you guessed it, a dog rescue.

Don’t expect too much from this simple film, but there are some moments worth watching, especially for younger or family audiences.

“The dogs in Hotel For Dogs perform breathtaking stunts, touching love scenes, heart-breaking soliloquies with their eyes and clever, clever tricks,” wrote Kirk Honeycutt for the Hollywood Reporter. “The human actors get upstaged at every turn.”

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