Film Friday: ‘Race to Witch Mountain’ & ‘Miss March’

by W. Andrew Powell

Race to Witch Mountain

Dwayne Johnson and his alien friends in Race to Witch Mountain

Following last week’s debut of Watchmen, moviegoers are faced with a choice: go back and see the superheroes again, or check out one of three potentially lame new movies. Head and shoulders above the rest, Disney launches Race to Witch Mountain starring Dwayne Johnson, which reboots the studio’s popular franchise from the 70s. Or, coming out with some pretty terrible reviews, there’s the teen comedy Miss March, and the horror remake, The Last House on the Left.

Race to Witch Mountain
Disney reboots yet another of their popular franchises from yesteryear with this action adventure starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a taxi driver caught up in the lives of two super powered teens.

AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig co-star as two alien teens, gifted with a veritable unending array of powers, who are trying to escape from a group of menacing people.

This marks the fifth time that a movie has been made under the Witch Mountain title, and perhaps unlike some of Disney’s other reboots, the idea behind this film is actually more of a follow-up to the 1975 original, rather than a complete restart.

Among critics, there is a definite divide as to just how successful Disney was with their latest film, with many lampooning the screenplay, while others praised the scope of the story.

Kyle Smith said in his review for the New York Post that Race to Witch Mountain, “bears all the signs of having been composed by an inferior race of alien screenwriters from the Hackulon System.”

However, Greg Quill of the Toronto Star was quite positive about the film, giving it three out of four stars.

“It’s a fast, funny, frightening and family-friendly movie, an affectionate tribute to the original, and a vintage thrill ride enhanced by modern visual trickery, crazy characters – and a soupçon of skepticism.”

Miss March
Try not to be too shocked, but there’s another teen comedy in theatres this weekend, and it involves a road trip, and a guy chasing after a pretty girl.

In this case the setup is, admittedly, kind of clever. Zach Cregger plays a young guy who, on the night he’s supposed to jump in bed with his high-school sweetheart, gets knocked out and ends up in a coma. Waking up four years later, our young hero discovers that his girlfriend has moved on to become… a Playboy bunny. With the help of his friends, he’ll head off to the Playboy mansion and try to make up for their lost night together.

Not surprisingly, the reviews for Miss March are on par with what we have come to expect from most teen comedies.

“Overall a raggedy, unfocused affair that wastes both directors’ acting talent and feels like too much work between the laughs,” John Anderson wrote for Variety. And he’s not alone with the film getting a mere 11% on

The Last House on the Left
And finally, Wes Craven and Sean Cunningham retool their classic horror film for a new generation of fans, but the results are hardly likely to impress anyone.

In this brutal story of revenge, three men escape from prison, kidnap a teenager and send one girl named Mari, played by Sara Paxton, running for her life, and the help of her family. Eventually, her parents do find out exactly what happened to their daughter, and they will do anything to make sure that these three men pay for what their crimes.

If you ask me, it is kind of sad to see a veteran horror master like Craven trying to revive one of his older films, but there is no question it will take in buckets of cash, no matter how bad it is.

While The Last House on the Left seems to be getting better write-ups than Miss March, there are still a lot of negative reviews, including Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly.

“This remake is merely vile (and dull), with a badly miscast Tony Goldwyn as the raging dad who makes revenge for his daughter’s violation look more gratuitously brutal than the crime.”

Arriving next week, March 20…

I Love You, Man

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