Film Friday: ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ & ‘Haunting in Connecticut’

by W. Andrew Powell

Monsters Vs. Aliens

A scene from Monsters Vs. Aliens

Blockbuster season is edging closer, but before it kicks off in earnest we’re getting a mild jump start with one of the first in a hand full of 3-D movies coming out this year, Monsters vs. Aliens. Aside from that family-friendly title, other new releases include the horror film The Haunting in Connecticut, and the action-thriller, 12 Rounds.

Monsters vs. Aliens (IMAX)
The battle of the B-movie creatures is on, and it’s coming to IMAX 3-D this weekend with the release of Dreamworks Animation’s Monsters vs. Aliens.

Voiced by the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, and Seth Rogen, the animated adventure has a small group of Earth’s monsters coming to humanity’s rescue when aliens arrive to take over the planet.

With more than a few winks and nudges for parents, who will surely recall some of the films being lampooned in Monsters vs. Aliens, this is a definite kids movie, complete with random juvenile humour.

“Children won’t get the references to atomic-age monster movies,” Andrea Gronvall wrote for the Chicago Reader, “but the film offers more than nostalgia: there are slyly funny performances by Seth Rogen as an omnivorous blue blob and Stephen Colbert as the U.S. president.”

Reviews are not all glowing, but the film offers more than enough laughs to make this one of the big releases for the next month. It’s also safe to say this will be one of the biggest grossing films for the entire year, based on family appeal and the mix of fairly positive reviews.

As aside, it is worth mentioning that famed Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert was not blown away by Monsters vs. Aliens, but a lot of his complaints revolve around the gimmicky nature of 3-D.

“3-D is a distraction and an annoyance,” Ebert wrote, adding “it’s a constant nudge in the ribs saying never mind the story, just see how neat I look.”

The Haunting in Connecticut
There is something very amusing about a horror film that is, apparently, “based on a chilling true story.”

According to Lionsgate Entertainment, The Haunting in Connecticut is just such a tale, retelling the “terrifying” story of the Campbell family who discover that their new Connecticut home was once a horrifying funeral parlour, where the owner’s son Jonah channelled dark forces, who were trying to enter our world.

Now, with the Campbell’s young son undergoing cancer treatment in the house, Jonah returns to terrorize the family.

Whether the claims are true, or not, critics have been less than impressed by the terrible film, which is getting solidly awful reviews.

“About as scary as a shower that suddenly changes temperature when someone flushes the toilet,” wrote Scott Foundas for the Village Voice. While Kurt Loder of MTV called it “A simple haunted-house flick, pure and silly.”

12 Rounds
Lastly this week, wrestling star John Cena stars in this action-thriller about New Orleans Police Detective Danny Baxter, who mistakenly kills a fiendish thief’s girlfriend during a huge heist.

With thoughts of revenge on his mind, the thief escapes from prison and submits our hero to an endless series of puzzles that will test his skills, and put the life of someone he loves in danger.

While I am all for action movies, the first hint of wrestling stars and rehashed plots (I’m thinking Die Hard, all the way) leaves me feeling like your movie money might be better spent elsewhere.

Since the film is not getting a wide release in all theatres, it is a bit hard to gauge critical reaction for the film though. It certainly is not getting very good reviews from the few critics who have seen it. That said, if you really want a little action this week, 12 Rounds is surely a better bet at the box office than any of the other new releases.

New releases for April 3:
Fast & Furious

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