It’s spring! The rebirth of everything green and colorful outdoors, so what is Hollywoodbaiting us with to get us inside a theater this weekend? Well, aside from a temporary respite from those pesky allergies, not much. We’re only a few weeks away from the summer blockbuster season kicking off with Thor on May 6, and it looks like the studios are piling on some mid-range movies that will attempt to prime the box office this year.
First up is Rio, a CGI cartoon about rare birds who take to Rio de Janeiro just in time for Carnival. Voiced by The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg, Blu is one of the last remaining male blue macaws in the world, and after living his entire life in captivity in frigid Moose Lake, Minnesota, is sent down to Rio to hopefully mate with the last remaining females in Jewel (voiced by Anne Hathaway). Aside from a potentially racy sex scene involving two birds, this seems to be typical kid fare, as kidnappers steal the valuable birds, and during their daring escape, it’s revealed that Blu, after living in a cage all his life, never learned how to fly. In what should be a great lesson teaching kids to overcome their fears and stretch their wings, Rio comes off as one of those middling kids movies. With other voices provided by George Lopez, Jamie Foxx and will.i.am, it’s got lots of colors and cute animals to attract the young ones, but probably won’t be a memorable movie years to come.
And the second major movie opening up this weekend, and I put it at second, is Scream 4. The return of the franchise, 11 years after the last one, seems like a fun attempt to return to Woodsboro and delight in the slightly irreverent take on the slasher film genre. However, most people you talk to couldn’t even tell you this movie was coming out this weekend, let alone that they were even coming out with another “Scream.” Returning all of the major players that weren’t killed off in the previous movies, Scream 4 has Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, and bring in fresh blood like Anna Paquin, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts and Kristen Bell, and in an updated critique on modern teen horror movies, bring in the use of social networking, where the “new” Ghostface Killer uses webcams and cell phone video recorders to document his grisly murders. While the first “Scream” film took advantage of the “Dawson Creek” era hyper-aware teen scene of the time, modern teenagers who have been dumbed down by “Jersey Shore” and MTV’s “Teen Mom” just don’t seem to be the same as they used to be. Scream 4 might be a good ‘ol time at the theater, but in the wake of seven Saw films, it just seems a bit tired.