The Harbinger Online

Director’s Cut: Spring Movie Preview

Clash of the Titans – 4/2

Get ready for some godly grandeur, because this remake updates the Greek myth of Perseus from the cheesy-looking creatures in the 1981 original to extravagant, magnificent CGI monsters. Sure, the story concerns Zeus’s mortal son Perseus (“Avatar” star Sam Worthington) on an epic quest to stop Hades and his minions from gaining control of Earth and the heavens, but it’s really just about delivering some sweet “Lord of the Rings” meets “300”-styled action. Loaded with spectacle and showing in 3D, I am personally psyched for this, and anyone whose Greek mythology fix was left unfulfilled by “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” should be too.

Kick-Ass – 4/16

With a title like “Kick-Ass,” it’s a guarantee that this is going to be one cool flick. A comic book adaption with a humorous and enthusiastically violent take on the superhero story, the film follows a nerdy teenager who decides to become a crime-fighting superhero, eventually joining several others to take down a local mafioso’s empire. His fellow masked vigilantes include Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin’) as a spazzy fighter, and a wild Nicolas Cage as a Batman with firearms alongside his acrobatic, ninja warrior of a young daughter. A breath of fresh air in the superhero genre, “Kick-Ass” is sure to be the most purely entertaining, riotous blend of action and comedy in the coming months.

The Losers – 4/23

At first glance, the title of this action caper may seem like a reflection on the movie. Another adaptation from a comic book series that you’ve probably hereunto never heard of, “The Losers” follows a black ops team that, after being betrayed and left for dead by their employer, survive and go on the hunt to take vengeance on those responsible. So far it looks like little more than “RocknRolla” meets “Smokin’ Aces,” but with a game cast including Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen”) and Zoe Saldana (“Star Trek”), this may just be the piece of somewhat derivative thrills that adds enough originality to prove perfect popcorn entertainment. Here’s hoping this one’s a winner.

A Nightmare on Elm Street – 4/30

Hollywood loves horror remakes, and with a gratifying reimagining of “Friday the 13th” last year, it’s only fitting that Freddy Krueger receives the same sort of treatment Jason Vorhees was given. However, this remake is luckily set apart from others in the slasher genre by the fascinating, ultra-creepy actor playing the classic killer — Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach from “Watchmen”). The original helped to revitalize horror in the ’80s with its unique killer, who stalks and murders his victims in their dreams. With Haley as Freddy, this could quite likely be the best and scariest entry in the series since the first one. Just don’t expect to sleep very well afterwards.

I Love You Philip Morris – 4/30

Oh how I’ve missed Jim Carrey’s daring side. His last couple of movies have been very tame fare, and his most recent foray into more sophisticated territory, “The Number 23,” didn’t turn out so well. But with “I Love You Philip Morris,” a dark comedy written and directed by the writers of the uproariously mean “Bad Santa,” he returns to higher-brow work. Here it’s as an eccentric gay con man who, after being caught and sent to prison, falls in love with fellow inmate Philip Morris (Ewan McGregor), then does everything possible to get Phillip and himself out and back to conning. This true story isn’t mainstream comedy, but I’m betting it’ll be one of the year’s critics’ darlings.

Iron Man 2 – 5/7

Look out, here comes Marvel’s new moneymaker. Robert Downey Jr. returns to the role that revived his career, as billionaire Tony Stark/superhero Iron Man, in this highly anticipated sequel that I’m positive will surpass the first one with more wit, more action and a much more intimidating bad guy. This time around Iron Man faces new foes (chiefly Mickey Rourke as a deliciously sinister Russian supervillian) and teams with new friends (Don Cheadle as War Machine, in a metal combat suit similar to Iron Man) in the blockbuster blast of the season. It’s assured to smash the box office even more successfully than the first film, and is the safest bet on this list for any moviegoer.

Robin Hood – 5/14

No, this isn’t a sequel to “Gladiator,” but it is Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott’s fifth collaboration together, and certainly looks like said masterpiece meets the epic “Braveheart.” This time Crowe plays legendary hero Robin Hood as he transforms from a regular soldier into the prince of thieves in this new, much more thrilling and doubtlessly more intense telling of the classic tale. Glorious medieval battles, breathtaking backdrops and absolutely stunning slow-mo sequences await. Scott is one of the industry’s most talented directors, and with Crowe as the bad-ass archer, this will provide one hell of a ride, most likely even besting Scott’s last medieval effort, “Kingdom of Heaven.”

MacGruber – 5/21

Was anyone really asking for a film based off the recurring SNL skits that parody “MacGyver?” I sure wasn’t, but alongside Will Forte and Kristen Wiig from the sketches, Val Kilmer and Ryan Phillippe round out the cast, and give this explosive comedy a surprising chance at actually being worth seeing. Vastly expanding from the plotless skits, in the movie the clueless ex-operative MacGruber returns to duty, working to stop his nemesis from blowing up Washington, D.C. with a nuclear warhead. Obviously the jokes aren’t going to be very intelligent, but even so, “MacGruber” looks like a lot of dumb fun and very well may be the best SNL film since “Wayne’s World.”

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – 5/28

Is Jake Gyllenhaal the next Johhny Depp? The usually serious actor takes an exciting, Jack Sparrow-like role in this large-scale, special effects-laden video game adaptation, which is becoming Disney’s fantasy action-adventure successor to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. Gyllenhaal plays a prince in medieval Persia who, after discovering a dagger that can control time, must take it back to its resting place before its power can be unleashed to destroy the world. The game was quite engaging and unique in its day, and the movie not only looks much more awesome than it, but is expected to be one of the virtually non-existent good film versions of a video game.

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Alex Lamb

Alex Lamb joined Harbinger his freshman year and became East's resident film critic. He also worked his way up from being a videographer on the Harbinger Online during its rebirth in 2009 to the convergence editor his senior year. He graduated in 2012 and still writes movie reviews, only now at the University of Kansas, where he is double majoring in Film and Media Studies and Journalism. He plans to become a movie director. Read Full »

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