With Battleship in theaters and movies based on Ouija Board, Monopoly and Stretch Armstrong in the works, I figured I'd get a jump start on the movie critics of the future and write these reviews of five inevitable game-to-movie adaptations.
A complicated "spy v. spy" thriller, shot in the frantic style made popular by the Bourne franchise and copied to death ever since, the film is nevertheless a bore. Nicholas Hoult, Daniel Radcliffe and Jaime Bell turn in fine performances as the back-stabbing secret agents on the hunt for a mole in MI6 Radcliffe is particularly good as the silent, seething Agent Yellow but the film is undone by the mindless camera work and wholly unoriginal script. A seasoned movie-goer will be able to spot the ending a mile away.
Don't Wake Daddy
A fun, frightening family horror/adventure flick that simultaneously pays homage to, and updates, the kid-in-peril movies of the 80s and 90s. Produced by Steven Speilberg and J.J. Abrams and directed by the latter, the film focuses on a group of pre-teens mostly Hollywood newcomers who find themselves trapped in a haunted house with nothing but their wits to defend them from the ghoulish landlord. With a few great scares and plenty of laughs, parents who grew up on Gremlins and The Goonies will love this movie as much as or maybe more than their children.
Michel Gondry takes the stereotypical coming-of-age film and shakes it up. Drake Bell stars as a high school senior on the last day of school who discovers that he can erase and restart his last 24 hours as many times as he wants. The film succeeds in areas Gondry is famous for production design and character development but the presence of a reset button deprives the film of any sort of dramatic tension.
This witty romantic comedy from Young Adult writer Diablo Cody may end up at the place we all expect, but enough smart twists and turns keep it interesting. Rooney Mara charms as a wealthy, bed-hopping Manhattan socialite who can't help but throw in her lot with Channing Tatum's simple blue-collar joe. At a brisk 90 minutes, it's quick, frothy fun that goes down easily, but still manages to satisfy.
The Silent Game
There's not really much to say about this Saw mash-up/rip-off. By now, audiences are so used to gratuitous gore and violence that it takes a lot to shock them and the film, from Hostel's Eli Roth, certainly tries. Terry O'Quinn (LOST) hams it up as the vicious baddie who mercilessly tortures his victims and us. A movie like this has a built-in audience, and if you're not familiar with the rules of this game, it's best to just not play.