What, is there a better way to celebrate our nation’s independence over this July 4th weekend than by spending some time inside a movie theater? Three films hope to win your hard-earned money, but, if none of them get your juices flowing, you can always see Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen again. As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.
What’s the story: The last time Michael Mann directed a summer blockbuster, the result was the hit-and-miss Miami Vice, a movie that still plays best with the sound on mute. Here’s hoping Public Enemies fares a bit better. Johnny Depp (a.k.a. The Second Biggest Movie Star on Earth—when did that happen?) plays John Dillinger, who, when he isn’t making goo-goo eyes at his girlfriend (summer breakout candidate Marion Cotillard), tries to stay one step ahead of the F.B.I. agent tasked with bringing him to justice (Christian Bale, still growling). As is usually the case when dealing with a Michael Mann film, the reviews have been split fairly evenly between praise and scorn. But, there is good news: Our own Rex Reed, he of notoriously high standards, flat-out loved Public Enemies, calling it “one glamorous, glorious, gun-blazing whale of an entertainment.” Sign us up.
Who should see it: Colin Farrell.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
What’s the story: The beloved-but-under-the-radar super-franchise returns for a third movie with a formula sure to make every kid (and every kid-at-heart) beam with anticipation: Familiar characters (The Wooly Mammoth! That hilarious squirrel!) + Dinosaurs (x) 3-D glasses = Sold-Out Showings. With a $14 million opening on Wednesday, expect this to make megabank over the holiday.
Who should see it: The guys and gals at Pixar. (It’s always good to check in on the competition.)
I Hate Valentine’s Day
What’s the story: It’s not shaping up to be a good summer for Nia Vardalos. First, there was My Life in Ruins, which is currently rocking a 12 percent Fresh rating over at Rotten Tomatoes; and now, here comes the poorly scheduled I Hate Valentine’s Day. (Nothing says July 4th like a movie that takes place in February!) Ms. Vardalos wrote, directed and stars in this romantic comedy as—wait for it—a woman who hates relationships but has her theory on love questioned when she falls for a dreamy restaurateur, played by John Corbett. If you fell asleep reading that plot synopsis, you are not alone.
Who should see it: People who thought The Proposal was too cutting edge.