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Media : That’s a wrap 

The low-down on this week’s premieres

Another week, another animated kids’ flick, another studio gets another crack at creating 3-D “people” that look just the slightest bit less like horrifying, bloodless ghoulie-pod-creatures than the last batch. Warner Bros.’s The Ant Bully plies the old “get-a-buncha-famous-folks-and-plaster-their-names-across-the-poster” model to draw in parents, as well as the “kids-like-looking-at-brightly-colored-things” philosophy to nab the little’uns. Also, I suppose there’re only so many ways to draw 3-D ants, but seriously, don’t these look like spitting images of the protagonists in Antz? (Alternate solution: Pick another effing bug. Three ant-centric animated flicks in under a decade? Really? Need we be that disproportionate in our specific insect endorsement, as a nation?) Featuring the blazing vocal pyrotechnics of Nicholas Cage and Julia Roberts. (Then again: Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep, and Bruce Campbell might be enough to earn this one a second thought.)

John Tucker Must Die concerns itself with a polyamorous king-of-the-high-school-type fellow (the eponymous Mr. Tucker, played by some dude who looks suspiciously like Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and three of his scorned ex-girlfriends, who try to trick him into falling in love with the “new girl” so they can watch him get hurt ... Boooring. Wake me up when they re-do this as James Bond Must Die, with the super-spy holed up in a Spanish villa somewhere as several generations of cat-suited, heavily armed, prodigiously pissed international lady-assassins come out of the woodwork to exact revenge for ... infidelity, yes ... but mostly VDs.

You’ll have to gauge for yourself whether your nostalgic, hot-pink penchant for all things ’80s and your instinctive faith in Michael Mann adequately counterbalances that vague dirty feeling you get from simply looking at Colin Farrell, but come this weekend, Miami Vice is ready for your consumption. Clearly, Mann’s going for cool, not camp, in resurrecting the show he created in 1984; if anyone can pull it off, seems like it’d be him. (Dude, after all, did Heat.)

Following last year’s noted departure, Match Point, Woody Allen has returned to his concrete-as-anyone’s M.O. with Scoop, a screwball murder-mystery that sees the director once again doing his familiar nebbishy-paranoiac schtick, but might not have much else to offer (review, page 25). Also stars apparent new Allen muse Scarlett Johansson, as well as Hugh Jackman and Ian “&@#% Deadwood” McShane (see interview, page 23).

Full-circle: The Ant Bully looks eerily like Antz, which starred a particularly neurotic creepy-crawly voiced by ... Woody Allen.

And Woody Allen ... was in The Impostors with Campbell Scott ... who’s in the upcoming Loverboy with ... Kevin Bacon! Yeah! What do I win?

My apologies. Safe weekend.

- Brian Villalobos

Local premiere dates for limited-release films are tentative and can change at the last minute. Please check your local theater listings to confirm showtimes.

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Read the Digital Print Issue

March 25, 2020


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