It always feels kinda nice, being in a third-tier movie market, to get a trickle of really excellent films in the run-up to and just after the Oscars, as the filmic powers-that-be assume the rubes in our little neck of the bible belt must have finally heard — via Access Hollywood and whatnot — about those quasi-arthouse flicks that win awards.
As of this week, consider that trickle shut off at the faucet.
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES
After bombarding us, the aliens plan to scoop up all our natural resources — sorry, Mr. E.T., about those depleted oil reserves — and Aaron Eckhart (in combat gear) is all that stands between us and, gulp, complete extermination. (MB) Rated PG-13 | SHOWTIMES
Naïve Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) goes off to the Sin City of the Prairie for an insurance convention, where drunken hot-tubbing with John C. O’Reilly (stripped to his boxer shorts and chugging whiskey) lies in wait to imperil his immortal, insurance-loving soul. Ed will soon be losing his cummerbund money-belt. (MB) Rated R | SHOWTIMES
MARS NEEDS MOMS
In this one, the aliens are stealing all the mommies, so all the cute little CGI kids start screaming, “We want our mommies back! You evil aliens go back to that Los Angeles movie and exterminate somebody else!” In a related development, somebody broke into the Disney studios and stole all their blueprints for combining Humorous with Heartwarming. (The hip-hop tunes and weak jokes? Not helping.) (MB) Rated PG | SHOWTIMES
RED RIDING HOOD
Using the Grimm Brothers story Little Red Riding Hood as its springboard, writer David Leslie Johnson and director Catherine Hardwicke proceed to take one absurd turn after another in making it a combo fairy tale, horror story and whodunit. Hardwicke also makes sure to emphasize the romance triangle aspect of it a la her hit film Twilight. Even the great Gary Oldman, as a werewolf hunter, and the always terrific Julie Christie as – gulp! – Grandma, can’t help this thing. Oh, and the wolf, a poorly rendered CGI creation, can talk. You want some realism in your fairy tale-horror-whodunit-love triangle films? Better look elsewhere. (ES) Rated PG-13 | SHOWTIMES