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Welcome back, everyone.

I thought it would be appropriate to kick the Jungle Gym back into gear with the thing that started it all, the MovieDruid.  I guess for some, maybe even most, of my readers that seems odd.  But, those who have been in the know on the MovieDruid since its beginnings know there would be no Jungle Gym without the MovieDruid.

And, thus, I come full circle and kick-start the Jungle Gym back into full gear with the MovieDruid.

This week brings another disappointment of sorts.  It seems that the distributor who finally got the rights for U.S. distribution for Sean Bean’s turn as a knight in medieval England in “Black Death” elected a NY/LA/MN release.  If by some luck you happen to be in an area where it is being shown either in initial release or perhaps eventual arthouse/independent pickups I would say it definitely looks worthwhile.

So, with that film off the table, what do we have in store for national release this week?

“Mars Needs Moms”

Trailer

Synopsis: Take out the trash; eat your broccoli — who needs moms, anyway? Nine-year-old Milo finds out just how much he needs his mom when she’s nabbed by Martians who plan to steal her mom-ness for their own young. “Mars Needs Moms” showcases Milo’s quest to save his mom — a wild adventure that involves stowing away on a spaceship, navigating an elaborate, multi-level planet and taking on the alien nation and their leader. With the help of a tech-savvy, underground earthman named Gribble and a rebel Martian girl called Ki, Milo just might find his way back to his mom — in more ways than one.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I remember a time when seeing Cinderella’s castle and the Walt Disney logo was reason to expect something magical.  Those were wondrous days before we did all of our animation with computers.  Disney just doesn’t seem to it them out of the park anymore.  In fact, these days when I see the Disney logo, I wonder how bad it’s going to be this time.  This one does nothing at all to prove me wrong.  Disney was always a studio I could count on, and it was my hope that when John Lasseter of Pixar took over the animation studio following the merger that things would turn around.  John has yet to show me any real game, and this one looks like further proof of that fact.  However, if you disagree the film is also being released in 3D and 3D IMAX.

“Battle: Los Angeles”

Trailer

Synopsis: For years, there have been documented cases of UFO sightings around the world – Buenos Aires, Seoul, France, Germany, China. But in 2011, what were once just sightings will become a terrifying reality when Earth is attacked by unknown forces. As people everywhere watch the world’s great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. It’s up to a Marine staff sergeant and his new platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they’ve ever encountered before.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I want to have high hopes for “Battle: Los Angeles.”  It’s my kind of movie.  But, I’m afraid.  I’m afraid that this project got green lit in the wake of “District 9” fever.  I’m afraid that this will turn into something as disappointing as “Cloverfield” or “Skyline.”  There have been too many giant alien/monster/invasion movies over the last few years, and the trend seems to be coming to the end of its life cycle.  The director, Jonathan Liebesman, is a bit of a mystery.  Yes, he did direct the creepily fantastic “Darkness Falls,” but he is also responsible for the abysmal “Texan Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.” They did manage to get him some decent talent, however, with Aaron Eckhart (“Rabbit Hole” & “Thank You For Smoking”), Michelle Rodriguez (TV’s “Lost” & “The Fast & The Furious”), and Bridget Moynahan (“Coyote Ugly” & “I, Robot”).  This one could easily go either way, approach with caution.

“Red Riding Hood” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: In a story inspired by the famous fairytale, a teenage girl finds herself in extreme jeopardy when her village decides to hunt the werewolf that terrorizes it every full moon.

MovieDruid’s Comments: A new and stylized take on a story we all know is always a fascinating exercise.  Trying to breathe fresh life into stories that we have all heard since childhood and make them have some sort of suspense is a difficult task.  Thus, a film like “Red Riding Hood” sets out on an already difficult road.  But, they seem to have captured the essence of the tale while bringing the look and feel of the story to us in a way that is outside the norm enough to get us outside of that comfort zone.  Again, we have a tricky director situation with Catherine Hardwicke having both “The Nativity Story” and “Twilight” to her credit.  The real question mark for me is whether Amanda Seyfried (“Mean Girls” & “Mama Mia”) ca carry the lead in a movie like this.  She has some solid supporting talent in Gary Oldman (“Immortal Beloved” & “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”), but we’ll have to see. In trailer form the components seem to mesh well, hopefully that carries over to the big screen.

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