Weekend Forecast for July 23-25, 2010

By Reagen Sulewski

July 23, 2010

Pics don't come any more Freudian than this. Oops, I said come, didn't I?

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The second half of summer may not be throwing up the same gaudy numbers as May and June’s box office, but it’s making up for it with quality. I mean, if we start counting the second half after July 1st. Oh no, not before.

Salt arrives in theatres with what seems like a easily made comparison - likely eagerly invited by its producers – a female Jason Bourne. Angelina Jolie stars as Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent implicated as a Russian spy by a defector (a premise helpfully made more plausible by a recent real-life spy scandal). This, of course, sends her into flight in order to prove her innocence, largely by kicking people in the face and crashing vehicles into things. Hey, whatever works.

Jolie is about the only female action star taken seriously today (play someone other than Alice and we’ll talk, Milla Jovovich), at least to the point of being able to be a lead. See: Wanted, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Tomb Raider, etc. Okay, most of her examples aren’t good films, but they continue to draw people in, which is kind of the ultimate test of star power when you think about it. And in something of a interesting twist that shows her standing as an action star, this film was initially intended to star Tom Cruise in her role.


In any case, we have Salt, which seemed fairly generic through the first two minutes of its initial trailer until one crucial little line: “Do you think everyone is who they say they are?” Consider my interest piqued. A sort of Mission: Impossible-esque latex mask rip towards the end, obscured by quick cutting, also adds to the intrigue of the trailer. Is it potentially just a great job of editing covering up an average thriller? Potentially. Its writer has a mixed resume, with the Thomas Crown remake and Ultraviolet on it, two films rather diametrically opposed in quality. Reviews are mostly positive but not glowing, which probably precludes this from being revelatory in any real sense. But a solid action movie? There we might have something. Look for this to win the weekend with around $55 million.

Swingingly wildly around in tone, we have Ramona and Beezus, based on the much beloved Beverly Cleary series of books about a precocious girl and her sister. Disney Stepford Child Selena Gomez plays the older sibling while Joey King, who despite being only 11 already has 19 film credits to her name, plays the central, younger sister, famously called a pest.

In addition to the two child leads, there’s a surprisingly strong adult cast, I’m sure largely because of the reputation of the material and how basically everyone read these books growing up. John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel and Sandra Oh all make appearances in the film as various authority figures, though really the film is about the relationship between the sisters, and any childless adults going to this film will be placed on some sort of watch list.

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