Sure, it’s super pretty outside and you could be hiking, frolicking through meadows of spring flowers, or lying on the beach. But then you’d look like you’re stuck in a commercial for anti-depressants. I don’t recommend depression, but isn’t it nice to just sit in the dark sometimes, letting salty popcorn dissolve on your tongue and giving your brain over to a picture show? And this week, you can catch some love capers with “Date Night,” bond with rockers with “When You’re Strange,” get stressed out about what’s next with “After.Life,” break up the hard way with “Breaking Backwards,” experience San Fran gangster life with “La Mission,” or be glad you’re not a pregnant teenager staying with her dead boyfriend’s family with “The Greatest.” And don’t those sound better than being tan and happy?
The Movie: “Date Night”
The Trailer: Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) are bored New Jersey suburban parents who, at the suggestion of their therapist, make a date night to go to a hip Manhattan restaurant. They leave the kiddies with a babysitter (Leighton Meester) and steal a reservation to secure a table. Turns out, the real couple who had the reservation are drifters (James Franco and Mila Kunis) being chased by rogue cops and mobsters and the case of mistaken identity leads to a chase. They seek help from a “security expert” (Mark Wahlberg), get in a car chase, and realize that there are worse things than a quiet life.
The Hitch: Woohoo! Finally, it’s a rom-com with actually funny people! I would watch Tina Fey do anything … she could read from the backs of cereal boxes for an hour and a half and I would think that was funny. It’s also nice to see Steve Carell and Tina Fey play a functional, adult couple instead of their socially inept, almost undateable characters on “The Office” and “30 Rock.”
The Movie: “When You’re Strange”
The Trailer: “When You’re Strange” is a documentary history of the Doors, featuring previously unreleased footage and photographs. Narrated by Johnny Depp, the film doesn’t contain any interviews but is filled with Jim Morrison’s voice in songs like “Light My Fire” and “The Crystal Ship.” It also contains clips from Morrison’s arrest in Miami for indecent exposure, which he never had the pleasure of committing, and bits of the rocker driving through the desert, which seems an appropriate setting for his music.
The Hitch: I’m not a huge Doors fan, but you can’t really be mad at watching a beautiful man-child gallivanting around to the soothing sound of Johnny Depp’s voice. It’s one back massage away from girl porn.
The Movie: “After.Life”
The Trailer: A young woman (Christina Ricci) wakes up (kinda) in a funeral home after a car accident. The mortician (Liam Neeson) says she is dead. She doesn’t believe him. But she seems to exist in the world in-between life and death. Her boyfriend (Justin Long) isn’t so sure she’s dead, either. Liam Neeson acts super creepy. The end.
The Hitch: I get really claustrophobic from movies that take place in one building. And I’m not a huge fan of the are-they-or-aren’t-they-dead shtick. It’s just not interesting enough to carry a movie. And it’s depressing. I want to believe that when I die, there will be awesomeness or nothing … none of this talking to creepy morticians and being mostly naked all the time mumbo jumbo. Pass.
The Movie: “Breaking Upwards
The Trailer: Zoe (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Daryl (Daryl Wein) have decided to break up in the most inconvenient way possible, by taking days off from each other to date other people and dating each other the other three days a week. I guess the idea is that they still have each other, so they don’t have to be jealous, but they totally are and the plan sucks.
The Hitch: The movie was directed by Wein with a $15,000 budget, which is pretty amazing. It’s a cute hipster love story with a decent soundtrack, which is really all I could ask for. Plus, it’s available on cable on demand, which means you don’t have to put on real clothes to watch it.
The Movie: “La Mission”
The Trailer: Written and directed by Peter Bratt and starring his brother, Benjamin, “La Mission” paints a rather tragic picture of San Francisco’s Mission barrio, where the brothers grew up. Bratt is a recovering alcoholic father who can’t accept that his son (Jeremy Ray Valdez) is gay. His beautiful lady friend in the building (Erika Alexander) gives him some perspective.
The Hitch: I just want to stare at the low-riders and pretty tattooed gangster boys. Plus, I love a good cruise-line joke. Having gone to high school in New Mexico, I often told my mom I was running late for curfew because I “forgot about the cruise line and have been stuck going 5 miles an hour for 40 minutes.” Worked every time.
The Movie: “The Greatest”
The Trailer: An awkward boy (Aaron Johnson) and pixie-like girl (Carey Mulligan) are in the throes of a teenage love affair when a tragic car wreck kills the boy. Fast forward to three months later when the girl shows up on his parents’ (Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon) doorstep, pregnant. With nowhere else to go, the family is forced to take in this stranger carrying their deceased son’s baby.
The Hitch: I’m not a big fan of movies where everyone is uncomfortable all the time and pregnant teenagers are sunny and charismatic family fixers. And this story line, borrowed from Robert Redford’s “Ordinary People,” is just a more stressful portrayal of an awkward situation. But at least it was taken on by the same cinematographer, so it’s pretty.