Sparkle the only shiner among this weekend's new releases, critics say
Sparkle, ParaNorman, Expendables 2 and The Odd Life of Timothy Green will all debut in movie theaters this weekend. Of the four, movie critics Kristen Meinzer and Rafer Guzman agree Sparkle is the one you want to watch.
This week's big movie openings bring a little something for everyone.
Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham pack in the action with Expendables 2, the late Whitney Houston shines in “Sparkle,” and two kids movies also debut.
Kristen Meinzer, culture producer for The Takeaway, said Expendables is stupid, with a lot of shooting and chasing, "but not quite stupid enough."
"I wanted the stupid taken up to the next level of stupid. Throw out all the great throw-away lines," she said. "There should be more motorcycles taking down helicopters. There's only one."
Rafer Guzman, movie critic for Newsday, says Meinzer has it all wrong. These films don't take themselves seriously enough, he said.
"They're so sloppy and lazy. The jokes are so obvious ... I just don't find that funny," he said. "I feel like the film should be a little more serious and offer some genuine excitement and thrills."
But both agree that the movie's just not worth seeing.
Then there's ParaNorman, about a small-town boy who talks to zombies. The film uses stop-motion animation and Guzman called it really good.
"The animation is great. It's rated PG-13. It's a bit of a spoof and a tribute to horror movies, but I also think it actually kind of is a horror movie. It gets really scary at the end — like genuinely scary," he said. "I kind of wonder who the audience for the movie is going to be."
Meinzer said the movie is just too scary, throughout the whole movie, even for someone in their 30s.
"Possibly, too scary to bring your family to," she said. "There were many times I screamed and covered my eyes."
Sparkle, on the other hand, Guzman and Meinzer both agreed, is great.
"You'll cheer, you'll cry," Meinzer said. "People were yelling out, 'Amens' and 'Hallelujahs.' It's just a fantastic experience."
The costumes and details are all great, she said, and the actors, including the late Houston, have "a magnetic presence."
"They just look beautiful on the screen," she said. "I had so much fun."
Guzman said he was really surprised with how much he liked the movie.
"There is a gospel number that Whitney Houston performs near the end of the film that is spine-tingling. I really almost feel like that piece of footage is going to be one of those bits of footage that we watch when we think of Whitney Houston in the future," Guzman said.
The other kid flick out this week is The Odd Life of Timothy Green, about a couple who are unable to have a kid, but have a kid thrust upon them, from their own garden.
Guzman called the movie sappy, and a bit too whimsical. But, he said it's probably a good family movie.
"If you can stand the sugar level, it's probably a rewarding experience," Guzman said.
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