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What happened to July 4th weekend movies?  For nearly a decade it’s been Big Willie’s Weekend for better (Independence Day, Men in Black) and worse (Hancock, Wild Wild West).  Every year studios fight for their weekend release dates with major holidays being the most desired turf.  In year’s past, the weekend has played host to some of the biggest movies of their respective summers: Armageddon, Spiderman 2 and Transformers, however, this year it seems like the 4th was conceded because Captain Jack Dillinger showed up.  We’re left with a historical gangster picture, part 3 of an animated trilogy, and an anit-Valentines Day movie that came out 5 months late.   Apparently, the battle for July 4th happened last week.

Public Enemies is the weekend frontrunner  (for my review check here) with its star power (Bale on Depp) and solid review score (Public Enemies: RT  60%M  71%), but now we get to hear/read why.
public-enemies-poster“This is a very good film, with Depp and Bale performances of brutal clarity. I’m trying to understand why it is not quite a great film. I think it may be because it deprives me of some stubborn need for closure.” Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

When one of America’s best critics can’t put his finger on what was missing does that mean its something big or something little?

“If Public Enemies lacks anything, it’s something audiences can’t legitimately expect to find: a certain EXTRA something.” Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

Why is ‘it’ extra if the movie suffers without ‘it’?  Shouldn’t ‘it’ be more clear?

“The parts, in other words, promise a brilliant whole. So why is this movie one of the signal disappointments of the year? You have to go back to the basics: Public Enemies has everything going for it except a reason and a script.” Ty Burr Boston Globe

Yeah, but are those things essential?  Can’t the reason be ‘to make money’ and the script be made up as they go?  Hey, it worked for Transformers 2.

“Public Enemies comes at you like Dillinger did: all of a sudden. It’s movie dynamite.” Peter Travers Rolling Stone

Given the date, shouldn’t it be described as a movie firecracker or M-80?

“It’s like spending an afternoon–a long one–at a beautifully lit wax-museum display inspired by earlier gangster movies.” Dana Stevens Slate

Depp dipped in wax

Depp dipped in wax

Sounds thrilling.  And speaking of thrilling wax-like things, this weekend brings us Ice Age: Rise of the Dinosaurs in 3 dimensions: (RT 35%M 51%).
iceage3new“With appreciably greater emphasis on action than its predecessors, and clever use of 3-D trickery to enhance storytelling as well as offer spectacle, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs could prove the third time really is the charm.” Joe Leydon Variety

Yeah, but that’s one of those cultural axioms that’s rarely true for movies.  Was the 3rd Godfather the charm?  Or the Matrix?

“The series kept it going for one more entry, but throws its commitment to the era away with movie number three, a ploy sure to anger Ice Age purists everywhere.” Keith Phipps  The Onion (A.V. Club)

There are Ice Age purists? I always thought of this series as a poor man’s Pixar.

“If “Up” is the animated equivalent of an ice cream sundae, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is the Popsicle: Neither as rich nor as memorable, but more than welcome on a long, hot summer day.’” Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News

Would this analogy make Public Enemies a Bomb Pop?

Incoming explosion of flavor

Prepare for an incoming explosion of flavor

Are there any more ice jokes out there?

“About as exciting as watching snow melt.” Luke Y. Thompson E! Online

Cool?  Last up is a movie meant for bitter divorcee’s, dumpee’s, and breakupee’s: I hate Valentine’s Day: (RT 17% – M ??).  Given the successful failure of My Life In Ruins a few weeks ago, it doesn’t sounds like this one fares much better.

i_hate_valentines_day_xlg“Is it too pat to say I Hate This Movie? That’s about the level of creative energy Vardalos applies to a film that manages to be every bit as bad as My Life in Ruins.” Geoff Berkshire Metromix.com

Well, at least Nia Vardalos is consistent.

“Vardalos calls her film “the ultimate indie experiment,” and if that’s what is meant by ham-fisted pacing, writing, and acting, this is as ultimate and as indie as it gets.” Ella Taylor Village Voice

Sounds more like ‘the ultimate indie excrement.’

“I Hate Valentine’s Day is a horror show masquerading as a romantic comedy. Maybe Vardalos is just in the wrong line of work.” Stephanie Zacharek Salon.com

We need a new classification of movies for RomCom’s that are missing the romance and comedy.  As you can see, this weekend releases a few Pop-It’s and Sparklers, but no Roman Candles or Triple Whammys.

It's Whamtastic

It's Whamtastic

Enjoy your weekend and all the happy fun that comes from igniting tightly packed gunpowder.

PDJ hopes you’ll be safe this weekend and let your friends do stupid firework tricks while you film.

PDJ hopes you’ll be safe this weekend and let your friends do stupid firework tricks while you hold the camera.

It looks like the 3rd Whammy got him right between the eyes.

It looks like the 3rd Whammy got him right between the eyes.

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