This week at the movies, we’ve got robot clones (Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell), artistic-minded freshmen (Fame, starring Kelsey Grammer and Megan Mullally), and scared spacemen (Pandorum, starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster). What do the critics have to say?
Surrogates was barely screened for critics prior to its release, which is usually a bad sign. However, those who have seen the film say it’s a decent dystopian sci-fi flick, filled with enough fast-paced action to distract audiences from its cliches. Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell star as FBI agents who, in the course of solving a murder, stumble upon a vast clone-manufacturing operation. The pundits say Surrogates is visually sleek and exciting, as long as you don’t think too hard about the leaps in logic. (And don’t forget to check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Bruce Willis’ best-reviewed films.)
Given the massive popularity of the High School Musical franchise, it was probably inevitable that Fame would get dusted off and remade. However, critics mostly wish it could be reworked with more passion and inspiration than this tepid, chaste treatment. As with the original, Fame follows the trials and tribulations of students at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. Lessons are learned, self-doubts are faced, songs are sung. The pundits say that while the original attempted to deal with important social issues while delivering show-stopping numbers, this new version is far less ambitious, featuring tepid set pieces and skin-deep characterization.
It appears that the folks behind Pandorum feared that allowing the critics to see their film would open a Pandora’s box, since it wasn’t screened prior to release. Pandorum is the story of two astronauts who find themselves stranded on a spacecraft — and they’ve got some sinister company. Kids, forestall watching 2001 for the 50th time and guess that Tomatometer!
Also opening this week in limited release: