Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: February 4, 2011

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is heading off to college and crossing his fingers that his new roommate looks vaguely like Minka Kelly… or Leighton Meester. He’s not picky. He also puts an ad in the paper for “SWF Seeking Same” just to cover all of his bases. But before he does that, he shoots a quick DM to his buddy @JimCameron and spelunks into unexplored territory, saving himself from the terrors that Mother Nature throws at him. Then, after the fun with Sanctum and The Roommate, he takes a nap.

Want to hear what Kevin has to say on the Fat Guys at the Movies podcast? Take a listen below as Neil Miller celebrate their 200th episode in the Magical Studio in the Sky.

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Studio: Universal

Rated: R for language, some violence and disturbing images

Starring: Richard Roxburgh, Alice Parkinson, Rhys Wakefield, Dan Wyllie and Christopher Baker

Directed by: Alister Grierson

What it’s about: Based on a true story, Sanctum follows a team of explorers who are studying the many twists and turns in an underwater cave system. However, when a monsoon comes through the area and floods the mouth of the cave, they find themselves diving deeper into the earth, hoping to find the undiscovered channel that will lead them to the ocean.

What I liked: This is one of those few stories that I appreciated the “Based on a True Story” hype, for no other reason than not expecting the divers to run into some hideous mutant creature in the cave. So, all love of movies like The Descent aside, I knew what I was getting into.

The characters and story is very rote, and it’s not entirely unpredictable. But Sanctum does push the right buttons. Carrying an R rating with plenty of nastiness and an impressive body count, this is one of the more gruesome man-versus-nature movies I’ve seen in a while. Even 127 Hours (which has a very different approach) has more hope and positive thoughts.

And like anything that @JimCameron does, you can expect a quality 3D film. Is it entirely necessary to be in 3D? Probably not. But it looks slick as snot, and as a conceived-and-shot-for-3D film, Sanctum takes advantage of the technology to really push the viewer in to the cave itself.

What I didn’t: While the movie looked great and really achieved the feeling of claustrophobia, I found the characters and overall story to be a little thin. We see a lot of the same conversations from many survival flicks in the past, and this is where the interest in the film can break down.

Still… I can’t wait for the sequel in which the cave from Sanctum goes up against the boulder from 127 Hours with the Yellowstone Caldera from 2012 as the surprise guest villain.

Who is gonna like this movie: 3D movie enthusiasts and anyone who likes a good man-versus-nature struggle.

Grade: B

Studio: Screen Gems

Rated: PG-13 for violence and menace, sexual content, some language and teen partying

Starring: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Danneel Harris, Cam Gigandet and Alyson Michalka

Directed by: Christian E. Christiansen

What it’s about: Single White Female in a dorm… only not a good movie. Sara (Minka Kelly) moves into a dorm with her friendly roommate Rebecca (Leighton Meester). However, soon Sara discovers that Rebecca is mentally unbalanced and just might be trying to get of all her other friends.

What I liked: Golly gee… Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester sure are purdy!

What I didn’t: What do you do when you want to remake a movie (say, like Single White Female) but you don’t own the rights to it? Most reasonable people will either pursue the rights or just make another movie. Not the people behind The Roommate. The solution to their problem is to just rewrite the script in a modern dorm setting, cast it with the entire acting roster at the CW and tone down the violence to a painfully safe PG-13 sensibility. (Yeah, you read that right… there’s no blowjob/stiletto scene in this movie.)

All plagiarism accusations aside, The Roommate is a misfire from beginning to end. It opens with knowing that Rebecca is nuts from the moment you see her. The two-minute theatrical trailer holds more suspense on this point than the actual film does. And whether deliberate or not (and I’m leaning on the side of not deliberate at all), director Christian E. Christiansen hams up every shot of her to make her look silly-crazy.

Every moment is telegraphed, and when the film eventually ramps up to something dangerous happening, it pulls its punches and delivering the money shots with no power whatsoever.

The Roommate is a truly laughable film without an ounce of originality or competent filmmaking. It holds as much impact as its humdrum title.

Who is gonna like this movie: Anyone who can convince themselves this was meant to be campy. (Hint… it wasn’t.)

Grade: D

Want to see what Kevin had to say about these films on TV? Check out his interview on FOX…

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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