As the post-Awards Season dearth of film melts away with the crusty, gray winter sludge, theaters are beginning to play some movies that might get you out of the house, into the spring air, and then right back indoors. But which movie to see? Your clementine-scented compadre What a Fool Believes has got previews of the April 8th releases that may have you muttering, “Movies? Oh yeah, I like these things, Darryl.”
In a hilarious retelling of Faust, set in the dull comforts of Lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, The Devil (Katy Perry) offers a down-on-his-luck accountant (Russell Brand) seven wishes in return for his soul, but twists the spirit of the wishes to dash the man’s economical dreams. Though Perry’s diabolical dessert-themed costumes and original songs threaten to run off with the film, Brand’s signature stoicism and serenity makes every scene he moseys into a laugh riot.
Teenaged Hanna (legendary Scottish actress Dame Saoirse Ronan) has got the strength, stamina, skills and smarts of a soldier but one terrible secret that threatens to tear her family apart and destroy the life of an innocent man: She’s dead. As Hanna battles through the Underworld, the Virgil to her Dante, the Ghost of Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett), uses every ounce of pluck in her spitfire spirit to lead the dead girl to the truth.
Stephen Meek (played by Canadian tween heartthrob Bruce Greenwood), the son of wealthy industrialists, spends his days and nights throwing ridiculous Oregon Trail-themed parties in the family mansion. When his parents become fed up with his sloppy, hedonistic lifestyle, they decide to cut off their son by shipping him to an actual desert trail without any booze or fashion models to guide him. Shall Meek inherit the Earth or a bank of sand? (Co-starring Michelle Williams as the voice of “Emily the Cactus”.)
When a couple of starving sharks (voiced by Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt) have no other option but to eat the arm of an innocent thirteen year old surfer girl (AnnaSophia Robb), they get more than a delicious dinner; they get the surfer girl’s soul! As the comatose girl’s body struggles in the hospital’s ICU, her soul passes into those of the sharks and this Soul Surfer ain’t hangin’ loose! Hijinx ensue as the sharks try various methods to rid themselves of the girl’s soul (including one terrific scene where they each consume hundreds of electric eels in hopes of shocking the soul free). Once they realize the error of their ways, and the beauty of the soul, the pair of sharks go on a quest to return the soul to the surfer girl’s body and save her life.
In this mockumentary by Stoner Gothic auteur David Gordon Green, Academy Award winner Natalie Portman stars as “Academy Award Winner Natalie Portman”. The actress, fresh off receiving a Best Actress Oscar for her role in the psycho-sexual thriller “No Strings Attached”, adds “Academy Award Winner” to her name and then goes on a megalomaniacal rampage that would make Alexander the Great and James Franco blush. “Portman’s” ascendancy from Hollywood darling to South American dictator is a performance that might have her accepting another Oscar but, hopefully, not a throne made of gilded human bones in Uruguay.