New in Theaters: 'The Legend of Hercules,' 'Lone Survivor,' 'Her'

The Legend of Hercules

This is an interesting weekend for new releases—while it’s not unusual to get a batch that are very different in terms of genre, audience, and even quality (it’s no fun to get just one moviegoer demographic to spend money over the weekend, after all), this group seems to span the whole spectrum: dark to light, gritty to mild, violent to romantic, and unfortunately, abysmal to exceptional.

One of the films coming to theaters today is The Legend of Hercules, the latest attempt to make a successful movie rendering of ancient Greek myths. The film tells of the infamous Hercules (Kellan Lutz), son of Zeus, as he is exiled by his adopted father, King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), and subsequently fights to reclaim his kingdom.

There’s no beating around the bush—this film is awful. It received a 3% on the Tomatometer; the acting is terrible, the effects are laughable, the script is absent, and the action is tame—this release has nothing going for it. Still, Box Office Guru predicts an opening weekend gross of $11 million.

On a much better (if not lighter) note, also opening today is Lone Survivor, based on the bestselling autobiographical novel by Marcus Luttrell, portrayed in the film by Mark Wahlberg. Luttrell and three other marines were sent to covertly neutralize a high-priority member of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and were confronted with a far larger Taliban ambush force, and an impossible moral choice.

This film received much better feedback, rating at 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. For all the film’s faults (the gimmicky patriotism behind it is somewhat insulting to the people who actually died in these events), it’s a powerful story, and manages to sweep the audience along through to the harrowing end. This film can expect $16 million over the weekend.

Finally, and on a completely, utterly different note, we have Spike Jonze’s Her, one of the oddest love stories of our time. After the painful breakup of a long relationship, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), who has the odd job of writing heartfelt letters for other people, becomes intrigued with an advanced operating system, which manifests itself as a profound, sensitive, and witty female voice (Scarlett Johansson). As they get to know each other, they naturally begin to fall in love, and begin a controversial, one-of-a-kind relationship.

This film was received excellently, with a rating of 93% from Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is unexpectedly cathartic, with surprisingly relatable themes and characters, and a message well worth taking away from the film. It is projected to earn approximately $10 million this weekend.

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