Opening an appealing mainstream comedy like 17 Again to $23 million is impressive. Opening a poorly-marketed and not-terribly appealing drama like Charlie St. Cloud to $12.5 million all by yourself: You, Zac Efron, are a genuine movie star.
We all say we want empowering female characters who can play in the action sandbox. Yet we collectively cringe when said female heroes receive the same kind of brutal violence that is visited upon male action heroes.
In a day when Lost can't wrap up their six-year run without negating everything that came before it, and even 24 can't end with a bang, it's nice to see a final episode, even just a season finale, go out with a little style.
Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass is a film constantly at war with itself. It pertains to be a realistic story about what would happen if people decided to become masked avengers in a real big city, but it quickly gives way to implausibility.
An emphasis on character and plot over special effects usually results in a superior film. But with a horror picture, you occasionally do have to deliver the horror goods. Joe Johnston's The Wolfman fails on both grounds.
The Children isn't the most violent film, nor the goriest or showiest. It haunts because it boils itself down to an unanswerable question: would you kill your own sick children to prevent them from killing you?
What is worth noting is that all of these male characters are basically users and abusers of their friends, family, and lovers. Yet Bella is attacked in various circles because she allows herself to be abused and used.