The first weekend in August is remarkably quiet on the new movie front. Perhaps the major studios want to stay away from the powerful tandem that is Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington in 2 Guns. The pair star as undercover agents in the first time these two explosive actors have appeared in the same film.
In a brilliant counter-programming move, Sony has released The Smurfs 2, a film that children will thoroughly enjoy. Also opening this weekend is a smaller movie, but one that is big on heart. The Spectacular Now stars Divergent actors Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller as a couple of recent high school grads who find each other and perhaps... a future.
2 Guns: Wahlberg and Washington have bombastic chemistry, as we stated in our 2 Guns review, but that is not the only reason to see the film. It is a fascinating and timely story of a battle of wills along the U.S. border with Mexico. Bill Paxton almost steals the entire movie as a sleazy CIA agent trying to muscle his way to get his share of a "found" $40 million. Although Paula Patton is hardly used, it's still great to see her make a solid follow-up to Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
The Smurfs 2: Kids will go completely Smurfy for the sequel to 2011's The Smurfs. This time out the action shifts from New York City to Paris. It seems that the awful wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) has kidnapped Smurfette and hopes to turn her to his evil ways in order to finally succeed with his plan to destroy all that is Smurfs. As we reported in our The Smurfs 2 review, the film is squarely aimed at kids and adults might find it a bit pedantic.
The Spectacular Now: This film is utterly Spectacular! Teller and Woodley preview their chemistry for Divergent in the story of two recent high school grads who find love and a whole lot more during their own summer of love. Our The Spectacular Now review found that the film works largely due to the fact that filmmakers fully paint their teenaged characters, instead of making them cardboard cutouts of stereotypes that audiences have long ago grown tired of.