Thursday, March 24, 2011

Releases 24/03

Continuing the weekly updates, here are today's cinema releases:

Red Riding Hood: Pros: Amanda Seyfried, Cons: directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).
What could have been a chilling take on the Little Red Riding Hood fable seems to be another predictable teen-directed romance/horror that is set to feature every horror cliche under the moon. Seyfried is gorgeous and a frequently magnetic performer and Gary Oldman is usually good (although his choices recently have been puzzling), but I imagine this is one to steer clear of.

Rotten Tomatoes: 11% (ouch!)

The Mechanic: Yet another action film starring Jason Statham. These get so old. In this one he plays Arthur Bishop, a 'mechanic' - an elite assassin with a strict code and a unique talent for cleanly eliminating targets. When his mentor and close friend Harry (Donald Sutherland) is murdered, he self-imposes his next assignment. He wants those responsible dead. He finds himself a partner when Harry's son (a usually outstanding Ben Foster) approaches him with the same agenda and reveals he is determined to learn Bishops trade. It is a re-make of an old Charles Bronson film. I'm sure the performances will be solid, and there will be more than enough high-octane action and explosions, but this looks fairly dumb. If you have seen one Statham action flick, you have seen them all.

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%

Biutiful: Generating very mixed reviews, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's (Amores Perros, Babel) latest film received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Feature, as did Javier Bardem for Lead Actor. The film documents the journey of Uxbal (Bardem) who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and morality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. It sounds fairly contrived, grim and overlong (147 minutes), but it could be redeemed by Bardem's performance.

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%

Barney's Version: Paul Giamatti won the Golden Globe for his performance here. The film takes the viewer on a ride through the life and memories of Barney Panofsky, a hard drinking, cigar-smoking, foul mouthed hockey fanatic and television producer, as he reflects his life's success and failures. Dustin Hoffman and Rosamund Pike co-star. Could be worth a look. Giamatti is always excellent.

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

Waiting for Superman: From director Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) comes this impassioned indictment of the growing problems connected with the school system in the United States. Reports are that it is "gripping, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful." Will only have a limited release though.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Weekly Recommendation: Waiting for Superman.

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