Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Ben Affleck
R; 120 mins
Based on true events, Argo chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis-the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist named Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
The political season kicks off with a solid thriller showcasing Affleck’s talents behind the camera. The film deserves kudos for not drinking the Hollywood Kool-Aid of “easy money” scripts, and for continuing a streak of high-class films. With a combination both laughs and drama, the story never drags. Look for it to make some noise come Oscar season.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Marty (Farrell) is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay, “Seven Psychopaths”. Billy (Rockwell) is Marty’s best friend, an unemployed actor and part time dog thief, who wants to help Marty by any means necessary. All he needs is a little focus and inspiration. Hans (Walken) is Billy’s partner in crime. A religious man with a violent past. Charlie (Harrelson) is the psychopathetic gangster whose beloved dog, Billy and Hans have just stolen. Charlie’s unpredictable, extremely violent and wouldn’t think twice about killing anyone or anything associated with the theft. Marty is going to get all the focus and inspiration he needs, just as long as he lives to tell the tale. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
Two good films in one week? Be still my heart. Channeling a little Tarantino and Guy Ritchie never hurt anyone—well that’s not true; it usually hurts every character in the script. Either way, this is a deeply clever, action romp sure to satisfy.
Here Comes the Boom
Director: Frank Coraci
PG; 105 mins
In the comedy Here Comes the Boom, former collegiate wrestler Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a 42-year-old apathetic biology teacher in a failing high school. When cutbacks threaten to cancel the music program and lay off its teacher (Henry Winkler,) Scott begins to raise money by moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter. Everyone thinks Scott is crazy – most of all the school nurse, Bella (Salma Hayek) – but in his quest, Scott gains something he never expected as he becomes a sensation that rallies the entire school. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
James fully embraces his talents as a physical comedian. Despite a string of less than enjoyable films of late, this doesn’t look… terrible. You could do better with either of the films listed above, but if you are looking for good-hearted comedy, this should satisfy.
Director: Scott Derrickson
R; 110 mins
Sinister is a frightening new thriller from the producer of the Paranormal Activity films and the writer-director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Ethan Hawke plays a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a nightmarish experience of supernatural horror. (Synopsis by Summit)
Combining cliché elements with some intensely disturbing visuals is a surprising road to success. There is a certain viciousness to the scares, and they are merciless in their frequency. All told, this is one of the better entries in the crop of horror films due out this month.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: Ridley Scott
R; 123 mins
Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, returns to the genre he helped define. With Prometheus, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
The film is deeply symbolic, with fantastic imagery as expected from Scott. However, overall it feels largely disjointed. Too many ideas are touched on without enough depth. I highly recommend reading both of these (Warning: Spoilers! ropesofsilicon and cavalorn) theory websites after viewing the movie, to shed some clarity on the symbolism.
Rock of Ages
Director: Adam Shankman
PG-13; 123 mins
Rock of Ages tells the story of small town girl Sherrie and city boy Drew, who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams. Their rock ‘n’ roll romance is told through the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Whitesnake and more. (Synopsis by Warner Brothers)
This would have worked better as a parody of the 80’s. Instead we are left with a sad, deflated karaoke contest. Best enjoyed five beers (or more) into the night.