In Theaters Now: W., What Just Happened?, Sex Drive, Max Payne, The Secret Life of Bees


W.
directed by Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone has soared the highs with movies like 1986’s Platoon and scraped the bottom of the barrel with movies like 2004’s Alexander. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that his movies have been—and will continue to be—a fixture on the political landscape (except for Alexander, which was not political so much as it was awful). There’s no way that W. couldn’t be controversial and few people will go in without an objective opinion. One of the bright lights in this could-be-kind-of-good-but-could-be-kind-of-bad movie is the casting. It’s uniquely comical in nature: Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, Rob Corddry as Ari Fleischer and Josh Brolin as the title character, George W. Bush. As long as Stone shows up to play, this all-star cast should impress.

What Just Happened?
directed by Barry Levinson

Attempting to bounce back from 2006’s Man of the Year (who is still cutting checks to Robin Williams?), Barry Levinson is back with this meta-comedy about a fading producer (Robert De Niro) trying to get a movie made in the waning years of his career. Hollywood projects about Hollywood tend to be a mixed bag. HBO’s “Entourage” is just “Sex and the City” for men and For Your Consideration was widely panned by critics. This movie does have a good cast however, and is based on super-producer Art Linson‘s book of the same name. With all these players’ long careers informing the final product, it might just add up to a unique cinematic perspective on the movies.

Sex Drive
directed Sean Anders

The question facing Sex Drive is: “Do I want to be considered this decade’s American Pie?” Early reviews have been comparing it to that 1990s franchise that was a pleasure for comedy-sex-romp lovers and a guilty pleasure for the rest of us. But with Clark Duke (star of ClarkAndMichael.com, which is a must see) and Seth Green, this movie is a little ahead of the American Pie curve. While it should give hope to those of us that weep every time we see a trailer involving Dane Cook, it probably won’t give Judd Apatow a run for his money.

Max Payne
directed by John Moore

Where to start with video game movies? There’s 1993’s Super Mario Brothers, any entry in the Resident Evil trilogy, 1994’s Street Fighter or 2009’s Street Fighter sequel. You could even talk about Mortal Kombat or 2005’s Alone in the Dark. It doesn’t really matter where you start because it’s not a stretch to say that a good video game movie has yet to be made. The trailer tries to appeal to a wider audience, as if to say, “I am a good movie. Hear me roar. Please?” Director John Moore’s last two efforts, Flight of the Phoenix and The Omen, barely registered on the Hollywood Richter scale. Also, star Mark Wahlberg’s last movie, The Happening, holds the dubious honor of being possibly the worst studio movie ever made. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

The Secret Life of Bees
directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood

It was once illegal, by industry standards, to go a week without a Dakota Fanning story. But since the abject failure of her so-called “rape movie,” Hounddog, all has been quiet on the Fanning front. In The Secret Life of Bees, she’s back on the hunt for her first Oscar nomination. This race-relations drama takes place in the mid-1960s and is based on Sue Monk Kidd’s well-liked novel of the same name. When you add Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alica Keys and Sophie Okonedo to the mix, you find yourself with a feminine roundhouse kick that should warm the hearts of mother-daughter duos all across the country.

Morning Light
directed by Paul Crowder & Mark Monroe

One of the few documentaries opening during this political season that does not involve politics (or Michael Moore), Morning Light is about 15 sailors on a six-month training course to prepare for a an open ocean sailing race. In a time when the political and cultural discourse tends to focus on negative campaign ads, or whatever the vapid, brainless girls on MTV’s “The Hills” are up to, this could be a movie that lifts the spirits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.