Body of Lies
directed by Ridley Scott
He’s tackled aliens in, well, Alien; liberated female renegades in Thelma and Louise; captured gladiatorial tiger fighting in Gladiator and exposed Frank Lucas and his heroin trade in American Gangster. But this weekend Ridley Scott takes on his biggest opponent yet—the U.S. government—in Body of Lies. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and frequent collaborator Russell Crowe, the story follows a CIA operative (DiCaprio) sent to Jordan to find a terrorist while he attempts to deal with a manipulative boss (Crowe) who has his own set of ulterior motives. Based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, the movie’s tagline says it all, “Trust No One. Deceive Everyone.” While this may be the tone of Scott’s film and very well a political statement meant for our government, I trust no one will miss the big-screen action found in Body of Lies.
City of Ember
directed by Gil Kenan
Pack the Tylenol, get your caffeine fix early and be ready to take your kids to the movies this weekend. City of Ember is packed with enough action and fantasy that kids will be asking, “Harry Potter who?” From the same people who brought you Nim’s Island and The Chronicles of Narnia, Walden Media has once again dipped its hands into the realm of classic children literature and pulled out what looks like another kid-friendly blockbuster. The story centers on two 12-year-olds from the City of Ember, an underground city with a mysterious past. When it begins to run out of power and the lights of Ember begin to fail, it’s up to the two children to find a way out and save their city. With Bill Murray as Ember’s mayor, performances from Tim Robbins and Saoirse Ronan (the little girl from Atonement) and an adult subtext to this vision of an apocalyptic world, the only thing grownups have to worry about is the cacophony of childish screams when the film ends.
directed by John Erick Dowdle
Halloween has come a little early this year with this remake of a Spanish horror movie. The plot is classic for the horror genre: An unsuspecting reporter, played by Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”), plans to cover a story that has her shadowing the Los Angeles Fire Department on their late night shift. Uh-oh. When the crew gets called to an apartment building where horrific screams are heard, they find a woman who has suffered an unknown infection. Their hopes of escape are destroyed when they find that the building has been, that’s right, quarantined and all connections to the outside world are cut off. But what the film may lack in plot, it makes up for in some truly terrifying moments.
directed by Guy Ritchie
The follow-up to 2005’s Revolver, Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla has everyone wondering, “Will he sink or swim? Return to glory or perish with another lame effort?” Riding high from its stay at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, where it received overwhelming praise, RocknRolla seems to hark back to the same cold, London grittiness Ritchie explored in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. In fact, the story is standard Ritchie: As an ensemble of underworld criminals and wannabes (played by an ensemble cast that includes Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Jeremy Piven and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) try to get their hands on a share of a Russian mobster’s scammed millions, the film becomes It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World… with lots of guns and insane pyrotechnics. All of this means the result will have critics split down the middle—another part of Richie’s cinematic standards.
directed by Mike Leigh
The cooling weather reminds us that it is awards season in Tinseltown. While it should have been a summer movie, Happy-Go-Lucky was delayed until October as to be considered with other “serious” movies. Had Mike Leigh not scored three Oscar nominations for Vera Drake, it might seem like an odd choice. Happy-Go-Lucky is the story of a young woman named Poppy who, as you may have guessed, is happy-go-lucky. Poppy must deal with her friends and family who refuse to believe that she is happy. While it might score better as a date movie than an Oscar contender, it looks endearing and heartwarming.