The Hills Have Eyes II
directed by Martin Weisz
In the preview for this sequel to the remake of the 1970s cult exploitation horror classic, one of the hill people drag “you” in a sack to their lair. (See, the camera is bound in the sack, where you’re supposed to be, and you’re pulled along the rocky terrain. Clever, huh?) Funny, that might be the only way a large number of people will see this ill-conceived exercise in quick-cash-in moviemaking. You know the drill: People get lured to the mountain and are killed by mutated hill people in gruesome ways. Save a few bucks and rent the original. Starring Jessica Stroup, Reshad Strik, Michael McMillian, Daniella Alonso and Lee Thompson Young.
directed by Sunu Gonera
This “inspired by true events” sports story deserves credit for thinking outside the gridiron. Pride takes place in a community center and is centered on Jim Ellis (Terrence Howard) starting up an all-black swim team for troubled teens. Racism, classism, politics and ignorance are all used in an attempt to tear down the swim team and the community center where they compete. There aren’t many swimming films out there, so Pride is already ahead of the pack. Of course, the film sinks or swims in its ability to rise above the sappy tide of teary sports movies convention. Also starring Bernie Mac, Kevin Phillips, Evan Ross and Nate Parker.
Reign Over Me
directed by Mike Binder
Adam Sandler is in full-on dramatic mode in this story of Charlie Fineman (Sandler) who loses his family in the September 11 attacks in New York City. When he runs into his old college roommate, Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle), the reclusive, disheveled Charlie begins to emerge from his shell. But it’s a precarious breakthrough as Alan navigates his way through Charlie’s emotional minefields in this exploration of the emotional and psychological fall-out resulting from 9/11. Also starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, Cicely Tyson and Donald Sutherland.
directed by Antoine Fuqua
The set-up of Shooter sounds retread: Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) is a hardened military man, recruited into the service of his country by former colleague Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) to prevent an assassination attempt on the president because Bob Lee is the best marksman in town. But thanks to director Antoine Fuqua’s skilled, action-oriented eye and Wahlberg’s intensity, Shooter looks like a no-holds-barred, R-rated action film for adults-something that’s increasingly rare nowadays. Also starring Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Rhona Mitra and Ned Beatty.
directed by Kevin Munroe
The last time the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were on the big screen, they were traveling through time, pitching pizzas and going on concert tours. This time, the heroes in a half shell-Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo-return to theaters in an animated form, closer in tone to their comic book counterparts than the previous live-action incarnations. The Turtles’ arch-rival, Shredder, is “defeated” prior to TMNT, leaving the ninjas to repel an evil industrialist trying to take over the world by raising ancient monsters. Might not be as epic as the to-the-death battles with Shredder, but it’s still nice to have the Turtles back. Starring the voices of Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ziyi Zhang, Mako and Chris Evans.