Are We Done Yet?
directed by Steve Carr
Ever wonder, “Gee, what would a knock-off of The Money Pit starring Ice Cube look like?” Yeah, me neither. But that’s unfortunately what we’re getting in this sequel to Are We There Yet? called, ironically, Are We Done Yet? Nick Persons (Cube) is running out of space in his home since his new, large family moved in. So when his wife, Suzanne (Nia Long), tells him she’s having a baby, Nick packs up and moves out to the country. The family finds a fixer-upper that’s more than they bargained for, forcing the family to shout, “Are we done yet?” Funny, that’s what we’ll be shouting at the screen at the end of this second installment in a (hopefully) short-lived franchise. Also starring John C. McGinley, Aleisha Allen and Philip Bolden.
directed by Todd Holland
Firehouse Dog is that old, stock Hollywood tale of a superstar action-movie-hero dog that gets lost during the height of his stardom, is found roaming the streets as a dingy stray by a friendless kid and is begrudgingly taken in by the kid’s fireman dad before discovering that the dog is really special. This kind of movie is a dime a dozen! Okay, maybe not. But it’s good, alternative family-oriented programming in a release week dominated by horror and exploitation flicks. Starring Bruce Greenwood, Josh Hutcherson and Bill Nunn.
directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez turn their love of exploitation films and the seedy, run-down theaters that played them (called “grindhouse cinemas”) into this “double-feature.” Tarantino contributes Death Proof, a thriller about a crazy, murderous driver (Kurt Russell) cutting a swath of terror wherever he goes. Rodriguez’s film, Planet Terror, finds a group of humans fighting for survival against an army of zombies. Grindhouse could either be an inspired trip into film history or an exercise in self-indulgence. But whatever the outcome, it’s bound to be one of the biggest films of the spring. Also starring Rose McGowan, Josh Brolin, Freddy Rodriguez, Michael Biehn, Rosario Dawson, Zoe Bell and Nicky Katt.
directed by Lasse HallstrÃ¶m
Director Lasse HallstrÃ¶m can be kind of hit or miss, but when he’s on, he’s on. And with The Hoax, he looks to be in good form. Clifford Irving (Richard Gere) is an author who keeps striking out with his book pitches until he comes up with the idea to write the “most important book of the 20th century”â€”an authorized biography of reclusive eccentric Howard Hughes. Clifford gets a $1 million advance and enlists the help of Dick Susskind (Alfred Molina). Problem is, the whole thing’s a scam: No Hughes, no book, no nothing. HallstrÃ¶m takes a page out of Spielberg’s book, crafting a Catch Me If You Can-style dramedy with a slight thriller edge. Also starring Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Stanley Tucci, Julie Delpy and Eli Wallach.
directed by Stephen Hopkins
If there are two constants in Hollywood, they are that good female roles dry up as the actor gets older and that Best Actress winners have trouble finding roles up to their talents. (See Diane Keaton’s career and Catwoman for examples.) The latter now applies to Hilary Swank. How else to explain her appearance in The Reaping, a biblical horror film about as scary as the Left Behind series? It seems a small town is being inundated with the 10 biblical plaguesâ€”you know, locusts, rivers of blood, etc.â€”and a former Christian missionary (Swank) comes to “debunk” what the town is going through. Let’s pray for Swank’s sake it’s not a dud of biblical proportions; an eleventh plague if you will. Also starring David Morrissey, Idris Elba, AnnaSophia Robb and Stephen Rea.
â€”Dante A. Ciampaglia