Written & Directed by: Robert Rodriguez Starring: Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alan Cumming
My Advice: Matinee.
Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez (Banderas and Gugino) are the world’s greatest spies. No, really. They just look like entrenched suburbanites, minivan and all. They have two very intelligent, energetic kids (Vega and Sabara). Everything’s just peachy. But when the past comes calling, and they get pulled out of retirement, they get more than they bargained for. Captured–because they’re just a little rusty–that leaves “Uncle Felix” (Cheech Marin) to get the children to safety. Alone and outgunned, the children decide that they’re going to have to claim their spy heritage–and get their parents back themselves.
The problem with movies for kids these days is that there’s very little in them for the adults that inevitably must chaperone the tykes. Hollywood, for the most part–there are exceptions, has forgotten how to give things levels. The best example, of course, are the Looney Tunes. You watch them when you’re a munchkin, and you love them. You come back to them as an adult and go: “Whoa–I had no idea–!” Such is the fun of Spy Kids, not to mention the mind-blowing concept of the man who brought us From Dusk Till Dawn doing a family movie. And doing a family movie that actually works as outlined above. Who knew?
Written and Directed by: Guy Ritchie Starring: Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Alan Ford, Dennis Farina, Benicio Del Toro
My Advice: Matinee
Turkish (Statham) is a boxing promoter. He and his partner, Tommy (Stephen Graham), just want to do their fights, make their money, and get on with it. But their search for a new trailer/headquarters leads them to a gypsy camp, which leads them to pissing off the local heavy, Brick Top (Ford), which…which, well, after several various iterations leads them to a huge, flawless diamond that nearly everybody wants. Picture It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but with a diamond instead of a hidden treasure. Oh, and British accents. And guns.
First thing that needs to be established is that this film feels almost like a highly polished version of Guy Ritchie‘s prior and debut film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Granted, a lot of the same faces make appearances: Ford, Statham, Vinnie Jones, Jason Flemyng to name a few. But the trouble is, you can’t come down too hard on it–because it’s just so damn funny. And because it’s got that damn dog. And the funniest thing about the dog was imagining the foley artist who had to work that squeak toy. No, I’m not going to explain myself–go see the movie yourself.
Written by: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch & Casey Robinson, based on the play Everybody Comes to Rick’s by Joan Allison & Murray Burnett Directed by: Michael Curtiz Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Dooley Wilson
“You Must Remember This,” a documentary hosted by Lauren Bacall
All-new introduction by Lauren Bacall
Theatrical trailer for the film, along with several other classic Bogart flicks
Released by: Warner Brothers Region: 1 Rating: NR Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 ratio
Written by: Simon Moore Directed by: Alastair Reid Starring: Bill Paterson, Lindsay Duncan, Jamal Shah, Fritz MÃ¼ller-Scherz, Julia Ormond
Cast and crew filmographies
Interviews with Moore and producer Brian Eastman
Released by: Acorn Media Region: 1 Rating: NR Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Rent it.
Drugs and the people who take them and the war being waged on those people. It’s a big story to be told, with many different sides to deal with–and none of them are pretty. Submitted for your approval: a British government minister (Paterson) assigned to deal with Pakistan, a terrific exporter of heroin to all of Europe; a woman (Duncan) who discovers that the way by which her husband (Knut Hinz) finances their good life is through trafficking the stuff; an opium farmer (Shah) driven out of his given trade by a government who wants to prove to the Brits that they are deserving of monetary aid. How these people’s lives interact with one another across international lines and how they are all affected by humanity’s need to leave one’s cares behind forms the backbone for one helluva sprawling epic.
Written by Alan Moore Pencils by J.H. Williams III Inks by Mick Gray Colors by Jeromy Cox Letters by Todd Klein Published by DC/Wildstorm/America’s Best Comics. Price: $2.99
My Verdict: More, please.
Sophie, as Promethea, continues to help Barbara, a former and still Promethea, in her search for her deceased husband. In the meantime, back on Earth, Stacia, the stand-in for Sophie, who is now also Promethea–makes a new set of rules.
Part of the fun of Promethea for me is that it’s what I imagine reading a comic book by Robert Anton Wilson would be like. Filled and overflowing with ideas about ontology, it continues to push the envelope for what can be discussed in a so-called “superhero” comic book. Promethea may be the titular character of the series, but the true story is about stories–and how they factor in our lives. Even our afterlives.
Written by: David Ayer, Erik Bergquist & Gary Scott Thompson, based on a story by Gary Scott Thompson, which was in turn based on a magazine article by Ken Li Directed by: Rob Cohen Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Ted Levine
My Advice: Wait for Cable.
Brian Spindler (Walker) is a newcomer to an underground world of illegal street racing, a place where people put more torque and power into automobiles than would be required to shoot those selfsame autos somewhere into geosynchronous orbit. The king of street racing is one Dom Toretto (Diesel), who also happens to have a sister (Brewster) that catches Brian’s eye. As Brian learns to be a player in this strange new existence, it appears that Dom might be leading a secret double life–because Brian sure as hell is.