Friday, November 11, 2005

Movies opening this week

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Joy Bryant, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, dir. Jim Sheridan)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I actually sort of expected to like this, since Ebert & Roeper gave it a good review (not always a good indicator, but what they said sounded appealing), Sheridan is talented and the similar 8 Mile turned out to be pretty good (although somewhat overrated, I think). I was hoping this would at least be as good as 8 Mile, and possibly be better as a drama, given Sheridan's involvement. Sadly, those hopes were ill-founded, as this is a predictable and familiar gangster movie that doesn't say anything new about street life or about music, and Fiddy is a terrible actor. Oh well. It'll make a gajillion dollars anyway, as long as all the moviegoers don't get shot. Wide release

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, dir. Shane Black)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
This movie has likely secured a place on my year-end best-of list, even though it's not remotely serious or particularly thought provoking (unless those thoughts are about trying to catch obscure in-jokes). It's probably the most fun I've had at a movie this year, and it's incredibly well-crafted, and I think those are virtues that are often overlooked when people decide what the "best" movies are. This is pretty much pure entertainment, but it's got great writing and wonderful performances and it keeps your interest for its entire running time. As far as I'm concerned, that makes for a great movie. Opened limited Oct. 21; wide release this week

Zathura (Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, dir. Jon Favreau)
I didn't exactly think this would be a masterpiece, but previews and early reviews led me to believe that it would be fun and light and entertaining. Favreau definitely showed he could make a good kids movie that appeals to adults with Elf. But this was much worse than I was expecting, with only a handful of amusing moments. Most of it was heavy-handed and poorly paced, and rather than engendering suspense it just made me feel impatient. The worst part was that the two main characters, brothers aged six and ten, were incredibly unlikable to the point where I wanted to smack them around a bit. They learn lessons and all, because it's a family film, but even by the end I still sort of thought they were assholes. Wide release

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