Friday, September 28, 2007

Movies opening this week

The Game Plan (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Madison Pettis, Roselyn Sanchez, Kyra Sedgwick, dir. Andy Fickman)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Maybe I was a little too hard on this movie, which admittedly is not as vulgar or offensive as many alleged "family" films. But it's still really, really annoying and unoriginal, and Pettis is such a smarmy kid star that I seriously wanted to punch her in the face the whole time. I was rooting for Johnson's football player to just dump her in an orphanage. Something about these movies that imply that no one's lives can possibly be fulfilling unless they have children just really bugs me. Wide release

The Kingdom (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom, dir. Peter Berg)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I've been a little surprised at the accusations of jingoism that have been lobbed at this movie by so many critics. Maybe it's just unexpected that a movie dealing with the current situation in the Middle East is not a self-serious drag, but I liked that this took the action-movie approach to the conflict. No, this is not how things really are, and, yes, there is a certain wish-fulfillment element to going over there and kicking some terrorist ass (or at least finding certain specific terrorists responsible for one isolated act), but this film is not simply a gung-ho pro-America fantasy. It shows all that ass-kicking and terrorist-stomping, and then wonders how satisfying it all really is. It questions our wishes even as it fulfills them, and manages to be a decent action movie along the way. And at this point, I'll take car chases and explosions over endless sober reflection on this topic anyway. Wide release

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