5/17/2012 4:06:00 PM
1. RED TAILS: George Lucas is the producer, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. stars along with Terence Howard and Gerald McRaney in this based-on-fact story of the Tuskeegee Airmen, and all-African American squadron that showed the right stuff in the skies overItaly in 1944. Racial discrimination kept the team out of the most serious fights, leaving them to shoot trains on the ground while the white pilots fought the good fight with the Luftwaffe. One significant event changed all that, and soon the Airmen were in the heart of the action. Did a disappointing $49 million at the box office – George Lucas financed it with $58 million of his own money, and another $35 million to promote it. I thought it was a terrific depiction of how things were in WWII – maybe I was relatively alone in that! Rated 14A.
2. THE WOMAN IN BLACK: Daniel Radcliffe leaves his Harry Potter role far behind as he plays Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer sent to settle an estate in an old, Victorian mansion in the early decades of the 20th century, in a remote part of the British Isles. Initially, it’s all about mood, as we learn of terrible missing and dead children cases that seem to emanate from the house, and later, find out the awful secret that it harbours. An excellent horror-chiller with no blood, no slash-and-grab, just full-out scary stuff as the Woman of the title makes her presence known, and when she does so, a child in the nearby village dies. NoHollywood ending to this one, which was originally a stage play. Rated 14A.
3. THIS MEANS WAR: I had a hard time warming up to this supposedly romantic comedy about two CIA operatives who learn they are dating the same girl. Reese Witherspoon is the object of their affections, and Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Tom Hardy (Warrior) are the guys. Once the secret is out, each tries to sabotage the other in a series of sometimes comedic, and sometimes outright mean ploys and tactics. The problem I had here was that it was neither an action spy thriller, nor a real rom-com, but rather fell somewhere in between, an odd hybrid. Made big money though – less than $30 million to produce, so far more than $80 million at the box office. Rated 14A.
4. RICK’S PICK: RED TAILS: George Lucas had been sitting on this script for more than 15 years … no studio was prepared to make it, largely because of the subject matter … let’s hops that the DVD release will at least help him break even!
6. AT THE MOVIES: BATTLESHIP / WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING/ THE DICTATOR: Outstanding special effects movie about aliens invading earth / A comedy about romance and babies in five parts / For “Borat” lovers only … I’m not a fan of Sasha Baron Cohen!
7. OPENING THIS WEEKEND: /MEN IN BLACK 3 / CHERNOBYL DIARIES: Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones again … and time travel comes into play / Horror thriller about the aftermath of the events that led to the meltdown of the Russian nuclear reactor.