This week has lots of releases to like, and more than a couple to be curious about. As we gear up for the Academy Awards, we have two films that are nominated, and a new special edition for an eight-time Oscar winner. In addition to those, we have a couple of direct-to-DVD sequels, and a couple of recent films that could be of some interest. Read on and see what there is to see.
This week's pick is The Prestige. If you have not seen this movie, do so as soon as you can. It is a film that is filled with great acting and is tightly scripted, keeping its secrets until it is time for their revelation. It is a movie that will leave you wanting more, and thinking about what has just unfolded before your eyes. It is also nominated for two Academy Awards.
The Prestige was directed and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Nolan has delivered a great string of films, with not a croaker in the bunch. Ever since I first saw Memento I have been a fan, also enjoying Insomnia and his fantastic restart of the Batman mythos in Batman Begins. With The Prestige he continues his trend of creating these films which have a strong human element as well as a tight plot.
This film centers on a career-spanning rivalry, both professional and personal, between a couple of magicians. The magicians are played by Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, with Michael Caine as an enabler and builder of tricks. This is a film that is mesmerizing in its attention to detail and the craft of character as they move along their paths. It is simply a fantastic film that has to be seen to be believed.
Also out this week:
- Babel. Nominated for Best Picture comes this story of personal conflict on a global scale. This is a very good film, but considering the absence of extras, I cannot help but think that another release is not to far away, perhaps saying "Awards Series."
- Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing. This group has had quite a ride over the past couple of years, from being shunned by fans and the music world for taking a political stand that was less than popular, and coming back to win five Grammys not long ago.
- Flushed Away. The box office dud from Aardman studios and their first foray into CG animation offers some nice action, but is all flash and little substance.
- For Your Consideration. Christopher Guest looks at the hype machine in this fictional film. I am looking forward to checking this one out.
- Ghandi. Eight-time Oscar winner gets the special edition treatment.
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit Season 4. I have never seen a single episode of this series, but something tells me I would like it.
- Man of the Year. This was a funny Robin Williams vehicle, where he plays a Jon Stewart-type character who runs for president, and says a lot of what we are thinking.
- Apartment Zero. Thriller from the '80s starring Colin Firth. I know little about it, other than it involves a bizarre relationship between roommates, and it looks like something I would like.
- A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. I have heard much good about this film, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Shia Lebouf.
- Walking Tall: The Payback. I read that this is a sequel in name only. It stars Kevin Sorbo as the one man army.
- Open Water 2: Adrift. Released as Adrift in the UK, it has a story similar to that of its predecessor — a couple go diving, and their boat takes off without them.
- The Wandering Swordsman. Shaw Bros. film which is a take off on the Robin Hood tale. Directed by legend Chang Cheh.
- Night of the Living Dorks. This could be fun; a trio of school outsiders attempt a voodoo ritual and become zombies, and try to fit in at school.
- The Mailman. A thriller about a man who, as a boy, witnesses the brutal murder of his parents and now returns to put the fear into his younger brother who has been adopted in the town.
- Crooked. An action film that features Don "The Dragon" Wilson and Olivier Grunier; how can you go wrong?
- Dark Castle Horror Collection. This collects a number of their horror films into one package. Not the best films ever, but more often than not I found myself enjoying them. Includes: House of Wax, Gothika, Ghost Ship, Thirteen Ghosts, House on Haunted Hill.
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