It’s a long weekend for some of us, which means you’ve got a whole ‘nother evening to spend. Hooray! And because I know you’re indecisive, like me, I’m just going to tell you what you’re gonna do. You’re going to take your best friend/lover/dog to Red Lobster for cheddar biscuits and Lobsteritas. She/he/it will have the Cajun Shrimp Linguine, and you’ll be having the Surf & Turf. Afterward, you’ll go to the movie theater because there is already a slew of amazing movies out, and now there are five more options — “The Book of Eli,” “The Last Station,” “The Spy Next Door,” “Wonderful Life,” and “Fish Tank.” You will end the night with a goodnight kiss, regardless of who your date was. Fin.
The Movie: “The Book of Eli”
The Trailer: Another post-apocalyptic thriller with nomads and fighting and lots of dust. This time Eli (Denzel Washington) carries a book which might be the key to save mankind … it also might be a leather-bound King James bible, and, of course, everyone (including Gary Oldman) wants to steal it. Mila Kunis hops on board to help protect the book.
The Hitch: Directed by the Hughes brothers (“Menace II Society”, “From Hell”), “The Book of Eli” appears to be in the same vein of “The Road” with the nomadic cannibalistic road jerks, but with big special effects. I’m nervous about the significance of the bible, but I’m more nervous by Entertainment Weekly‘s review.
The Movie: “The Last Station”
The Trailer: Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy) signs on as Leo Tolstoy’s (Christopher Plummer) new assistant. After Tolstoy decides to live in poverty and celibacy, his wife and muse Countess Sofya (Helen Mirren) becomes convinced that her husband’s disciple, Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), is manipulating him. And when Tolstoy changes his will to leave his work to the Russian people instead of his family, she uses all of her methods to turn the tables.
The Hitch: I really wish I weren’t this simple, but as soon as James McAvoy showed up on the screen, I knew I was going to see this movie. Not to mention, it’s the story of Tolstoy, one of the world’s greatest novelists, and his relationship with his wife, which went from joyful to “one of the unhappiest in literary history,” according to British journalist A.N. Wilson. And if there’s going to be a story of deceit, manipulation, and lust, it’s always more intriguing when it’s backed by history.
The Movie: “The Spy Next Door”
The Trailer: Former CIA agent Bob Ho (Jackie Chan) agrees to babysit his next door neighbor’s (Amber Valletta) kids. When one of them accidentally downloads a top-secret formula, Ho is forced to get back in the spy business to stop a Russian terrorist, with the help of the youngsters.
The Hitch: Jackie Chan needs a new agent.
The Movie: “Wonderful World”
The Trailer: A bummed-out, divorced, former kids singer (Matthew Broderick) spends his days at a dead-end job and his evenings playing chess with his Senegalese roommate (Michael K. Williams). When his roommate goes into a diabetic coma, his sister (Sanaa Lathan) comes to the rescue and manages to save Broderick as well.
The Hitch: Watching a depressed middle-aged guy who’s going nowhere with his life and splitting his living space with a roommate who is just a hanging sheet away is a little too close to my dating pool to be much fun to watch. But there is always something nice about movies where fathers are trying to make a connection with their daughters, as it’s such a fascinating and awkward bond. This is just out on limited release though, so catch it quick!
The Movie: “Fish Tank”
The Trailer: Mia (Katie Jarvis) is an angsty British teenage girl who lives in a housing project with her hussy mother and agro little sister. She’s a loner who practices hip-hop dancing in an abandoned apartment. When her mom makes a hunky new friend named Connor (Michael Fassbender from “Inglourious Basterds”), she develops feelings she didn’t know she was capable of having.
The Hitch: Also opening in limited release (and On Demand starting Jan. 27), “Fish Tank” looks to be a fantastic portrait of all that awful hormonal adolescence mess combined with lower-class British struggles. Newcomer Katie Jarvis was discovered while screaming at her boyfriend on a train platform (best discovery story ever), and lends an unpretentious realism to her character.