Trailer Park: “The Crazies,” “Cop Out,” “A Prophet”

I’m starting to notice that certain types of movies come out at certain times of the year. Family and blockbuster movies all wedge their way into that blissful time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, sappy relationship movies get Valentine’s Day, and all the scary/political/cop/insanity movies come around that depressing end-of-winter-still-no-hope-for-spring time. As if we have nothing better to do than go slowly insane. This week’s releases include “The Crazies,” “Cop Out,” and “A Prophet.” I know “Cop Out” isn’t going to be depressing per se, but every time Kevin Smith directs a movie he didn’t also write, a fairy loses her wings and plummets to her death. And that’s depressing.

The Movie: “The Crazies”
The Trailer: In this remake of the 1973 movie by the same name, an unidentified toxic chemical has gotten into a small Iowa town’s water, making the townspeople go crazy and appear zombie-like. The town’s sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) and his physician wife (Radha Mitchell) manage to survive but find themselves in a military compound where the cure seems to be a worse option than zombie-dom. And the chemical leak may not have been an accident.
The Hitch: I used to love horror movies. I’d watch them by myself in the dark, every night. That was when I still thought I was invincible. Now, when I watch movies where God punishes us, or the government tries to kill us all, or it’s simply zombie time, it seems plausible. I don’t really want to imagine my friends turning into “crazies,” but if you’ve got the stomach for it, go knock yourself out. I’ll be preparing for the apocalypse.

The Movie: “Cop Out”
The Trailer: Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan star in this maybe satirical, biracial-buddy cop movie where the team goes after a Mexican drug gang and gets reprimanded by their police chief for being so wacky and unprofessional. As Entertainment Weekly says, “In the Obama era, the notion of blacks and whites having to share an ironic, fraught-with-tension bond seems quaintly dated.” [ET]
The Hitch: This might be the first Kevin Smith movie I don’t run to theaters to see, not because he’s fat (JK!), but because he didn’t write the screenplay. And since he’s not an action director, it has the potential to lack both action and comedy. Plus, Smith’s already been whining on Twitter about how critics take movies too seriously if they hate “Cop Out,” which I take to be a bad sign. It’s really too bad because Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis could be great together, but at least Seann William Scott looks like he was gifted with some funny lines.

The Movie: “A Prophet”
The Trailer: A scared, illiterate French Arab teenager named Malik (Tahar Rahim) is put in prison, but after the head of a Corsican Mob (Niels Arestrup) takes him under his arm/makes him kill a guy, he starts learning the tools he needs to succeed. Malik learns to read, write, spy, drug-smuggle, pit ethnic groups against each other, and cover up brutal murders. He leaves prison as an independent crime boss, hated by both the Corsicans and the Arabs.
The Hitch: Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and winning the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes festival, this gritty crime flick looks pretty fantastic. Not to be all anti-American, but if you’re lucky enough to be in a city with “A Prophet”‘s limited release, don’t bother with the other two movies this week because this looks legitimately good, not just chuckle-and-leave-unfulfilled good.