Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What's New in Blu? (Week of Oct. 12)

“Three Kings” (R)
Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze, Nora Dunn, Jamie Kennedy, Myketi Williamson, Cliff Curtis
Directed by David O. Russell

A war-era movie that has more on its mind than gunfire and explosions, “Three Kings” is by turns exciting, funny, serious and intense. Featuring an impressive performance by George Clooney, clearly demonstrating his ability to hold the screen as a leading man, director David O. Russell brings a unique visual style and strong pacing to the proceedings. With the 1991 Gulf War in its last days, a map is discovered by several soldiers that would seem to indicate a hidden cache of gold bullion stolen by Saddam Hussein’s troops. Sgt. Maj. Archie Gates decides to lead the soldiers (including Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze, in a rare acting role) on a treasure hunt. Predictably, things don’t go quite how the soldiers want. But the direction the story takes and how it is resolved isn’t so predictable. While the film does have a definitive political view, it thankfully avoids getting bogged down in it. Russell keeps the action moving, as it serves the story, even finding a way to lighten the mood in a tense scene with some music from the band Chicago on the soundtrack. It’s an example of a creative moment in a movie that’s filled with them.
Grade: A-

Other releases:
“Deep Blue Sea” (R)
Starring Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane, LL Cool J, Jacqueline McKenzie, Michael Rappaport, Stellan Skarsgard and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by Renny Harlin

“Jonah Hex” (PG-13)
Starring Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Michael Shannon, Michael Fassbender
Directed by Jimmy Hayward

“Leaves of Grass” (R)
Starring Edward Norton, Keri Russell, Tim Blake Nelson, Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon
Directed by Tim Blake Nelson

“Red Dragon” (R)
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson, Mary-Louise Parker, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Directed by Brett Ratner

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