The post-awards/pre-summer movie season trudges on with a curious collection of releases in a variety of genres: we’ve got another romantic comedy starring Jennifer "I Do Movies to Get a Boyfriend" Aniston (The Bounty Hunter), a futuristic thriller (Repo Men), a family-friendly teen thing (The Wimpy Kid Diaries) and even a 3-D IMAX documentary (Hubble).
What? No reboots or remakes or reimaginings this week? Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long to get your creatively bankrupt, risk-averse Hollywood fix — a remake of the Clash of the Titans, which someone recently reminded me was the feature movie debut of Harry Hamlin, opens in a few weeks.
But, as you’ve probably discerned by looking at CityBeat’s print-edition cover, the most interesting movie release this week is The Most Dangerous Man in America, an incisive documentary centering on Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers that eventual led to the end of Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War. (Read my interview with its co-director Rick Goldsmith here and my review below).
Whether you agree with Ellsberg’s actions or not, there is no denying that he put what he thought what was right ahead of his politics, his career and his personal well-being (he faced more 100 years in prison if found guilty of violating the Espionage Act, among other charges.) All of which begs the question: Where is the Daniel Ellsberg of today?
THE BOUNTY HUNTER — One day Jennifer Aniston will get over being dumped by Brad Pitt. Until then it seems we’ll get a steady stream romantic comedies in which she’s paired with hunky dudes like Gerard Butler — who, yes, doubles as her real-life man of the moment. Andy Tennant, the guy behind such easily digestible Hollywood fare as Ever After, Sweet Home Alabama and Hitch, directs a script by Sarah Thorp. (Opens wide today.) — Jason Gargano (Rated PG-13.) Review coming soon
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID — The curiously named Thor Freudenthal (Hotel for Dogs) directs this live-action adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s illustrated novel about a snide kid (Zachary Gordon) adapting to the perils of middle school. The ubiquitous Steve Zahn plays his dad. (Opens wide today.) — JG (Rated PG.) Review coming soon
HUBBLE 3-D — Leonardo DiCaprio effectively narrates this 43-minute IMAX 3-D journey into the farthest reaches of outer space. The film follows the astronaut crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on its 2009 rescue mission (named STS-125) to repair the ailing Hubble Space Telescope. (Opens today at IMAX theaters.) — Cole Smithey (Not Rated.) Grade: B-plus
THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA — Co-directors Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith’s Oscar-nominated documentary looks at the events that compelled Daniel Ellsberg, a former Marine and defense department staffer, to leak the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in an effort to stop what he deemed an unjust Vietnam War. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — JG (Not Rated.) Grade: A-
REPO MEN — Jude Law and Forrest Whitaker team up in this futuristic thriller about best friends who work as repo men for a company that sells human organs on credit. If the trailer is any indication, expect something along the lines of Blade Runner meets Repo: The Genetic Opera. Miguel Sapochnik directs a cast that also includes Alice Braga, Liev Schreiber and Carice van Houten. (Opens wide today.) — JG (Rated R.) Review coming soon