What should I be doing instead of this?
March 20th, 2009 By Jason Gargano | Movies |

Friday Movie Roundup: Nic Cage, Man-Love & Double Agents


David Lynch once called Nicolas Cage ''the jazz musician of actors.'' So what happened, Nic? A quick glance at your recent movies includes stuff like Bangkok Dangerous, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Next, Ghost Rider and Wicker Man. That’s like Charlie Parker deciding to do Kenny G covers.

On the plus side, I notice you’re in German wildman Werner Herzog’s next movie, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which I assume has something to do with the fearless, old-school Cage-like character Harvey Keitel played in Bad Lieutenant. Then there’s your nuanced, surprisingly restrained performance in this week’s release, Knowing, a decent building block in what I hope is the rehabilitation of a formerly fearless, singular performer (for proof see Valley Girl, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Vampire's Kiss and Wild at Heart, the most recent of which was nearly two decades ago).

Elsewhere, the largely uninspiring post-awards-/pre-summer-season dumping ground known as February and March gets a jolt of relevance with the local release of Laurent Cantet’s The Class, Palme d’Or winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. (Read Steven Rosen’s full-length review here.)

Tony Gilroy follows up his excellent directorial debut Michael Clayton with Duplicity, which is drawing mixed reviews for its convoluted plot machinations and its mix of frothy romanticism (courtesy of Clive Owen and Julia Roberts) and espionage thrills. (Personally, I'm down with just about anything Clive wants to do.)

Finally, the always-welcome Paul Rudd is back in yet another Apatow-like comedy, this one a “bromance” co-starring Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Jason Segal.

Opening films:

THE CLASS — French director Laurent Cantet sees the classroom as its own world, as well as a microcosm of the larger one with all its simmering class tensions. Not one scene of this Palme d’Or-winning tale takes place outside the aging Parisian inner-city junior high school where the film is set; very few scenes even occur outside the classroom where Francois (Francois Begaudeau) teaches French. (Read full-length review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — Steven Rosen (Rated PG-13.) Grade: B

DUPLICITY — Writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) runs his ship aground with a smarty-pants crime romance set amid the world of corporate espionage. Stars Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson. (Read full-length review here.) (Opens wide today.) — Cole Smithey (Rated PG-13.) Grade: C-

I LOVE YOU, MANI Love You, Man is the latest movie to test the blooming “bromance” waters. Into this free man-loving world we encounter Peter (Paul Rudd), a newly and quite happily engaged guy with a beautiful fiancé (Rashida Jones) and absolutely no male friends, which is a problem when he realizes he has no best man. (Read full-length review here.) (Opens wide today.) — tt stern-enzi (Rated R.) Grade: C

KNOWING — Director Alex Proyas is back with another supernatural thriller set apart by a creeping darkness and sleek, seamless special effects. Nicolas Cage gives a surprisingly subtle performance as a man struggling to save not just his son but also the whole of humanity. (Read full-length review here.) (Opens wide today.) — Jason Gargano (Rated PG-13.) Grade: B-

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