The Rock's The Game Plan has been the number one movie in the country for two weeks in a row. I'm sorry, but that is just sad. When an ex-wrestler makes a Disney movie and it beats out a film with one of this decade's funniest actors, (Ben Stiller!) its wrong.
This weekend offers several films that could well be future Oscar contenders.
After Dorchester homie, Mark Wahlberg received an Oscar nomination for his hard-headed role as Sargent Sean Dignam in The Departed, he probably thought playing a cop in any movie would give him the clout he needs to win the coveted, bald statue.
This weekend, he stars in We Own the Night alongside Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes. This crime drama centers around brotherly conflict. Joaquin Phoenix plays nightclub owner, Bobby Green, who becomes involved in an underground Russian Mafia scandal. His cop brother, Joseph Grusinsky (played by Marky-Mark) and deputy father (Robert Duvall) get involved, chaos ensues and Bobby is forced to chose the side of crime or to save his family.
According to "The Buzz" on IMDB:
"It's like The Departed -- except they're brothers! And they know it! Anyone jonesing for some post-"Sopranos" mafia action should get their fix with this one. Although director Gray's serving up more borscht than spaghetti, as his Yards crew reunites to take on the Russians and a bad guy who looks like he should be fronting Gogol Bordello. Phoenix, who had us at "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash," looks equally sneering and sweaty here, while fellow Oscar nom Wahlberg has come a long way since the Funky ... See? We can't even say it. Adding Duvall as their daddy makes this one of the most perfectly solid casts we've seen all year; from what we've heard, they have to work extra hard to make up for."
Also opening tomorrow is Michael Clayton, the lawyer drama starring George Clooney. The film marks writer Tony Gilroy's directorial debut.
According to an article in yesterday's Washington Post, this film brings back a nostalgia for flicks from the 1970s, the tumultuous years when every movie that hit the theater became an instant classic.
"As subtle and unflashy as "Michael Clayton" is, it feels both nostalgic and incredibly fresh, reminding viewers that movies weren't always about fireballs, flatulence and merch-friendly franchises. Many viewers will no doubt walk out of "Michael Clayton" not just puzzling over its plot twists, but wondering why so many movies in the '70s were this good, and why so few today are. "The audience [then] was tuned up for that kind of movie," Tony Gilroy says. "That's what people expected when they went to the movies."
This film follows in house "fixer" lawyer, Michael Clayton who works for one of New York City's biggest corporate law firms. His basic job is to "take care of" the dirty work involved in his bosses' lives but when one of them sabotages a case for his own good, Clayton has a lot of work to do to mend everything (and one) involved.
According to the review in the New York Times:
"He works in that rarefied gray zone where the barely legal meets the almost criminal and takes lunch at the private club. Michael isn’t a member of that club; he just mops up its mess, soothes its Botoxed brow and slips a fat envelope of thank you to inconvenient witnesses. There’s a dirty kind of glamour to this world, with its rich trappings and its Ivy League smilers with their gutting knives. Its ugliness seduces as much as it repels and entertains."
Another film that stars one of my favorite actors, Ryan Gosling, is the indie-flick Lars and the Real Girl. My suggestion to whomever reads this is to go rent Gosling's Oscar nominated performance in Half Nelson. His performance as a drug addicted inner city junior high school teacher makes me think he can turn any role he is given into an award winning performance.
Lars follows Gosling as the namesake, a 27 year-old churchgoing boy who lives his life day by day and never ventures out of his small town nor his brother's house. For a change of pace, he buys a plastic doll over the Internet. The doll becomes his "girlfriend" Bianca, a Brazilian model whom he introduces to everyone. His family and everyone else in the town, embrace it and according to the New York Times, "go along with his fantasy."
The movie, was written by Six Feet Under alum, Nancy Oliver and directed by Craig Gillespie.
"Judging from early reviews, there are film critics who are worried that people will never hear Ms. Oliver’s humanistic message because of the prurient-sounding plot. “‘Lars’ might at first sound like a movie you wouldn’t want your kids to see,” is how The Hollywood Reporter put it, “but it has a heart of gold.”
All of the films opening this coming weekend sound intriguing and really, anything is better than The Rock.