This Week

by Alan Rapp on August 28, 2006

in Film News & Trailers

So what’s out there this week?  Well today we’ll take a look at the films scheduled to be released on Friday.  They include hip-hop street basketballers stylin’ and profilin’ in Crossover, Jason Stratham going all Rambo on everybody’s ass in Crank, and Nicholas Cage in the remake of the 1973 horror flick The Wicker Man.

We’ll also give you the scoop of films out this week in limited release like the new documentary examining the MPAA – This Film is Not Yet Rated, Lassie runs cross country again, Edward Burns’ latest Looking for Kitty, as well as the latest from Yimou Zhang titled Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles.

All that plus a few films in limited release hitting the big time like The Illusionist, Once in a Lifetime, The Quiet, and Trust the Man.

All that and more; c’mon in and let us get you ready for the week!

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Here’s what’s scheduled to hit theaters this week.  Want to know more?  Just click on the title for film info including a full cast list.  Want a closer look?  Just click on the poster to watch the trailer.

Opening Friday:

Crossover

Think ESPN promoting street basketball.  Um, yeah.  Silly tale of “secret” underground basketball league with their own uniforms, bling’d out court, stars, cheerleaders, and gambling.  The film stars Wesley Jordan and Anthony Mackie who get drawn into the games, money, ladies, and lifestyle furnished by promoter Vaughn (Wayne Brady).  Forgettable movie that contains a no name cast, poor acting (the “actresses” were obviously chosen for their “talents” considering their lack of talent), a ridiculous premise, but does carry a nice message about the importance of education over basketball, money, and fame.  Check back Friday for our review.

Crank

Jason Statham (The Transporter) plays a hitman on a rampage after he’s been poisoned and only has 24 hours to retrieve a doomsday device from the penal colony of Los Angeles to get the cure, and he must keep his heart rate above 55 mph or the bus will explode.  Amy Smart, Juan Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Reno Wilson, and Dwight Yokum (?) also star.  Written and directed by the first time team of Mark Neveldine, a former stunt coordinator (The Siege), and Brain Taylor, a former cinematographer (The Mothman Prophecies).  What could possibly go wrong?  That sound you hear is two trains on a collision course.

The Wicker Man

Directed by Robin Hardy, the film stars Christopher Lee and Brit Ekland …whoops!  That was the the original!  Writer/director Neil LaBute (Your Friends and Neighbors, In the Company of Men) takes a new look at the Anthony Shaffer novel and tries to add his own spin on the mysterious disappearance of a young girl.  Nicholas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Kate Behan, and Leelee Sobieski star.  Another horror remake?  Didn’t anybody learn their lesson from The Omen?  Though the film’s early comparisons to The Exorcism of Emily Rose do leave me a little curious just what LeBute has in mind for these characters.

Currently in Limited Release, Opening Wide on Friday:

The Illusionist

Edward Norton as a magician?  Hmmm…  A magician (Norton) uses his abilities to win the love of a noble woman (Jessica Beil) from the Crown Prince of Vienna (Rufus Sewell), who is determined to prove the magician a fraud with the help of his chief inspector (Paul Giamatti).  The big question here is can the film overcome the curse of Jessica Beil – who somehow always chooses the worst films to star in (Blade Trinity, Summer Catch, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Stealth, Elizabethtown).  There’s not enough magic in the world to kill this curse!  Opens wide on Friday (check out our review).

Once in a Lifetime (limited)

ESPN Films tells the story of the rise and fall of the first great American soccer team in the 1970’s that brought Pele to America – The NY Cosmos.  Filled with footage and music of the time, the documentary also includes new interviews as it looks back at the short period when soccer took America by storm and captured the hearts and minds of millions.  Narrated by Matt Dillon the film has appearances from Marv Albert, Mia Hamm, Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, and more.  Soccer fans should eat this up, but will wider audiences give it a chance?  Currently in limited release (read our review here), it opens wide on Friday.

The Quiet

After the death of her father, an unpopular deaf high school student (Camilla Belle) moves in with a cheerleader (Elisha Cuthbert) and her parents (Edie Falco, Martin Donovan).  Her arrival leads to a series of discoveries as secrets and lies are exposed.  The latest from Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader) also stars Shawn Ashmore, Katy Mixon, and Shannon Woodward.  The film opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles.  An interesting but flawed film much in the same vein as the recently released The Night Listener (seriously, what’s up with Hollywood and incest films lately?).  It opens in wide release Friday (check out our review).

Trust the Man

Writer/director Bart Freundlich’s (World Traveler, The Myth of Fingerprints) latest is about a couple of friends (David Duchovny, Billy Crudup) and their screwed-up relationships with the women they love (Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal).  The supporting cast includes Justin Bartha, James LeGros, Eva Mendes, Ellen Barkin, Dagmara Dominczyk, and Garry Shandling.  Despite a near year long run at various film festivals the film has brought neither high praise, nor marketable anger.  Looks like what you see is what you get.  Currently in limited release, the film opens wide on Friday; check back for our review.

Opening Friday in Limited Release:

Lassie

What’s that Timmy?  Lassie’s stuck in yet another remake?  Oh, no!  What will we do now?  Writer/director Charles Sturridge (Where Angels Fear to Tread) goes where many have gone before in telling the story of a boy and his dog.  In a remake of Lassie Come Home, the story involves Lassie traveling hundreds of miles across the country to find her family after she’s sold to an evil and abusive Scottish bloke.  Samantha Morton, John Lynch, Peter O’Toole, and Peter Dinklage star.  It’s been years since the last attempt, will kids today even know who Lassie is?  Or care?  It opens Friday in select cities.

This Film is Not Yet Rated

Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick (

, Showgirls: Glitz & Angst) examines the MPAA, the Motion Picture Association of America, also known as those crazy people who decide what rating (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17) to give to films.  Filled with interviews from stars, directors, studio execs and more, the film tries to pen down how the MPAA decides to rate a film and why gratuitous violence is more acceptable than nudity.  Of course the documentary is unrated, which sadly means several of the big movie chains won’t screen it.  It opens exclusively in New York and Los Angeles on Friday; look for it in a fine arts theater near you this winter.

Mutual Appreciation

The second film from writer/director Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha) finds a musician (Justin Rice) trying to form a band after his arrival in New York City.  With the help of a radio DJ (Seung-Min Lee), who has her sights on him, and his old friend Lawrence (Andrew Bujalski) he just might succeed – if he can keep his obvious attraction for Lawrence’s girlfriend (Rachel Clift) a secret.  Pamela Corkey, Kevin Micka, Ralph Tyler, Bill Morrison, Tamara Luzeckyi, Kate Dolenmayer, and Peter Pentz also star.  The film opens exclusively in New York on Friday; look for a slowly widening release over the next few months.

Looking for Kitty

Writer/director/actor Edward Burns (She’s the One, The Brothers McMullen) gives us the story of a New York high school basketball coach (David Krumholtz) who searches for his missing wife with the help of a private eye (Burns) dealing with the loss of his own wife.  The only clue is a newspaper photograph of a rock star and his groupies, one which just might be Kitty.  Connie Britton, Rachel Dratch, Max Baker, Elizabeth Regen, Max Baker, and Craig Carlisle also star.  Expect Burns trademark traits including loving shots of the Big Apple and snappy dialogue.  The film opens today in limited release. 

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (Qian li zou dan qi)

Yimou Zhang (House of Flying Daggers, Hero) puts away the swords and special effects for a more personal tale.  A father (Ken Takakura) attempts to make amends with his dying estranged son (Kiichi Nakai) who refuses to see him by traveling from Japan to China to video tape an opera star’s legendary performance and complete his son’s documentary.  Presented in both Mandarin and Japanese, with English subtitles and was filmed on the Yunnan peninsula in China and in Tokyo, Japan.  The film opens today in limited release; look for it in the coming weeks at an art house near you.

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