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The One Movie You Should See This Week
Johnny Depp slums it, Helen Mirren casts spells, and Ben Affleck gets fired. Who gets your ticket money?
By Andrew Osborne
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie
Time is running out, and I'm not just talking about the ever-dwindling number of shopping days until Christmas. No, for cinéastes, the true stress of the holiday season is finding time to cram in as many films as possible before cooking up year-end top tens. (And, on a related note, stay tuned for Nerve's upcoming Best of 2010 list from yours truly and my One Movie You Should See colleague, Scott Von Doviak.) Fortunately, mainstream Hollywood eases my burden a bit this week with The Tourist, the sort of by-the-numbers international tuxedoes-and-speedboats thriller that might have given me a good excuse to soak up multiplex air conditioning back in August, but which I simply don't have time for now with so many other films vying for my attention. If Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck were the comically mellifluous name of the film's hero and not its director, it might at least have inspired another enjoyably over-the-top performance from Johnny Depp. Since the actor seems to be in dull action-hero mode this time around, however, I'm guessing it's safe to give The Tourist a pass.
Director: Julie Taymor
Cast: Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Djimon Hounsou, Alan Cumming, Alfred Molina
Meanwhile, given that I'm already behind on my cinematic adaptations of fantastical literature, I'm afraid The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is right out of the running this week as well (even with the generally reliable Michael Apted at the helm). But The Tempest has even stronger magic on its side thanks to the involvement of Julie Taymor, whose inventive, theatrical style is a (super)natural match for Shakespearean grandeur (as opposed to, say, the goofy Beatles karaoke of her Across the Universe). And with Helen Mirren gender-bending the Head-Wizard-in-Charge role of "Prospera," this artsy offering could balance out the holiday junk food on my plate with a healthy dose of iambic nutrition.
Director: John Wells
Cast: Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Maria Bello
However, when it comes to prestige-picture roughage, my ultimate pick is this downsizing downer from John Wells, a respected TV veteran making his big-screen debut as writer/director. Ordinarily, this spot would have gone to the newest release from Hollywood's most talented asshole, David O. Russell, whose Three Kings and Flirting With Disaster are two of my all-time favorite flicks. But despite The Fighter's talented cast, I simply have a low tolerance for boxing pictures, and therefore would much rather enjoy the karmic smackdown visited upon The Company Men's corporate tools (including Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, and Kevin Costner in a role praised by Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman as the finest character work of the actor's career). So I reckon this is my Top One Movie to see this week... right after Marwencol. And I Love You, Phillip Morris. And...
The One Movie You Should See This Week: The Company Men