Computers de-age Jeff Bridges; Reese Witherspoon dates men; Kevin Spacey corrupts the government. Who gets your ticket money?
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
Even as someone who was the right age to be part of the target market for the original TRON, I'm baffled by the existence of this extremely tardy sequel. I don't remember anyone really loving the original, despite all the hype about special effects created by computers, of all things — in fact, we were more excited about the TRON videogame than the movie itself. But Disney's market research must have indicated an appetite for a return to the virtual world of light cycles and glowing discs, so they've reportedly invested some $200 million in this follow-up featuring Garrett Hedlund as the son of original hacker Jeff Bridges, who is still trapped in the cyber-universe. My curiosity about this movie begins and ends with the CGI rendition of young Jeff Bridges, which could either be a cool conceit or a digital disaster. Aside from that novelty, I have no desire to revisit the world of TRON… unless I can track down a vintage edition of the videogame.
Director: James L. Brooks
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, Jack Nicholson
On the one hand, this is yet another romantic comedy in which Reese Witherspoon finds herself torn between a loutish jackass and a charming nice guy — in this case, Owen Wilson as a dim-bulb baseball player and Paul Rudd as a corporate executive under indictment for wire fraud. On the other hand, How Do You Know is written and directed by James L. Brooks, and features a supporting performance by Jack Nicholson as Rudd's father and boss. The Brooks/Nicholson tandem has a pretty good track record, including Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News, so I'm willing to take the chance that their latest outing amounts to something more than the standard Witherspoon rom-com.
Director: George Hickenlooper
Cast: Kevin Spacey
With all due respect to the late George Hickenlooper, who died of an accidental painkiller overdose just weeks before this final film he directed arrives in theaters, I've already seen Casino Jack — or, more accurately, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, the Alex Gibney documentary about super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff released earlier this year. That chilling real-life portrait of out-of-control greed and corruption was more than enough Abramoff for me, so I really don't need to see Kevin Spacey reenacting Abramoff's greatest hits. It's sad, really: a decade ago I would have paid to watch Spacey read the phone book, but his body of work since then has been so inexplicably unbearable, I'm not sure I can remember why I liked him in the first place. In any case, this is not the comeback vehicle I've been waiting for.
The One Movie You Should See This Week: How Do You Know