Movies

The One Movie You Should See This Week

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Javier Bardem sees dead people, Anthony Hopkins cashes in, and Jason Statham does something with guns. Who gets your ticket money?

Biutiful

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Maricel Álvarez
Cast: Javier Bardem

The skies are grey, my car is buried under a mountain of snow, temperatures are near zero, I'm fighting a cold, and they're predicting another blizzard tomorrow. So what can my local art house offer to ease my winter misery? Why, Best Actor nominee Javier Bardem as a dying man who runs a sweatshop, of course! Wheeee! Yet, like Matt Damon in the previously unseen-by-me Hereafter, Bardem's character can also communicate with the recently deceased, which makes the story a bit more interesting. Not only that, but once (a long time ago) director Alejandro González Iñárritu blew my socks off with his Tarantino-esque dogfighting triptych Amores Perrosall of which should make his latest release a slam dunk for this week's One Movie honors. However, despite raves for Bardem's performance, Biutiful has otherwise received middling reviews, and Iñárritu's self-important auteurial histrionics in Babel and the godawful 21 Grams don't exactly bode well for the entertainment potential of his latest laff riot. So I'm guessing this one's a pass — unless, of course, the rest of the week's releases are nothing but January B-movie landfill fodder. (And what are the odds of that happening?)

The Rite

Director: Mikael Håfström
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue, Alice Braga

Oh, to be one of Anthony Hopkins' lucky grandchildren. At seventy-four-years young, the actor shows no sign of slowing down, and — having already scored knighthood and a Best Picture Oscar — he's apparently got nothing left to prove. Thus, like Michael Caine in his prime, the actor will take any role now if the money's right, apparently just to get out of the house and pad the eventual inheritance of his descendants. And thus, following his memorable turn as Hrothgar in Beowulf and an old-ass werewolf in The Wolfman (not to mention his upcoming role as Odin in Thor), Sir Anthony now graces the screen battling demons as a Vatican exorcist — which actually sounds kinda fun, come to think of it.

The Mechanic

Director: Simon West
Cast: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Tony Goldwyn

Finally (since I can't really picture any circumstances where I'd willingly purchase a ticket for the week's other release, From Prada to Nada), there's this Jason Statham virile-bald-guy remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson shoot-em-up, The Mechanic. As in The Italian Job, Statham's character must once again avenge the murder of Donald Sutherland — and, as in nearly every other Statham film, I'm guessing he'll do so as non-violently as possible. Just kidding. I'm sure there'll be plenty of fine carnage, but if I'm gonna beat the winter blahs with some B-movie nonsense this week (rather than gloomy Iñárrituey bombast), then I guess I'll probably go with The Rite. And yet, since I can't in good conscience recommend what seems bound to be a schlocky potboiler as the One Movie You Should See, my recommendation is…

The One Movie You Should See This Week: Any of the Oscar nominees you haven't seen yet.