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What's New in Theaters This Weekend: February 17, 2012

From Left: Nicholas Cage, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon. (Photos by: Pacific Coast News, Getty Images)

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Directed by: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Ciarin Hinds, Idris Elba

The second installment of the comic book adaptation comes out Friday, but don't look for it to be any better than the first. These films have totally bastardized the amazing comic book by destroying the dark elements and replacing them with theater-friendly cheese in order to play to kids and a wider audience. The biggest mistake was casting Nicholas Cage (who I love; he's just too old) to play Johnny Blaze. The Rider deserved much much better and I pray a real adaptation will happen down the line. Where's Alex Proyas when you need him?
See it? NO.

This Means War
Directed by: McG
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Chelsea Handler

The plot: two top CIA agents discover they are dating the same woman and proceed to wage war on one another using their superspy expertise and savvy. Destined to be fodder for critics, This Means War will have a place on date night, but will disappoint. The attempt to appeal to a young male/female demographic is so transparent, it's insulting. This is a movie that was conceived by marketing gurus in some think tank in Reseda.
See it? God no.

Bullhead (Limited)
Directed by: Michael R. Roskam
Starring: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Jeanne Dandoy

Nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category for this year's Academy Awards, Bullhead gets a limited run here in the States. The film follows the story of a young Belgian
cattle farmer who is approached to make an deal with a notorious beef trader. Hailed by critics around the world for its tense storyline and Mattias Schoenaerts' poignant unnerving performance, Bullhead deserves a shot if you are not gunshy about your theater-going experience. Fans of Nicholas Winding Refn's Bronson should take notice, but this is not the film to take your little sister to.
See it? Yes.

The Secret World of Arrietty (Limited)
Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Starring: Bridgit Mendler, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett (voices)

The Clock family are a family of four-inch tall Liliputians who live in the recesses of a house inhabited by human beings. Arrietty is the youngest Clock and the family's world changes when she is discovered by the young boy who lives in the house. Inspired by The Borrowers, Arrietty was made by the same studio which made the best animated film of the past decade: Spirited Away. It should be an adventure for the entire family.
See it? Yes.

The Lady (Limited)
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Michelle Yeoh,
David Thewlis

The true story of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner who became Burma's (now Myanmar) national hero. The film follows Suu Kyi's political career and subsequent house arrest, but also focuses on her relationship with her husband, Michael Aris, a writer. Met with mixed reviews from critics, The Lady is an unlikely project for Luc Besson who is much more well-known for his action prowess (The Fifth Element, Leon). Usually biopics of this nature are met with some excitement, but The Lady has generated zero buzz. The performances should be worth seeing though, as Yeoh and Thewlis are always great, and I trust Besson as a director.
See it? Sure.

Thin Ice (Limited)
Directed by: Jill Sprecher
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup, Alan Arkin, Lea Thompson

Marred by controversy after a positive showing at Sundance last year, Jill Sprecher's film was re-edited by ATO Pictures after they bought the distribution rights. Originally titled, The Convincer, Thin Ice does not have the director's stamp of approval but has received generally positive reviews nevertheless. The black comedy follows a con-man insurance salesman who concocts a plan to steal a valuable violin from an elderly client. Judging from the trailer, Crudup's performance is reason enough to see the film.
See it? Yes.

View Billy Crudup Pictures »
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