After nearly a year of its trailers playing before seemingly everything at The Carolina, The Lone Ranger at last rides into town. Reuniting the lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean trio of director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and star Johnny Depp, the film looks at how John Reid (The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer) went from a western lawman to a dealer in justice with the help of his Native American pal, Tonto (Depp). So many seemingly key images have been revealed in the previews that few surprises appear to remain, but hopefully these sights will prove far less telling. I’ll find out when the action/adventure flick opens Wednesday, as will half of the civilized world.
I recently caught up with Despicable Me and found it to be one of the most enjoyable animated features around. As the holiday’s family friendly answer to The Lone Ranger, Despicable Me 2 checks in with super villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell), whose heart may have been warmed by adopting three young girls, but still has a job to do. This go-round, he’s recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help take down a powerful new criminal. Russell Brand returns as Gru’s gadget-master Dr. Nefarious and is joined by newcomers Kristen Wiig, Steve Coogan, Benjamin Bratt, and the distinct nasally goodness of Kristen Schaal. The minions will begin inhabiting the projection booth on Wednesday.
The week’s art pick is We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney’s look at the notorious site and its founder, Julian Assange. At 130 minutes, it’s a good deal too long and Gibney’s presentation of the information is questionable, but the film overall is still pretty interesting. Look for my review on Friday, the same day the film opens at the Carolina.
Fleeing the Scene
Star Trek Into Darkness and The Bling Ring are heading out on Wednesday. Also, Mud, Before Midnight, This Is the End, Much Ado About Nothing, and Now You See Me (basically, the year’s best and/or most entertaining films) are all nearing the end of their runs at the Carolina, so make time for them if you haven’t already.
Apparently confident that few folks will seek home viewing this holiday week, DVD distributors are withholding any major releases. The main attractions are a pair of documentaries: The House I Live In, Eugene Jarecki’s hard-hitting (though ultimately bland) look at the War on Drugs and Venus and Serena, about tennis’ Williams sisters.
On Netflix Instant
I’ve been waiting for both the “burn and sue” documentary Hot Coffee and Pusher, Luis Prieto’s remake of an early work by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive; Bronson), to become available, and now they are. Elsewhere, Terrence Howard’s police officer attempts to talk a suicidal Charlie Hunnam down from The Ledge; literary hero Billy Coleman (Stewart Peterson) attempts to find Where the Red Fern Grows; and Hansel & Gretel Get Baked in a “modern stoner fairy tale” that in no way seeks to ride the coattails of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
But that’s not all! Being a new month, the vaults are again reopened, bringing with them:
- Barefoot in the Park
- Benny and Joon
- The Boxer (after which Daniel Day-Lewis took a five-year break and emerged a beast)
- Can’t Hardly Wait (hello, late ’90s nostalgia!)
- Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (George Clooney’s underrated directorial debut)
- Heaven Can Wait
- The Interruptors
- Ken Burns’ Prohibition
- Little Man Tate (Jodie Foster’s directorial debut)
- The Mighty Quinn (early Denzel Washington)
- New Girl (Season 1)
- Nick of Time (after all, it is a big month for Johnny Depp)
- The Parallax View (apparently a big month for Warren Beatty, too)
- Personal Velocity (written/directed by Day-Lewis’ wife and Arthur Miller’s daughter, Rebecca Miller)
- The Truman Show
- Twins (to prepare for the upcoming Triplets, which adds Eddie Murphy to the bunch. I wish I was kidding.)