Film Openings

Week of January 12, 2006

Jan 11, 2006 at 4:00 am
Glory Road. (PG) Reviewed in this issue. ARN, CGX, CC12, DP, EG, EQ, GL, J14, MR, OF, RON, SP, STCH, STCL, WO

Hoodwinked!. (PG) The exclamation point suggests a hint of desperation; no need to shout, dude. But it's like everything else about this CG revisionist take on Little Red Riding Hood: a little too loud, and a lot too boring. (And how, precisely, it takes three people to write a movie that's 70 minutes long and owes most of its plot and dialogue to Fletch is a mystery only a Weinstein Co. accountant could figure.) In short, Hoodwinked! plays like a direct-to-airplane release, a low-budget Shrek redo in which Little Red Riding Hood (voiced by Anne Hathaway, who's a long way from Brokeback Mountain) is a bike-riding, pepper-spray-toting toughie with an X-Games granny (Glenn Close, sooo slumming it) who's being followed by the Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton), who's on the trail of a "goodies" dealer operating out of the woods. It's told in flashback and what appears to be Macromedia Flash animation; I've seen Webtoons with more style. Andy Dick's in it too; reason enough to stay away right there. (Robert Wilonsky) ARN, CGX, CC12, DP, GL, J14, KEN, MR, OF, RON, STCH, STCL, WO

Last Holiday. (PG-13) A remake of a 1950 Alec Guinness movie — which shows you how some standards have just utterly deteriorated in the last half-century — Last Holiday stars Queen Latifah as Georgia Byrd, a woman who works in the cookwares section of a department store and aspires to be a gourmet chef. When a CAT scan reveals brain tumors, Georgia goes into carpe diem mode, quitting her job, cashing in her savings, and flying to the Czech Republic. Being a conspicuous big spender, she is mistaken for someone much more powerful and influential than she is by wealthy egomaniac Kragen (Timothy Hutton), who just happens to be CEO of the store where Georgia worked. So Kragen tries to figure out who she really is, and that's pretty much the whole plot. This appears to be a movie whose sole reason for existing was to give cast and crew an excuse to stay in a great vacation resort. Latifah, as usual, gives the stiff rich whiteys a lesson in being sassy. Yawn. (Luke Y. Thompson) ARN, CGX, CC12, DP, EG, EQ, GL, J14, KEN, MR, OF, RON, SP, STCH, STCL, WO

Tristan & Isolde. (PG-13) Kevin Reynolds' sword-clanging, skull-bashing war epic will probably appeal more to fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championships than to students of medieval myth. The beautiful young lovers of Celtic legend — here played by James Franco (who suggests a young Warren Beatty) and the gorgeous British starlet Sophia Myles — are full of passion and nobility, but screenwriter Dean Georgaris has almost no sense of language (you yearn for a touch of Romeo and Juliet), and the classic tale of forbidden love is constantly trumped by the movie's casual violence. Cinematographer Arthur Reinhart gives everything a rough period reality (a night wedding scene, complete with flaming barges, is spectacular), but director Reynolds (Waterworld) strikes a bad bargain between bloody action and classic myth. With Rufus Sewell as brave King Marke and David Patrick O'Hara as the devious Irish king, Donnchadh. (Gallo) ARN, CGX, CW10, CC12, DP, GL, J14, MR, OF, RON, STCH