YEAH! Are you ready for some Cage’s Festival of Wigs (TM)??? A wig made of FIRE perhaps? That is right, people. Nicolas Cage is BACK as that motorcycle madman from hell (nope this is not “Drive Angry 2“) as the GHOST RIDER in “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” And that’s it, no other movies to see this week. KIDDING, there’s like some Oscar nominated documentaries and foreign films and shit. And Tom Hardy debasing himself in “This Means War” with Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine. But really, it’s all about the Cage this week. When is it not?
Radical rollerblading crazymen Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (the auteurs behind “Crank,” “Crank 2,” and “Gamer“) bring their certain je ne sais quoi to the “Ghost Rider” property, thank you Hay-zoos. Nic Cage is the Ghost Rider, again, flaming head and motorcycle and chain and all. And I believe Idris Elba is in this? Yeah, it’s just like all the goodness you can imagine packed into one movie. Festival of wigs for LIFE. And you know what? We kind of liked it, with our review calling ‘Rider’ “a sleek b-movie action-horror mashup where most Hollywood hacks would need a trilogy.” MC: N/A RT: 12%
Tom Hardy puts a mark on his pretty perfect record with the spy vs. spy meets girl action rom-com “This Means War.” Blah blah Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are spies who are both dating Reese Witherspoon. McG directs. So… there you go. And yes, it’s as terrible as you might expect with our review calling it “a rom-com about love without a single character worth liking [and] an action flick burdened with intermittent bombast.” MC: 32 RT: 24%
The latest animated feature from Studio Ghibli is an adapation of “The Secret World of Arrietty,” about tiny, fantastical little people. Or something. I don’t much go in for this kind of thing. BUT, our reviewer, totally does and he says the film is “wry and spirited,” and is “breathlessly told, visually thrilling and emotionally involving.” MC: 80 RT: 92%
Belgium’s Oscar-nominated “Bullhead” hits theaters this weekend, a social drama about a steroid abuser caught up in the shady dealings of mob bosses who control the cattle industry. The directorial debut of Michael R. Roskam, our review says the director “never lets you forget these are real places populated by real people, their worlds clouded and contaminated by off-product animal stimulants. Roskam keeps it real, in other words, but he also keeps it ugly.” The central performance by Matthias Schoenarts is “the movie’s most compelling element, and also what hamstrings its dramatic impact.” MC: 70 RT: 84%
Oscar-nominated doc “Undefeated” tells the story of an underdog high school football team, directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin. Our review from DOC NYC says, “the two filmmakers more than manage to keep their various balls in the air, with none of their five subjects (four people and a game-year) ever getting the short straw,” and “the movie delivers better than most.” MC: 74 RT: 91%
Greg Kinnear and Alan Arkin go toe to toe in Jill Sprecher‘s “Thin Ice” as a Wisconsin shyster insurance salesman and the older man he tries to con, respectively. Our review says the film is “nothing if not consistently lousy,” and “the intolerable nature of their film’s misfit protagonists isn’t a sign of quality any more than a joke made at someone’s expense is a means of bonding with the joke’s target.” MC: 62 RT: 70%
“Michael,” the directorial debut of Michael Haneke casting director Markus Schleinzer, capitalizes on the long term kidnapping events of the past several years, and tells the story of a normal-seeming man keeping a young boy hostage in his home. Our review says the film “doesn’t flinch away from the details, horrific and mundane, of its situation, but also regards them with a kind of faux indifference that can be maddening,” and it “doesn’t find any deeper understanding of its subject, just offers him up in all of his clammy reality, proving that even awful situations can be made banal.” MC: 65 RT: 73%