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Movie News & Reviews
Opening this week
Article published on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011
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[Image]
Photo by TRACY BENNETT
Jennifer Aniston, left, and Adam Sandler star in Columbia Pictures' comedy “Just Go With It.”
Tatum stars in historical drama while Shakespeare’s work goes to the gnomes. A number of new movies hit theaters this week, including the following films opening in wide release.

The Eagle

Genre: Action, foreign and drama
Cast: Jamie Bell, Channing Tatum, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim and Donald Sutherland
Director: Kevin MacDonald
Rated: PG-13

In second-century Britain, two men – master and slave – venture beyond the edge of the known world on a dangerous and obsessive quest that will push them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism.

In 140 AD, the Roman Empire extends all the way to Britain – though its grasp is incomplete, as the rebellious tribes of Caledonia (today's Scotland) hold sway in the far North. Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) arrives in Britain, determined to restore the tarnished reputation of his father, Flavius Aquila. It was 20 years earlier that Rome's 5,000-strong Ninth Legion, under the command of Flavius and carrying their golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth, marched north into Caledonia. They never returned; Legion and Eagle simply vanished into the mists. Angered, the Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered the building of a wall to seal off the territory; Hadrian's Wall became the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire – the edge of the known world.

Driven to become a brilliant soldier and now given command of a small fort in the southwest, Marcus bravely leads his troops during a siege. Commended by Rome for his bravery, yet discharged from the army because of his severe wounds, Marcus convalesces, demoralized, in the villa of his Uncle Aquila (Donald Sutherland), a retired army man. When Marcus impulsively gets a young Briton's life spared at a gladiatorial contest, Aquila buys the Briton, Esca (Jamie Bell), to be Marcus' slave. Marcus is dismissive of Esca, who harbors a seething hatred of all things Roman. Yet Esca vows to serve the man who has saved his life.

Hearing a rumor that the Eagle has been seen in a tribal temple in the far north, Marcus is galvanized into action, and sets off with Esca across Hadrian's Wall. But the highlands of Caledonia are a vast and savage wilderness, and Marcus must rely on his slave to navigate the region. When they encounter ex-Roman soldier Guern (Mark Strong), Marcus realizes that the mystery of his father's disappearance may well be linked to the secret of his own slave's identity and loyalty – a secret all the more pressing when the two come face-to-face with the warriors of the fearsome Seal Prince (Tahar Rahim).

Gnomeo & Juliet

Genre: Comedy, musical and animated
Cast: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Maggie Smith, Ashley Jensen and Matt Lucas
Director: Kelly Asbury
Rated: G

In the upcoming animated comedy adventure “Gnomeo & Juliet,” Shakespeare’s revered tale gets a comical, off-the-wall makeover.

Directed by Kelly Asbury and showcasing both classic and original songs by Elton John, the film features the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt as Gnomeo and Juliet, who have as many obstacles to overcome as their quasi namesakes when they are caught up in a feud between

neighbors. But with plastic pink flamingos and thrilling lawnmower races in the mix, can this young couple find lasting happiness?

Just Go With It

Genre: Comedy and romance
Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson, Brooklyn Decker, Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck
Director: Dennis Dugan
Rated: PG-13

In “Just Go With It,” a plastic surgeon, romancing a much younger schoolteacher, enlists his loyal assistant to pretend to be his soon to be ex-wife, in order to cover up a careless lie.

When more lies backfire, the assistant's kids become involved, and everyone heads off for a weekend in Hawaii that will change all their lives.

The following will open in limited release. It may be several weeks before these films appear in local movie theaters.

Cedar Rapids

Genre: Comedy and drama
Cast: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Stephen Root
Director: Miguel Arteta
Rated: R

In Miguel Arteta’s new comedy “Cedar Rapids,” to call insurance agent Tim Lippe (Ed Helms), “naďve” is a gross understatement.

Lippe’s never left his small hometown. He’s never stayed at a hotel. And he’s never experienced anything like Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sent to represent his company at the annual insurance convention, Tim is soon distracted by three convention veterans (John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who will show him the ropes and push his boundaries. For a guy who plays everything by the book, this convention will be anything but conventional.

Carancho

Genre: Foreign and thriller
Cast: Ricardo Darin and Martina Gusman
Director: Pablo Trapero
Not rated

Sosa (Ricardo Darín) is an ambulance-chasing personal injury attorney with questionable ethics.

Lujan (Martina Gusman) is a young, idealistic country doctor new to the city. After Lujan and Sosa's paths repeatedly cross, the two form an unlikely romance that is threatened by Sosa’s turbulent past. With traffics accidents as the number one cause of death in Argentina, bodies are currency and a black market strives to get rich from the personal tragedies that literally litter the streets.

Vidal Sassoon: The Movie

Genre: Documentary and biopic
Cast: Vidal Sassoon, Mary Quant, John Frieda, Peggy Moffitt and Ronnie Sassoon
Director: Craig Teper
Rated: PG

Vidal Sassoon is more than just a hairdresser – he's a rock star, an artist, a craftsman who "changed the world with a pair of scissors."

With the geometric, Bauhaus-inspired hairdos, he pioneered in the 1960s and his "wash and wear" philosophy that liberated generations of women from the tyranny of the salon, Sassoon revolutionized the art of hairstyling and left an indelible mark on popular culture. This documentary traces with visual gusto the life of a self-made man whose passion and perseverance took him from a Jewish orphanage in London to the absolute pinnacle of his craft.
Article published on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011
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