Around the Multiplex: Alice in Brooklyn’s Finest Secret

This week, three films spanning the fantastic, the mundane, and the just plain weird hits the screens, namely: Alice in Wonderland, Brooklyn’s Finest, and The Secret of Kells. We’ll take a look at the trailers and let you know whether or not you should see these in theaters, when they turn into home entertainment, or to avoid them when they come out on TV. Let’s start things off with the big name, huh?

The Secret of Kells or “Ancient Castle Battles”

This animated film by the producers of the Triplets of Belleville is apparently an Oscar contender for Best Animated Film, so it’s kind of weird that it’s only being released in the US (and only in New York, at that) the same weekend as the awards show. Don’t ask me – my money’s on Coraline besides, mostly because Neil Gaiman rocks. Anyway – let’s get a gander at the trailer:

The story, which appears to be a young man’s quest to save medieval Kells from an invading Viking army, seems un-convoluted and married to an elegant, fluid  animation style both simple and breathtaking. If it weren’t going up against Coraline, I might even have voted for it. On initial reaction, I’d give it four of five  shape-shifting wolf-women on seeing it in theaters if you can, and five of five for seeing it when it comes out on DVD.

Brooklyn’s Finest or “Cops With Probs”

So you’ve got Richard Gere, who plays a nearly-retired cop not coping with the 20 years he’s got on the force  (presumably he’s seen some pretty hard feltchers); Don Cheadle, whose secret undercover life is getting him down and pushing him to his limits; and Ethan Hawke, an expectant father with a crazy-ass back tattoo, whose morals are pushed when his sting uncovers a lot of cash.

This one feels to me like Crash meets Training Day, which would be good for these guys, because they both took home Oscars. This certainly looks like something the Academy might nominate, but it being so early in the year (and so close to the event for last year’s contenders) who could say for certain. I’m not sure, particularly, whether opening this weekend is a good idea for this film – is it trying to draw a direct correlation between itself and the Oscars? Only time will tell if the tactic works. In the meantime, let’s look at the trailer.

Can I take a moment to mention how much I love Jay-Z? Damn straight “you can call me Caesar,” though maybe 99 Problems would have been more appropriate; there may be no artist more quintessential to a New York dirty cop story. Back to point.

This movie actually looks worth the price of admission – a schadenfreude-filled romp, certainly, but well-scripted, teeming with action, personality, devastation, and what appear to be, speaking off a trailer, wicked performances. There’s no way this one’s going to out-perform the next flick on our list, but if it does vie for an Oscar in 2011, opening this early’ll give it the chance to get out on DVD and be more widely seen round awards time, unlike our friend Kells up there.

Alice in Wonderland or “Holy Crap, Did I Really Just See That?

It’s an irrefutable partnership that dominates the box-office every time they put out a movie together, since they first teamed up 20 years ago . Never one to be outdone visually, Tim Burton (and Johnny Depp) presents his (their) interpretation of the fabled Lewis Carroll story on the, holy-jam-packed with ocular candy morsels that are stuck to, the big screen. I can (and will) jabber on at great lengths on this topic, which was actually one of the first stories on Worlds As Myth, but Burton’s the one with the captive audience. Here:

This one’s jam-packed with more great actors than you can shake a Jabberwocky at: Depp (The Mad Hatter) and Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen) because it’s a Burton movie and he has to put them in; Anne Hathaway (The White Queen), Alan Rickman (The Caterpillar), Matt Lucas (Krod Mandoon; Tweedles: Dee and Dum), Crispin Glover (Back to the Future, Willard; Knave of Hearts), Stephen Fry (V for Vendetta, Narrator for LittleBigPlanet and Harry Potter movies; Cheshire Cat), Michael Sheen (Underworld, Frost/Nixon; White Rabbit), Timothy Spall {Harry Potters, Wormtail; Bayard}, and starring, in the titular role of Alice – Mia Wasikowska (Amelia, Defiance), whose name is about to become a household device. Undoubtedly an upcoming Oscar contender, undoubtedly for Visual Effects and presumably for Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and maybe even Actor for Depp (it’s about time I’d say, and may be the right vehicle: just look at Charlize Theron taking one home for changing her appearance drastically, though there may be an industry double-standard when it comes to dashing men making themselves unfuckable in film, so who knows?).

It would be a waste of my time and yours to go into any great detail trying to persuade you one way or another, because this may be the film to unseat the record set by a whiny vampire dramadey (without good actors like these), though I’d previously predicted that wouldn’t happen until Iron Man 2 – I’ll take a hit to my accuracy to unseat inept film-making.

Have a good time at Alice in Box Office Explosion folks – see you next week with Oscar prediction results.

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Filed under Around the Multiplex, Celebrities, Literary, Movies, Moving Pictures, News

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