This weekend, with Halloween safely behind us, along with the obligatory blood-spurting-zombies-eat-your-face-and-rip-your-guts-out gore flicks (please see Saw IV’s $32 million-plus box office gobble last weekend), we can happily hunker down and see a bloodbath the way we like it—all artistic like! The violent, gripping, and thoroughly entertaining American Gangster hits theaters this weekend, bringing the unsurprisingly stellar performances of Denzel Washington—who truly is a movie star, and for our money could out-charisma a Pitt or a Clooney if he had the opportunity—and Russell Crowe. This is the third teaming between Gangster director Ridley Scott and Mr. Crowe (Gladiator in 2000 and the mostly unseen A Good Year in 2006, which had the burly Aussie going for a bit of ill-advised physical comedy). The actor has gone, in our mind, full circle: There was the hey-that-guy-is-amazing era of L.A. Confidential and The Insider, which reached its zenith when Gladiator walked off with the Best Picture Oscar. Then there were the dark Proof of Life, icky Meg Ryan romance and throwing-phone-at-a-hotel-clerk days. American Gangster will remind you why we all made such a fuss over Mr. Crowe in the first place. Mr. Washington may have the showier hoo-ha part as the charismatic Frank Lucas, a notorious real-life Harlem hustler, but Mr. Crowe quietly shines as good guy cop Richie Roberts.
American Gangster opens Friday at Regal Union Square and Battery Park, Chelsea Clearview and AMC Magic Johnson theaters.
Jerry Seinfeld is back with the big budget and much buzzed over (sorry, we had to!) Bee Movie. Flexing his multimillionaire muscle, Mr. Seinfeld has recruited all sorts of fancy friends to his cause: Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Oprah, Sting, Ray Liotta (the hell?), Kathy Bates, Patrick Warburton (Puddy!) and (in the lead) Renée Zellweger lend their voices to the animated film. We’d explain the plot but … does it really matter? The tag line is “Hold on to your honey.” Okay? The real question is whether all those die-hard Seinfeld fans will turn out to pay $10.50 for this new Jerry-lite.
Bee Movie opens Friday at Regal Union Square, E-Walk (Times Square) and Battery Park, as well as Clearview First and 62nd.
Last up, a small romantic comedy starring a man that women have been fantasizing about since the Lloyd Dobler days: John Cusack in the oddly titled Martian Child. (Come on, New Line, is that the best you can do?) Mr. Cusack plays a science fiction writer who adopts a boy who believes he is from Mars and seems to spend a great deal of time in a cardboard box. Judging from the trailers, it actually looks quite sweet—and we’re always happy when Mr. Cusack’s real-life sister, the reliably awesome Joan Cusack, shows up in his films. Amanda Peet, whom we still miss seeing on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, plays the lady love. Isn’t it weird that Mr. Cusack is now playing the dad parts? Look for him to reprise fatherhood in next month’s Grace Is Gone, in a role some are saying might get him an Oscar.
Martian Child opens Friday at Chelsea Clearview and Regal Battery Park.