It’s quite possible that the only geek sacred cow more overrated than Boba Fett is director Robert Rodriguez. So forgive us if we aren’t tossing bouquets at the news that Mr. Rodriguez plans on reigniting the Predator franchise for 20th Century Fox. Don’t get us wrong: We happen to love the original Predator, but we can only imagine how campy and low-rent another sequel will feel with Austin’s favorite son behind the camera. Despite the fact that he continues to get studio films—the director’s slate is so full that we wouldn’t expect to see Predators until sometime after 2011—Mr. Rodriguez’s skill has been in straight decline for the better part of a decade. When you’ve made 11 movies and you’ve only managed to become an eighth-rate John Carpenter, something is amiss. If there is a silver lining to find in this story, it rests with Fox, which is assured of Predators (catchy title) grossing plenty of money whenever it hits screens. You won’t find many fanboys at the theaters this weekend—they’ll be too busy saving up to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine next week—but there are still a whopping six movies opening for the rest of us to check out. As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.
What’s the story: Idris Elba is having a bit of a moment. In the last month, the man formerly known as The Wire’s Stringer Bell has appeared as the antagonist in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, spent a few weeks getting under the skin of everyone at Dunder Mifflin on The Office and now stars with Beyoncé and Ali Larter in the umpteenth revamp of the Fatal Attraction model. To wit: a successful businessman has an almost-fling with the office temp, who then tries to ruin his life. That Obsessed sounds especially like the 1993 Timothy Hutton–Lara Flynn Boyle film The Temp is not lost on us.
Who should see it: Lara Flynn Boyle.
What’s the story: The title gets right to the point. Channing Tatum (the male Megan Fox) stars as a Southern counterfeiter (!) who moves to New York and winds up becoming an underground street fighter. Terrence Howard appears as his shady con artist manager, a part we can only assume he took after Marvel screwed him out of a payday for Iron Man 2. Damn Marvel!
Who should see it: Ryan Atwood.
What’s the story: If it feels like you’ve seen ads for The Soloist for the better part of a year, that’s probably because you have. The onetime Oscar contender was pushed back from its November release date to April because Paramount felt it would have gotten lost in the shuffle amid all the other competition. An adaptation of the best-selling book about a Los Angeles Times columnist who befriends a schizophrenic and homeless cellist, the film has gotten fairly mixed reviews, mostly drawing positive notices for its two stars, Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. Frankly, we just want to see it because the trailer makes us cry like little children.
Who should see it: Itzhak Perlman.
What’s the story: An adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis book of the same name, The Informers has the honor of being one of the worst reviewed films of the year (it has a 15 percent Fresh rating over at Rotten Tomatoes). Our Rex Reed calls it “[a] rancid load of swill,” and that those are the first five words of his review should tell you something. Stay away.
Who should see it: Patrick Bateman.
What’s the story: Director James Tobak’s critically acclaimed documentary about Mike Tyson opens today, positioning itself as the confessions of a broken man. That’s fine, but haven’t we heard Iron Mike’s story enough by now? If we’re going to see him on the big screen this year, we’ll just wait for Mr. Tyson’s cameo in The Hangover. We doubt anything in Tyson could be as eye opening as the former champ singing “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins.
Who should see it: Evander Holyfield.
What’s the story: This documentary opened Wednesday (on Earth Day, natch) to a slew of surprising controversy. The G-rating was cast in doubt because of the film’s animal-on-animal violence, while the artistic merit was questioned because 70 percent of the footage has been rehashed from the BBC series Planet Earth. About that violence: If kids can handle the near annihilation of the human race (Wall*E, we’re looking at you), they should be fine here.
Who should see it: Al Gore.