Opening This Weekend: Another Eddie Murphy Bomb, Denzel Washington and John Travolta Take the Subway, and, Sam Rockwell, Space Oddity

With June Gloom in full swing (apparently it’s not just for California anymore!), perhaps it might be best to spend the weekend watching some movies. Three titles hit theaters today, and, as usual, there is something for everyone. As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.

Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

What’s the story: A remake of the 1974 film of the same name, Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 finds an M.T.A. dispatcher (Denzel Washington, in full everyman regalia) thrust into work as an amateur hostage negotiator, after a criminal mastermind (John Travolta, doing his Broken Arrow bad-guy routine) takes forceful charge of a New York City subway. With a good supporting cast of recognizable New York types (James Gandolfini as the mayor; John Turturro as a cop; Luis Guzman as, well, Luis Guzman) and action kingpin Tony Scott behind the camera, Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 looks like it’ll be a bit of dumb summer fun for adults. Or, it could be Money Train.

Who should see it: M.T.A. president Howard H. Roberts, Jr.

Imagine That

What’s the story: In his continuing quest for a mantle full of Razzie Awards, Eddie Murphy stars as an overworked executive who uses tips from his daughter’s imaginary friends to help further his career. Seriously, that’s the plot. We’re pretty sure taking your kids to see Imagine That qualifies as some sort of crime. Do everyone a favor and go see Up again instead.

Who should see it: Norbit.


What’s the story: While “in space, no one can hear you scream,” in a movie theater, all bets are off. In this creepy science fiction mood piece, Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut preparing to return home to earth following a three-year trip to the moon when he encounters something bizarre. Hint: It’s himself! Moon comes from director Duncan Jones (better known as David Bowie’s son) and looks to be an appropriately tense throwback to films like 2001; there’s even a HAL-like computer, voiced by Kevin Spacey. The reviews have been pretty spectacular, and our Sara Vilkomerson particularly loved the way Mr. Jones ratchets up the anxiety and suspense. Eek! We have a feeling this is one of those movies we’ll be watching through covered eyes.

Who should see it: Major Tom.