With the Academy Awards set for Sunday night, you might assume that Hollywood would keep the schedule light this weekend to avoid any possible conflicts of interest. But no! Two films hit theaters today, and one (the 3-D extravaganza Alice in Wonderland) is sure to siphon millions from what could wind up being the Best Picture winner (the 3-D extravaganza Avatar). As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.
Alice in Wonderland
What’s the story: Because what Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland really needed was another dimension, here comes Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland … in 3-D! The macabre director takes the decades-old story of Alice’s adventures and turns them into a theme park of oversaturated visuals and unnecessary effects. The result winds up being far less trippy and moody than we had anticipated. It would be nice to say that the talented cast saves this Alice from tumbling down the rabbit hole, but alas, they don’t. As the orange-wigged Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp mails his performance in with double postage, and Mia Wasikowska’s Alice is utterly boring. Only Anne Hathaway—slinking in and out of every scene like a modern day Norma Desmond as the White Queen—seems be having any fun at all. Alice in Wonderland has gotten some good notices, but we found the film odorous to the nth degree. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Who should see it: Carrot Top.
What’s the story: Think of Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest as a greatest hits package. That’s because if you watch the awesome trailer (“Run This Town,” for the win!), you’ll no doubt think of Training Day, New Jack City, Internal Affairs and Traffic, among many other cops and crooks movies. Yet since those titles are all pretty badass, the overabundance of clichés seems perfectly okay. Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle star as the cops, and Wesley Snipes (no, not that “Wesley Snipes“) plays a drug kingpin not all that dissimilar to Nino Brown from the aforementioned New Jack City. The reviews have been solid and unspectacular—our Sara Vilkomerson found Brooklyn’s Finest perfectly average—but if you’re in the mood for some law and order, you could do a whole lot worse. Like Cop Out, for instance.
Who should see it: Ray Kelly.