I've yet to see any of the four opening films this week, which makes evaluating their merits kind of tough. But I can say that after three months of largely uninspiring fare we're finally beginning to get some intriguing movie-house options.—-
Source Code, which contributing writer Scott Renshaw seemed to like despite its flaws, comes courtesy of filmmaker Duncan Jones, who last gave us the curious, mostly effective space oddity Moon, one of the few films to fully take advantage of Sam Rockwell's unique talents. And though tt stern-enzi found it lacking despite its merits, I'm still interested in checking out Kill the Irishman, a true-life gangster flick set in Cleveland that features a supporting role from the ever-creepy Christopher Walken (not to mention Val Kilmer and Vinnie Jones).
I suppose two out of four ain't bad: Hop and Insidious both look fairly painful — at least from the admittedly incomplete surface perspective of each film's trailer and behind-the-scenes pedigree.
Elsewhere, Cincinnati World Cinema is back at it, offering two screenings (7:30 April 5 and 6) of The Red Chapel, an odd documentary about a Danish filmmaker and a pair of young Danish-Korean “comedians” who travel to North Korea to get back in touch with their homeland and to perform for an audience that includes various dignitaries.
The Red Chapel seems to be a number of things at once: a sometimes intriguing look at North Korean culture under Kim Jong-Il; a Borat-esque stunt-doc that leaves everyone involved uncomfortable; and a wholly confounding endeavor whose true intent is never entirely clear. Director Mads Brugger's narration channels Werner Herzog in both the tenor of his voice and the often poetic words he employs. But don't be confused: Brugger is no Herzog.
Each screening takes place at the Carnegie Arts Center (1028 Scott Blvd., Covington). Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at door. For more information, call 513-781-8151.
HOP — Yet another family-friendly comedy hits the multiplex. Director Tim Hill (Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties and Alvin and the Chipmunks) mixes animation and live-action in Hop, a boring ride that follows the Easter Bunny's son, E.B. (voice of Russell Brand), as he travels to Hollywood to become a drummer in a Rock & Roll band. The cast includes James Marsden, Hank Azaria, Kaley Cuoco, Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — tts (Rated PG.) Grade: D
INSIDIOUS — Patrick Wilson stars as one half of a married couple (with Rose Byrne) dealing with a child who might be controlled by evil spirits. Horror aficionado James Wan (Saw, Death Sentence) guides a cast that also includes Barbara Hershey and Ty Simpkins. Leah Whannell, who wrote the first three Saw movies, provides the screenplay in a genre excursion that exceeds expectations. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — tts (Rated PG-13.) Grade: B
KILL THE IRISHMAN — Writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh follows up his 2004 multi-hyphenate effort The Punisher by telling the true story of Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson), who engaged in an underworld war that nearly ripped apart the city of Cleveland and led to the eventual crippling of the American crime syndicate. (Read full-length review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — tt stern-enzi (Rated R.) Grade: C-
SOURCE CODE — Yes, there's a certain validity to the pitch-meeting shorthand that would describe Duncan Jones' science-fiction thriller as "Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap,” but that doesn't detract from what it manages to do right. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — Scott Renshaw (Rated PG-13.) Grade: B