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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets,’ ‘City of Men’

Seventeen hours before it opens with Thursday midnight showings, Disney will screen National Treasure: Book of Secrets [opens December 21] for us critics. Hoorah for the return of Nicolas Cage as an Indiana Jones wannabe. Yes, I’m being sarcastic, cuz the first one was soooo great. The ransacking of history going on this time out: “Treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates looks to discover the truth behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, by uncovering the mystery within the 18 pages missing from assassin John Wilkes Booth’s diary.” And the mystery of who was on the grassy knoll outside Ford’s Theater.

City of Men [opens limited January 18] is a companion piece to Fernando Meirelles’s astonishing 2002 movie City of God, and a follow-on to his 2002-2005 TV series City of Men. Characters from both film and series are at the center of Paulo Morelli’s tale here, about young men on the verge of fatherhood in the midst of Rio de Janeiro’s drug-drenched and gang-run slum culture. Sounds like a cheery way to start the new year.

And that’s it for me moviewise till after the new year. Well, except for the pile of screeners I’d still like to watch. And I’ll probably go see Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, which opens Christmas Day but won’t screen for critics beforehand. But that’s it, honestly, till January 2.

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  • Moe

    City Of God was so fucking hard to watch.
    I can’t believe that’s based on true events.
    Unforgetable yes, but in the most horrific way.

    I really am not up for a sequel. Pass.

  • MaryAnn

    *City of Men* the TV show is much more life-affirming — it’s about regular folk surviving in those slums. Honestly, it was even funny in spots. So the movie might be less than wanna-slit-your-wrists, too.

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