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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

new this week in U.S., Canadian, and U.K. theaters: ‘Shrek Forever After,’ ‘MacGruber,’ ‘Cop Out,’ ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’ more (with DVD alternatives)

U.S. AND CANADA/OPENING WIDE

Shrek Forever After: Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, and Puss square off against the evil tyrant Rumpelstiltskin. Scary. [trailer] review to come

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

Shrek 2 (2004): Still the best in the series, with one of the greatest character intros ever (for Puss in Boots).
Hoodwinked (2006): Postmodern snarking on Little Red Riding Hood. Stay with it — it’s better than you think.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): Replace Shrek with Jimmy Stewart, and it’s practically the same movie.
So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993): More Mike Myers with a Scottish accent, and a (potentially) homicidal wife.

MacGruber: I think MacGyver should kick MacGruber’s ass… with some chewing gum and a paperclip, of course. [trailer] review to come

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

Die Hard (1988): Why not go for one of the great action sorta-comedies instead? It’s gotta be funnier…
Hot Fuzz (2007): One of the best sendups of the action genre, about small-town English cops.
Wayne’s World (1992): If you need a Saturday Night Live movie, go for the best.
Superstar (1999): But if you really need a terrible SNL movie, here ya go.
U.S. AND CANADA/OPENING LIMITED

Holy Rollers: Hasidic Jews running drugs. Not a comedy, apparently. [trailer] review to come

Kites: Bollywood romantic adventure set and shot in Las Vegas in English and Spanish, this will get the widest North American release of any Indian film to date, and on the same date as its Indian release. (Brett Ratner is, inexplicably, “remixing” this in a version that’s one-third shorter, to be released next week.)

U.K.

Cop Out: Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan make asses out of themselves, but not as much as Kevin Smith does.

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

Beverly Hills Cop (1984): The film that may be considered to have launched the modern action comedy… and to which Cop Out makes clear references.
Lethal Weapon (1987): Starring Danny Glover as Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson as Tracy Morgan.
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005): This is Lethal Weapon 20 years more sophisticated (and Cop Out isn’t).
Clerks (1994): For a reminder of why we fell in love with Smith in the first place.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Jake Gyllenhaal can stop time with his magical artifact… or else it merely feels like this adapted-from-a-videogame movie is 12 days long. [trailer] review to come

If you can’t make it to the multiplex, try:

Big Trouble in Little China (1986): In which Kurt Russell goes up against an ancient sorcerer without benefit of being able to Save Game.
The Mummy (1999): Lots of adventurous shifting sands in this one, too.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001): An excellent example of why videogame movies are so boring while simultaneously being so loud.
Jarhead (2005): More buff Gyllenhaal as a modern-day warrior. No magical artifacts, though — sorry.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: Nicolas Cage goes batshit crazy, apparently, for director Werner Herzog.

Heartless: Psychological thriller from writer-director Philip Ridley (who made the cult favorite Passion of Darkly Noon), starring Jim Sturgess.

StreetDance 3D: Street dancers and ballet dancers must work together for the good of them all… in 3D!


Where to buy/watch:
Beverly Hills Cop [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Big Trouble in Little China [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Clerks [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Die Hard [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Hoodwinked [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Hot Fuzz [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
It’s a Wonderful Life [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Jarhead [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Lethal Weapon [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
The Mummy [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Shrek 2 [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
So I Married an Axe Murderer [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Superstar [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Wayne’s World [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]



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