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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘3:10 to Yuma,’ ‘December Boys,’ ‘Balls of Fury,’ ‘Illegal Tender,’ ‘War’

boys of fury?

It’s a slowish week for me this week: only five movies on the slate. It’s looking I might be able to swing things so that next week, I won’t do any screenings. Could be a good time to catch up on the massive, teetering pile of new DVDs I really should watch (I’m dying to see the extras on the 300, for one). Could be a good time to catch up on some sleep.

But not this week. I’m totally and officially Psyched for 3:10 to Yuma, not just because it stars both Russell Crowe and Christian Bale — maybe there is a god after all — but also because it’s from James Mangold, whose last movie, Walk the Line, I adore. (Some of his other flicks? Eh, not so much.)
I’m also looking forward to December Boys, about which I know little beyond the fact that it stars Daniel Radcliffe in his first non-Harry Potter film role. After the raves he got for his turn in the West End in Equus, I’m very curious to see what else besides the boy wizard he’s got in him.

threaten to yawn me?

The other three movies should prove a trial, collectively and separately. I’m totally and officially Dreading Balls of Fury, not just because, well, if the title didn’t pretty much shout out what level of intellect the movie is aimed at, the fact that it’s from the “mind” of Ben Garant would do it. Garant is responsible for some of the great cinematic travesties of recent years, including Taxi, The Pacifier, and Let’s Go to Prison. So, you know: *shudder*

Illegal Tender is, I’m told, “a riveting and bone-chilling thrill ride through the streets of New York and deep into the underbelly of Puerto Rico,” an “unforgettable action drama” that is also an “homage to the classic mob films of the ’80s.” When they have to tell you that, though, I really do wonder…

Finally, there’s War, the Jason Statham/Jet Li bust-’em-up. I like Li, but I fail to see any appeal in the thuggish Statham. Plus, director Philip Atwell has made only music videos. Plus plus, the film won’t be shown to critics until a courtesy screening Friday afternoon, after the movie has bowed in theaters. Things aren’t looking good for this one at all.

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