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Arts and Entertainment

Weekend Movie Guide: Clear your schedule!

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This weekend is one of those weekends where--if you love movies--you'll be hard-pressed to choose which one (or two) to see. Most will probably settle on American Gangster, and I don't see anything wrong with that. Couple two powerhouse actors (Denzel & Crowe) with a reliable director (Ridley), add a compelling story that has slipped through the cracks for years and you have what looks to be a great, studio picture.

If, like the old lady in Airplane, you're looking for something a little more light, Bee Movie should suit you. Jerry Seinfeld makes his first, big foray into motion pictures and while reviews have been mostly average (Dreamworks Animation is no Pixar), expect families to trek out this weekend to enjoy the movie with Junior. Personally, I was hoping for something a little sharper from Jerry. I guess he needs Larry David for that.

Sharkwater (LAist review here) is a beautiful, thrilling documentary about the alpha hunters of the ocean. This is a movie that begs to be seen on the big screen where its amazing underwater vistas can be fully appreciated. It's been a great year for documentaries (No End in Sight, The King of Kong) and Sharkwater continues that trend. Docs usually only last a few weeks in theaters so make the effort to see this soon.

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Even at 83 years old, director Sidney Lumet continues to shine in one of the more taxing creative professions in the world. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is his best movie in decades, featuring superb performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman, Albert Finney and Marisa Tomei. If you're tired of the too-hip-for-the-room crime dramas that currently dominate the marketplace, check out the way they used to do it. You won't be sorry.

Usually the presence of John Cusack guarantees a ticket purchase from me, but Martian Child may be the rare exception. Have you seen the previews for this movie? Does it seem--I don't know--cloyingly cute and life-affirming (in the bad way)? Critics have absolutely savaged it so I think I'll pass on this one and wait for Cusack's next--the powerful Iraq drama and Sundance favorite, Grace is Gone.

Darfur Now is the second Darfur documentary released this year (after the devastating The Devil Came on Horseback, just out on DVD). The film follows six different people--one of them Don Cheadle--and tracks how they respond to the ongoing genocide in Sudan. If Darfur Now is able to arouse anything close to the emotions that Devil Came on Horseback did it will be a powerful, jolting film. Let us all hope it succeeds.

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten is Julien Temple's latest foray into the music world, this time looking at the life and influence of the legendary frontman of The Clash. Temple's long friendship with Strummer produces a documentary of unusual depth and insight and critics have been quick to heap praise upon it. Along with Control, Joe Strummer is required viewing for any fan of the punk and post-punk era in the UK.

Tickets & Showtimes

American Gangster
Bee Movie
Sharkwater
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Martian Child
Darfur Now
Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

Previews

American Gangster

Bee Movie

Support for LAist comes from

Sharkwater

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Martian Child

Darfur Now

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

Photo courtesy of Universaland THINKFilm