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The Playlist

In Theaters: 'The Mechanic,' 'The Rite,' 'Kaboom,' 'Ip Man 2'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • January 28, 2011 4:54 AM
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Fear not, brave moviegoers, it is the last weekend of January, that black hole of a new release month. We will soon dig our way out of this mess, but we must soldier through another questionable weekend. In old release news, did everyone have a magical Academy Awards nominations morning? Did Oscar bring you everything you hoped and more? At least Oscar hosts Anne Hathaway and Best Actor nominee James Franco are in a rigorous training camp to prepare for their big night, as evidenced by this short promo. Hopefully a fresh shot in the arm will liven things up a bit. Anyway! On to the new releases! The Stath brings his muscle to the remake of the Charles Bronson cult classic, "The Mechanic" with the always enjoyably unhinged Ben Foster in tow; religious horror flick "The Rite" provides the chewable scenery for Anthony Hopkins' insatiable craving (nom nom), and "From Prada to Nada" defiles another Jane Austen novel. In limited release, "Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster" brings the kung fu pain, Greg Araki's latest, "Kaboom," makes its non-festival screen debut, and the documentary "Lemmy" about the legendary Motorhead rocker should be a must-see for film and music fans (which you are, of course).

Review: 'When We Leave' An "Issues" Drama With All The Subtlety Of A PSA

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • January 26, 2011 7:30 AM
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There's no question that the Academy Awards have gotten much stronger in the past few years. Big awards have been handed out to pictures that went against the norm -- at least in comparison to what else was nominated -- and while this writer wasn't a huge fan of all of them, there's no question about them being much different than what the Academy used to go for ("Slumdog Millionaire" was, at least in its style -- we won't instigate an argument about the overly moving fairytale narrative right now). Unfortunately that kind of forward thinking mentality has yet to hit the Foreign Oscars category, and even though some really good flicks have made the short list (this year included), the powerful few tend to pick the most manipulative, Hollywood-ish picture possible. Sometimes they click and sometimes they don't. Many, including some of the staff, loved last year's sentimental "The Secret In Their Eyes," whereas most could barely stomach the previous winner "Departures." Then there are ones that don't make it at all, ones so manipulative and forced it almost seems like they were manufactured solely to demand recognition by the awards committee. Germany's "When We Leave" is that kind of movie, one that has its heart in the right place but is hampered by juvenile direction.

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