Opening Wide: State of Play, Crank: High Voltage, 17 Again

by | April 17, 2009 at 3:50 PM | The Movies


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State of Play
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A tight political thriller that highlights the importance of true journalism in our talking-head sound-bite media world. Russell Crowe is Cal McAffery, a reporter for the Washington Globe whose investigation of a routine drug killing eventually embroils him in the scandal unfolding around his longtime friend and current congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), who was cheating on his wife (Robin Wright Penn) with a member of his staff, who has just been found dead. While Cal’s boss Cameron (Helen Mirren) wants to run with the salacious story to try to keep the dying newspaper afloat, Cal and his reluctantly-accepted assistant from the blogger pool Della (Rachel McAdams) keep digging into the surrounding details until they uncover a plot to discredit Collins from the private Blackwater-esque military mercenary company he’s trying to nail to the wall. Topical, interesting and a reminder of why we’ve liked everyone in this cast, especially Jason Bateman in a supporting role as a flashy PR guy mysteriously connected to the conspiracy.


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Crank: High Voltage
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Hot damn, they somehow made a sequel to the crazy-ass hyper-adrenalized Crank, despite the fact that Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) falls out of a helicopter at the end of it and lands in a heap on the street. This time, he’s had his heart replaced with a machine that needs constant electric jolts to keep him alive long enough to get his real heart back from organ harvesters. He gets help in fending off his attackers with his late friend Kaylo’s twin brother Venus (Efren Ramirez) and he even tracks down his girlfriend Eve (Amy Smart) while on his no-holds-barred quest to stay alive in Los Angeles long enough to get the job done.


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17 Again
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Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry) has obsessed about how his life didn’t pan out the way he wanted it to ever since he knocked up his girlfriend in high school, but thanks to a magical janitor (Brian Doyle Murray), he gets the chance to go back to high school with his kids as Zac Efron and learn to appreciate what he has and what he’s lost – namely, his wife (Leslie Mann). It’s a cute little movie, but watch for the sequence where they make a big deal out of Mike’s efforts to be cool by dressing like Kevin Federline and thus being called a “douchebag,” and then they try to contrast it with Efron getting out of a car looking properly cool… except he still looks like a douchebag. Thomas Lennon and Melora Hardin steal a good chunk of the movie with super-nerd hijinks.