Film Friday: ‘Leatherheads’, ‘Shine A Light’

by W. Andrew Powell


George Clooney in Leatherheads

Rough it out at the movies this week with ladies man George Clooney and the retro-comic football film, Leatherheads; or get your Rolling Stones fever raging in the Martin Scorsese-directed concert documentary, Shine A Light. Other new films include the kids fantasy tale Nim’s Island, and a viney-horror adaptation of The Ruins.

Hollywood’s most likeable leading man, George Clooney, stars with Renée Zellweger in this romantic comedy about the early days of pro-football and how one team tries to bring the sport to the masses.

Back in the 1920s, when football was just catching on, the rules were decidedly different than today. In fact, the rules were pretty much non-existent and in this rough realm Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, a football hero trying to save his team as the whole league is threatened with financial ruin.

Dodge’s solution is to hire war hero Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski), a college football star who proves to be Dodge’s biggest rival in courting reporter Lexie Littleton (Zellweger). But Lexie has more than one interest in Carter as she tries to clear up a few holes in Carter’s tale that don’t quite add up.

Billed as a screwball comedy, the film has potential considering stars Clooney and Zellweger, but the critics aren’t exactly sold on the film. So far there is a split between love and boredom between the top writers, but the slant is slightly on the negative side. Frankly though, considering the standards some of these critics set for films, I’m voting that it’s worth checking out for a laugh and a chance to see Clooney bury his face in mud, and still pull off his trademark suave smiles.

Shine A Light
Rolling Stones fans have never had a shortage of movies dedicated to their favorite music legends, but there is no denying the allure of seeing Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s latest film, which documents one of their concert in New York City.

Filmed over two nights at the Beacon Theatre in the fall of 2006, Scorsese worked with a team of apparently choreographed cinematographers to capture the band on film. Not only that, Scorsese has been a fan of The Rolling Stones since the 60s, and used the opportunity to film Shine A Light as a way to move on from the stress of his previous production, The Departed.

Some theatres are showing the film on regular screens, but the way to see Shine A Light is definitely in all its IMAX glory. The film has also been billed as a more intimate performance with the band, which is quite a different experience from the last Rolling Stones IMAX film I saw, Live at the Max.

As some of the oldest rockers still touring the world, The Rolling Stones are worth checking out, and you’ll likely never get such good seats to a Stones show in your life.

Nim’s Island
For a decent looking family film this week, you can’t beat Nim’s Island, the story of a young girl and her imagination as she dreams up an island full of adventure. Blurring the lines between reality and make-believe, the story has our protagonist trying to conquer Nim’s Island after her father goes missing there, with the help of her new friend and their fictional hero, Alex Rover.

There are no reviews out ahead of the film’s release, which is always a bad sign that the studio decided not to screen the movie ahead of its release, but the film looks like a good fit for families.

The Ruins
Horror films feel like a dying breed these days, at least if you’re talking about good horror, and the latest disaster in a film canister appears to be Scott Smith‘s adapted novel, The Ruins.

Things get dark, dirty, and dangerous when a group of travelers find their way inside the ruins of a temple and discover a deadly presence… in the form of evil vines. My friends, nothing, and I mean nothing, is as scary as self-actualized vines bent on humanity’s destruction.

As with Nim’s Island, the critics are mum on how good or bad it might be, but I’m betting on disaster-level badness here folks. If you need a little horrific brutality this weekend, this might be it, but you can probably do better on DVD.

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