Film Friday: ‘Stardust’, ‘Stone’s Throw’

by W. Andrew Powell

Stardust posterNeed to feed that movie hunger this weekend and not sure what to check out? Big movies still in cinemas include the critical and box office hits The Bourne Ultimatum and The Simpsons Movie, but there’s no lack of fresh meat either. Whether you’re interested in a fairy tale, an action comedy, action horror, drama or pure comedy, there’s some interesting films out in theatres for you to sample.

At the very top of my list is Stardust, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s wonderful adult fairy tale about a young man who ventures into a magical land to find a fallen star. Charlie Cox is Tristran, and Claire Danes is Yvaine, the star, who is in danger of being captured by a witchly Michelle Pfeiffer. Critical reaction has been very positive, with Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly commenting, “It’s the closest the movies have come in a while to the nudgy, knowing fairy-tale enchantment of The Princess Bride.”

The other big release of the week happens to be director Brett Ratner‘s Rush Hour 3, which brings the horrific director back to his franchise roots. Ratner is of course now best known as the man who ruined the X-Men trilogy with X-Men: The Last Stand. Starring Chris Tucker as Detective James Carter and Jackie Chan as Chief Inspector Lee, the film follows the usual pattern with the two cops getting mixed up in big crime. As usual, you can probably expect Chan to kick the ass, while Tucker cracks wise.

Critics have been less than kind to the film, but just looking at the trailer will tell you all you need to know about the film and its insipid plot. As Peter Howell of the Toronto Star put it, “Rush Hour 3 is a blockbuster sequel filmed with the enthusiasm of jury duty and as barren of novelty as a burned-out souvenir stand.”

Speaking of barren, there’s not much better news with the three other main releases in Canada this week. A Stone’s Throw is producer Camelia Frieberg‘s attempt at writing/directing, and while I enjoyed the casting of Kristen Holden-Ried and Lisa Ray, the film is really awful. Holden-Ried plays Jack, an environmental photographer who comes back to his small home town in Nova Scotia, but starts stirring up trouble on all sides with family, new friends, and even with the police. Holden-Ried and Ray are good together, but the script, which was co-written by Garfield L. Miller, lacks style, substance or anything beyond what I’d call a 1970s-Canadian-film ability at storytelling.

Also in theatres this weekend is the Canadian-made werewolf film Skinwalkers, Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr.‘s epically awful looking Daddy Day Camp, 2 Days in Paris, and Molière.

Claire Danes in Stardust
Claire Danes in Stardust

Check your local listings – some films are open in select markets.

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