Weekend Movies: What’s in a Name?

Talk about a counter-programming. As the Oscar contenders continue to roll out, this weekend is all over the place with an over-the-top B-movie and yet another remake of Shakespeare’s most famous love story.

Captain Phillips‘ invades the largest number of screens this weekend. Tom Hanks leads the otherwise no-name cast in Paul Greengrass’ deservedly-shaky drama. (Set almost entirely on the high seas, was there any other way to shoot this film?) Hanks gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the cargo freighter captain who acted fast and risked all to keep four Somali pirates from stealing his ship and killing his men. No matter if you know the details of this true story or not, the tension-filled drama is a must-see. Be warned, however: I know several people who were made sea sick from the shooting style, so if you’re at risk for that, you might not want to see this one in IMAX.

I used to be quite a fan of Robert Rodriguez, but he’s wearing my patience thin with all of his pet projects. His latest venture is a sequel to the feature-length version of the faux trailer that he attached to his portion of ‘Grindhouse‘. Does that emphasize how far his joke has come? The spoof ‘Machete’ trailer was a nice little touch to polish the ‘Grindhouse’ experience. Rodriguez took the joke too far with the full-length ‘Machete‘ movie, which was just too tongue-in-cheek. Frankly, I’m glad that Open Road Films didn’t screen ‘Machete Kills‘ for press in my area. Danny Trejo returns as the vigilante Federale. Much like a plot to an ‘Austin Powers‘ film, Machete gets recruited by the U.S. government to thwart a Mexican villain’s plan to launch a secret weapon into Earth’s atmosphere. The supporting cast includes Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Walton Goggins, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vanessa Hudgens, with Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba returning. Who’s not returning? Me.

From the director of nothing you’ve ever seen comes another rehash of William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet‘. You should recognize ‘True Grit’ star Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet, but odds are that you won’t know Romeo (Douglas Booth). Supporting actors include Damian Lewis, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Natascha McElhone and Stellan Skarsgård. Opening on just 450 screens, Relativity Media apparently doesn’t believe that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is an undying tale.

It took seven years, but ‘All the Boys Love Mandy Lane‘ finally makes its way to the silver screen in the U.S. Undoubtedly, horror fans have already seen the movie via imported DVDs or Blu-rays (that’s how I saw it), so who knows how much of a draw it will have now? Jonathan Levine’s 2006 slasher flick stars Amber Heard as the coveted virgin hottie who gets invited to a secluded getaway. Things turn interesting when a hooded killer starts raising the body count.

Written, directed and starring James Franco, the adaptation of William Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying‘ plays in very limited release. The cast of this drama includes Danny McBride, Logan Marshall-Green, Richard Jenkins and Tim Blake Nelson. When it premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, reviews were mixed.

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