Movies: Beckinsale vs. Soderbergh or Voldemort &WWII’s Hidden Heroes?

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Are you a Kate Beckinsale fan? How about dark, moodily-lit action thrillers with a genuine horror component? Where do you weigh in on werewolves and pale people with fangs that have absolutely zero to do with Twilight? If you’re psyched about any of the above you’re in luck because Underworld: Awakening opens today. Here again we have Beckinsale as “Vampire Warrioress” Selene, only now the regular old humans are determined to put an end to both Lycans AND Vampires. I’m not exactly sure what it all means but I do know that it has a rabid fanbase, huge dollar signs attached, and that anyone who likes to see hot English girls in latex prevail against ridiculous odds needs to catch this. It’ll likely do very well at the box office – especially since we’re in that awards season period where horror and action thrillers tend to succeed because they’re not taking focus away from the Important and Thoughtful Films that get nominated.

Next up is Steven Soderbergh’s latest film Haywire, and this one looks really cool. Not only because it’s Soderbergh (Traffic, Contagion, Erin Brokovich) but also because one night he saw a woman who happened to be a famous MMA star on TV and decided he’d make her his next action hero. Her name is Gina Carano (she’s well-known in fighting circles) and she’s about to become a big deal on the big screen too. Here she stars as a “black ops super soldier” hellbent on revenge when a mission is thwarted from the inside. Not only will this film be popular because of its action, but the rest of the casting looks pretty sound too: Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, and Michael Douglas also star. So I’m guessing this one will be around for a while and the word of mouth is already very good.

English actor Ralph Fiennes (a.k.a.Voldemort) makes his directorial debut with Coriolanus, based on the Shakespeare play. Here Fiennes wisely updates its setting to present–day Rome (although the movie was shot in Belgrade). Fiennes himself also plays the title character –  a despotic and crazed leader whose country betrays him – and he’s thus pitted against Gerard Butler. Expect lots of rubble, stubble, soldiers, and the grim realities of war interlaced with Shakespeare’s poetic language. Plus, ubiquitous Jessica Chastain is a love interest and we also get the ever-dependable Vanessa Redgrave playing the matriarch. Definitely worth a look – although it might be a little heavy-going for some.

Finally we have another war movie called Red Tails, this one about an heroic team of African- American pilots who served in World War II. This is based on the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen who endured segregation before being called upon to serve their country it what looks like a pretty powerful film. Cuba Gooding, Jr and Terrence Howard star, and George Lucas – the man behind Star Wars – financed this picture and has said it will be his final filmmaking effort. Here’s thinking he’ll leave the biz on a pretty high note.

That’s a look at some of the big movies playing this weekend at a theater near you. As always, let us know what you see and what you thought.

Today’s poll:

Which of this weekend’s new releases are you most likely to check out?

1)   Red Tails

2)   Coriolanus

3)   Underworld: Awakening

4)   Haywire 

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