BIG MOMMAS: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Brandon T. Jackson joins Martin Lawrence in the latest lowest-common-denominator comedy from director John Whitesell (
Malibu's Most Wanted
Opens Feb. 18.
One of Chris Rock’s adorable toddler girls asked him why she doesn’t have “good” hair, so he brings his astonishment—such a young thing already in tune with society’s frown on black women’s naturally curly and kinky hair—and unwavering funny to the documentary Good Hair, directed by Jeff Stilson. He prods Nia Long, Salt-N-Pepa, Maya Angelou, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Ice-T, T-Pain, Andre Harrell, Tracie Thoms, and more big personalities to talk about extensions, “creamy crack” (relaxer), cultural demands, weave sex, and the financial investment. They bring honesty, sincerity, and a wealth of astonishment of their own at the lengths they—and others—have gone to get the hair they want. Rock frames the discussion with plenty of time in neighborhood beauty salons full of black women and chemicals and at the largest hair show in the country, Atlanta’s Bronner Bros., where the target audience is black women while the vendors on the floor aren’t. Bronner Bros.’ hair competition is aesthetically removed from the Hollywood types’ smooth locks, but hair is, ultimately, a personal thing with deep cultural roots—even in India, where most of the weave hair comes from. (Wendy Ward)
I AM NUMBER FOUR
director D.J. Caruso helms this adaptation of the young-adult sci-fi novel about a teen alien (Alex Pettyfer) and his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) hiding out/fleeing some intergalactic baddies on earth.
Opens Feb. 18.
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
As Royal Air Force officer Peter Carter’s bomber is going down in flames over the English Channel, he connects for one bittersweet moment with a kindly American radio operator named June. But Carter (the elegant David Niven) doesn’t die, thanks to a celestial mix-up. In fact, once back on the ground, he happens to bump into June (Kim Hunter) and fall instantly in love. Heaven wants its due, Carter wants to live like never before, and the whole dispute winds up in front of a heavenly court as Carter lies hovering between this world and the next on an operating table. Filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger undercut the potential sap of their 1946 romance with a level of creativity and inventiveness that rivals their work on the better known
The Red Shoes
. Wartime England is shot (by frequent collaborator Jack Cardiff) in vivid Technicolor. Heaven, meanwhile, is rendered in stately black and white, an austere galaxy-sized bureaucracy fed by an endless escalator (the film was originally released in the States as
Stairway to Heaven
). And the fantasy courtroom-drama aspect of the story allows for questioning the typical romantic assumptions as much as confirming them.
just a corny old movie. (Lee Gardner)
ON ONE FIELD
This documentary from architect-turned-filmmaker Mauricio Osorio, a Colombian immigrant now living in Baltimore, checks in with various immigrants in Baltimore who learn about each other through soccer matches played at area parks, where the matches become crucibles for cultural exchange and acculturation.
Hollywood workhorse Robert Wise (
The Sand Pebbles
West Side Story
) directs this gritty 1949 noir about a fading boxer (Robert Ryan) whose manager sells him out as a stepping-stone punching bag to the mob but doesn’t tell the fighter, who decides to fight his way to a Pyrrhic dignity rather than take a dive. Cinematographer Milton Krasner (
All About Eve
) delivers the stark photography, while Audrey Totter provides the hubba-hubba.
Super-fun actor/writer/director Stephen Chow (
) works his usual martial arts/comedy magic in this tale of a former monk (Chow) who reunites with some of his brothers to apply their fighting skills to soccer. Ridiculously entertaining.
Liam Neeson stars as a man who comes out of a coma to discover somebody else has taken his identity. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who gave us the glue-huffingly bizarre crazy dwarf flick
Opens Feb. 18.