The new movies debuting this weekend at the movie houses across the land find a rom-com (Playing for Keeps), a historical lesson and odd love story (Hyde Park on the Hudson)... and then there's Eric Bana running through the snowy wilderness armed to the "T" in Deadfall.
Playing for Keeps: Gerard Butler actually appears in a rom-com that works for him! After several failed efforts, the Scottish actor rises to the occasion, even if the rest of his cast is wasted. As we state in our Playing for Keeps review, Butler should be commended and the film's all-star cast (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Dennis Quaid, Uma Thurman) should be forgotten. And also... Jessica Biel also rises to the occasion. Told you it was a surprising film!
Hyde Park on the Hudson: Bill Murray deserves every single ounce of Oscar buzz he's garnering for his role as Franklin Roosevelt in Hyde Park on the Hudson. The story of a fateful weekend when the King and Queen of England visit the American president at his New York estate to discuss what would become World War II is a fascinating character study. But as we state in our Hyde Park on the Hudson review, the rest of it doesn't quite add up to being as excellent as Murray's performance. Not to be outdone, Laura Linney also deserves Oscar love for her portrayal of Roosevelt confidante Daisy.
Deadfall: Bana is one serious badass in the thriller that utilizes the harsh wintry conditions outside almost as another character. Bana and Olivia Wilde rob an Indian casino and are on the verge of getting away with it when their car careens out of control. They decide to split up and then the thrills ensue. The supporting cast is stellar, especially Kris Kristofferson, Charlie Hunnam, Sissy Spacek and Kate Mara. As we reported in our Deadfall review, the thrills don't quite add up, but it is worth the price of admission to see these actors shine.