Kevin Costner makes a solid football movie with Draft Day, but it’s Nicolas Cage who steals the show with his comeback role in Joe.
Here’s a list of what to see and skip this weekend at the movies.
But then, Sheridan is excellent at rousing empathy. If you remember this fine young actor, it’s probably from last year’s Mud, in which is played a boy befriended by a soft-hearted outlaw (Matthew McConaughey). It’s no stretch to think of Joe as a grittier, more violent Mud, in which the kid is slightly older, but not wiser, and far more desperate.
But Gary is hardly Joe’s only problem, in this richly authentic Southern town in which the residents are inert, but the slights and grudges are hard at work. The police, some local maggot named Willie-Russell (Ronnie Gene Blevins) and Joe’s own temper are all dogging him, daring him to step out of line. Cage is a study in contained rage, and it’s a joy to see him relishing the part, as the tension mounts and fuses light. It’s far too early in the year to start hoping for awards-season recognition, so I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that Cage gets his hands on more scripts like this one.
But I have to hand it to Kaylie (and director Mike Flanagan, who co-wrote the script): She has a plan. With video cameras running on different power supplies, various timers acting as safeguards, a kill switch and her fiancé calling to check in, Kaylie is convinced she’s got the glass problem cracked. You’ll find out soon enough how naïve she is, as Oculus cuts between scenes of present-day terror and the siblings nightmare childhood. It s all fairly clever, though perhaps not quite scary enough for hardcore psychological horror fans. My fellow wusses, however, will find plenty to shriek about.
And these two if you re game:
Cuban FuryIf you are a Nick Frost fan (and all indications of sense and taste say you are), then this slight dance movie should be fun, even if it does make you wistful for Frost’s usual costar, Simon Pegg. The star of the Cornetto Trilogy plays Bruce, a former teen salsa champ turned rhythm-free office drone. As luck would have it, Bruce’s new boss, Julia (Rashida Jones) is cute, funny and a huge salsa fan. That prompts Bruce to get back in the swing, er, salsa of things, and take up dance again. Frost isn’t nearly a good enough hoofer to be convincing, but then that is part of the fun. He also doesn’t have much chemistry with Jones, whose part is a touch underwritten. But he does deliver solid jokes, particularly opposite Chris O’Dowd, who makes a wicked villain as Bruce s slimeball coworker, Drew.
The disappointment is that all this high-stakes drama is carried by a low-energy script, with few jokes to give the film momentum. (Moneyball this ain’t.) So why bother going at all? Because the supporting cast, including Chadwick Boseman (42) as a low-rated potential draft pick with tons of heart, are worth the investment. That, and somehow Draft Day manages a fourth-quarter comeback that all but resurrects the movie, as Sonny gets to playing the NFL’s version of liars’ poker during the big show. If the whole film had been as sharp and exciting as its last half hour, it could’ve gone on Costner’s highlight reel.
But skip this unless the kids make a request