Annie Back when Jamie Foxx was cast as Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I wrote a lengthy diatribe against folks who rail instinctively against the re-imagining of white comic-strip characters as black. That would appear to put me in the uncomfortable position of having to defend Hollywood's latest stab at Annie, which is so floridly race-neutral that it could have been cast by Stephen Colbert in the midst of one of his "I don't see color" rants. Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie! Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan! The seemingly omnipresent Foxx as Daddy Warbucks! Surprise, surprise: Even I can't muster up the illusion of optimism that the thing is going to be any good on any level whatsoever. But it isn't because I'm a racist. It's because I hate orphans. (PG)
The Gambler Mark Wahlberg plays a college lit professor who ... I'm sorry, that's all I can manage right now. (PG-13)
The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies – I recall distinctly the moment in Peter Jackson's King Kong remake at which Naomi Watts and Jack Black arrived at Skull Island. I remember it because I looked at my watch and thought, "I could have watched all 70 minutes of Corpse Bride by now." That's why I've made it a point to avoid Jackson's Hobbit trilogy like the plague. Why surrender my memories of a perfect three-year movie-going experience like The Lord of the Rings to a director who can't leave well enough alone and was clearly hit in the head with a brick somewhere along the line? If you've enjoyed the unexpected journeying and Smaug-desolating that's gone on so far, more power to you. I'll simply be doing something different this week – like circling the days on my calendar until the Skull Island attraction opens at Universal. I'll bet you can ride that one in 20 minutes, tops. (PG-13)
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb A friend recently confided to me that she had felt seriously depressed watching Mockingjay Part 1 – and not just 'cause it sucked. No, what gave her a sad was having to watch all the scenes of poor old Philip Seymour Hoffman. Remember when it was a good thing that he was in everything? Well, starting this week, you get to feel the same way about Robin Williams. For the rest of your natural life, you'll be hearing your friends say, "Did you know his last film was the third of those shitty Night at the Museum pictures? What a lousy tombstone for the guy who made Awakenings, The World According to Garp and Good Morning Vietnam." And none of you will mention Patch Adams, because that's what love is. (PG)
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