Before I Wake It's always amusing to find out which movie titles Hollywood thinks America won't understand. In 1989, the Bond flick License Revoked was renamed License to Kill because the studio feared that too many filmgoers wouldn't know what the word "revoked" meant. (Like half of them hadn't already seen the word "revoked" stamped on their own driver's permissions.) So it was kind of amazing when last year's horror thriller Oculus was allowed to keep its name, no matter how many home-schoolers might think an "oculus" is a deep-sea delicacy in several Asian countries. Even better was the news that filmmaker Mike Flanagan's follow-up – which follows a boy whose dreams become reality – would be titled Somnia. Way to build the viewer's word power, huh? Apparently not, because the thing got rechristened Before I Wake before the posters went to the printer. Come on, America! It's just a simple Christian name that's popular in Latin American countries. You know, like "Somnia Vergara"! (PG-13)
The D Train It doesn't get me invited to a lot of parties, but I like James Marsden. For a while there, I thought the guy was fashioning a nice cottage industry out of playing the Clueless Boyfriend Who Gets the Short End of the Stick. But when a new movie announces itself as featuring Marsden's "most outrageous performance to date," even I call shenanigans. I associate "outrageousness" with James Marsden about as much as I equate "savoir faire" with Chris Christie. Yet there Marsden is in The D Train, playing a loose cannon of a Hollywood actor who turns Jack Black's life upside down. Just how he does it is the film's closely guarded narrative hook – although you're entitled to wonder how outrageous a fella has to be to get Jack Black flustered. I mean, ol' Blackie did offer to "swallow the gravy" in Tropic Thunder. Here's spooge in your eye, Cyclops! (R)
Hot Pursuit In my heart of hearts, I like to think that this country's current awakening to the dilemma of police corruption began when Reese Witherspoon drunkenly challenged that officer, "Don't you know who I am?" Probably not, but I like to think it. I just wish she didn't feel she had to do penance for the innocent act of sassing a cop by not only co-starring in but co-producing a flick in which she plays a lady in blue herself. Then again, her Officer Cooper is described as an "uptight, by-the-book" type, so maybe there'll be plenty of satisfying jabs at narrow-sphinctered public servants who try to deny their social superiors the pleasure of driving drunk. In the film, Witherspoon's character has to protect a woman (Sofia Vergara) from the ex-fiance who wants to commandeer the embryos they froze together when they were still a couple. Or from drug lords and crooked cops. Six of one. (PG-13)
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