Blackhat: It's never certain whether a Michael Mann movie is going to be good or ridiculous – or, occasionally, good and ridiculous. But you have to give him credit for relevance with Blackhat, which turns on the threat of a massive cyber-attack against the U.S. How timely is that conceit? Well, I understand North Korea protested the pitch meeting. Before we give Mann credit for his enormous balls, however, we should acknowledge that the film appears to hedge its bets in at least one respect, partnering its American protagonists with a colleague from China. Yeah, it's not like they've ever messed with our digital property. Or turned a blind eye to anybody who did. Such compromises, see, are necessary to ensure that our movies appear everywhere they need to – like atop the table of a Times Square street vendor, on opening day, for five bucks. (R)
Paddington: The beloved kid-lit character comes to life on the big screen, finding himself a cozy home in London, yet always mere breaths away from vivisection by a taxidermist played by Nicole Kidman. (Not knowing to stay away from Nicole Kidman means this is one bear who isn't up on his Gus van Sant movies.) Interestingly, both the MPAA and the British Board of Film Classification slapped Paddington with a PG rating, due to what they perceived as mild sexual innuendo. I can't really top the fun the panel on @midnight had with that development – get thee to Hulu! – but if the censors thought the benign-sounding cross-dressing in question constituted a threat to kids' gender identity, Bugs Bunny would really make them reach for the heart meds. Oh, and news flash: The Great Gonzo is fucking a chicken. (PG)
The Wedding Ringer: Apparently, we've reached the point at which the titles of Kevin Hart movies pay homage to the titles of Adam Sandler movies. Yeah, there's nothing like tipping your hat to the Great Masters. The Wedding Ringer, though, sounds like more of a riff on Hitch, with Hart playing fake best man to a hapless whitey portrayed by Josh Gad and imparting all manner of valuable life lessons in the process. Personally, I don't think there's anything I could learn from having Kevin Hart by my side on the big day – but I would pay good money to have Katt Williams do the job instead. I have no idea what that says about me, other than maybe that I'm short. (R)
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