Eddie the Eagle film

Some Movies to See This Weekend, February 26, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016 Rob Samuelson

It looks like February could go out with a bang. That could mean greatness for any or all of the three big releases, or they could all be big time fiascos. Either way, it looks like there are some fireworks at the movies this weekend. Let's see what's in store for us.

Eddie the Eagle
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writers: Sean Macaulay, Simon Kelton
Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Tom Costello Jr.

For an inspirational sports story with a winter release, there seems to be a lot more intellectual positivity going on with this story about an English nerd who becomes an Olympic ski jumper at the 1988 Games. It helps to have two magnetic and charming personalities bouncing off each other, which is precisely the thing Eddie the Eagle has going for it. Taron Egerton made himself a star in last year's Kingsman: The Secret Service and Hugh Jackman is Hugh Jackman, affable guy extraordinaire. Egerton inhabits a completely different character than he did in Kingsman, replacing cocky lower-class wit with the earnestness that comes from believing in yourself.

Gods of Egypt
Director: Alex Proyas
Writers: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, John Samaha, Courtney Eaton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler

This is the likeliest fiasco referenced in the introduction. There is an artificiality to everything in the trailer, which may explain in part the whitewashing in the cast of a movie about Egyptians. “Nothing is authentic, so screw it!” is the operating ethos for lack of diversity, it seems. But hey, the studio apologized for not being more inclusive in making this movie, so kudos on doing the bare minimum, I guess. As for the movie as it is, well, Alex Proyas made The Crow and Dark City, two good to excellent mid-'90s movies, so he has a thing for visual flair and mythic characters. Those are good signs. Whether that translates to making this update on Clash of the Titans good remains to be seen, but putting Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – with all his limbs intact – on the (American) big screen seems like the entertainment industry's biggest no-brainer.

Triple 9
Director: John Hillcoat
Writer: Matt Cook
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet

This has the ingredients of an Oscar contender for next year. It has a director, John Hillcoat, who makes grim, uncompromising films (The Proposition, Lawless) and pairs him with a cast of some of the finest performers from the last two decades. Plus it's about a cat-and-mouse game of deception and corruption within a police department and bank robbery crew. It looks like it'll be hard on your faith in humanity like Hillcoat's movies tend to be, but sometimes that can be thrilling.  

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