Somewhat surprisingly, Oliver Stone's (Platoon, Natural Born Killers) W. is not a from-the-left attack on George W. Bush, but more a portrait of the lost son of a powerful family. Following George (Josh Brolin: No Country for Old Men, Planet Terror) from college to his eventual presidency, the film shows him constantly at odds with his father (James Cromwell: The Queen, LA Confidential) and his legacy as a Bush, meeting his wife (Elizabeth Banks: Meet Dave, Zack and Miri Make a Porno), and cycling through a number of jobs and opportunities. His past is intercut with his Presidency, and the political figures around him, as he is advised by Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss: Mr. Holland's Opus, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead), Rove (Toby Jones: Infamous, City of Ember), Condoleeza Rice (Thandie Newton: RocknRolla, Gridlock'd), Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright: Basquiat, Casino Royale), and Donald Rumsfeld (Scott Glen: Surfer Dude, Man on Fire), as conflicting points of view over foreign policy, 9/11, and the possible existence of WMDs carve his niche in cultural history.
Weighty Drama and Oscar Nominees
Melissa Leo (Righteous Kill, 21 Grams) is a contender for the Best Actress Oscar this year for her role in Frozen River. As a mother in danger of losing her house, she forms a tense relationship with Misty Upham (Expiration Date), a Mohawk woman who becomes her partner smuggling immigrants across the frozen border to Canada, which is not monitored by boarder guards because it is Tribal land.
When people suddenly go blind, and the blindness is contagious, the infected are quarantined in a guarded hospital in Blindness. Refusing to be separated from her suddenly blind optometrist husband (Mark Ruffalo: Rumor Has It, Reservation Road), Julianne Moore (Children of Men, Magnolia) finds herself locked in with the rest of the isolated blind, as the rules disintegrate and the world begins to descend into barbaric, tribal rule... and she tells no one that she is somehow immune to the blindness, and can see. The ward is full of potential friends and enemies, including Alice Braga (Redbelt, City of God), Danny Glover (Be Kind Rewind, The Royal Tenenbaums), and Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries, The Science of Sleep).
Spike Lee's (Inside Man, When the Levees Broke) newest joint is Miracle at St Anna, a World War II film following four soldiers trapped near a Tuscan village during the Italian campaign. As Michael Ealy (Never Die Alone, 2 Fast 2 Furious), Derek Luke (Spartan, Catch a Fire), Laz Alonso (Captivity, Stomp the Yard), and Omar Benson Miller (Things We Lost in the Fire, Shall We Dance) rescue a young boy (Pierfrancsco Favino: Night at the Museum, Prince Caspian) from the Nazis, their lives are changed forever, as the details are fleshed out in a flashback from the perspectives of the investigations of John Turturro (The Good Shepherd, Barton Fink) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick, Stop-Loss), set in the 1980s.
Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Bubba Ho-Tep) directs and stars in My Name is Bruce, a Three Amigos style horror farce that satirizes the B-movie star's legacy. When a small-town kid accidentally releases an ancient Chinese demon, he knows only one man han help him... his hero, Bruce Campbell. When he kidnaps the actor from his trailer on the set of a zero-budget sequel, Campbell goes with the flow, restating his catch-phrases and wallowing in his legacy until he learns that murderous demons are real, and his life is actually in danger... which brings out a new side of the movie hero: the real-life coward.
Steven Seagal (Urban Justice, Under Siege) isn't required to provide any self-satire in Against the Dark, donning his hero persona as post-apocalyptic commando hunting hordes of vampires. Wielding a sword against the undead that have overtaken the globe, Seagal has to take back an infected hospital and save the few remaining human survivors before they suffer the same fate as the rest of humanity.
Nights in Rodanthe is the new romance this week, where Diane Lane (Untraceable, Chaplin), needing space and time away from an unfaithful husband, finds solace in a small bed and breakfast in Rodanthe, North Carolina, and the B&B's only other guest (Richard Gere: The Flock, Primal Fear). As the two help each other with their problems and eventually separate, they keep in touch via letters, they always remember their romance in the picturesque house on the beach.
This week's new documentary is Imaginary Witness, a retrospective on Hollywood's relationship with, and depiction of, the Holocaust over the years. Narrated by Gene Hackman (Get Shorty, Enemy of the State).