Movie Blurbs

Jan 312007
Authors: Jeff Schwartz

Smokin’ Aces

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven and Alicia Keys

Rated: R

Running time: 1 hr. 48 min.

Summary: Piven stars as mob tattler Buddy Israel who has a price on his head larger than Lake Tahoe (which is where Israel is staying, under the protection of the FBI). But when a whole slew of bounty hunters, hitmen and general no-good-nicks catch wind of the price on Israel’s head, they all set out to get a proverbial piece of the pie. So far, most critics have labeled this one a lame imitator of better films like “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs,” but if hitman comedies are your thing, or you just want some eye-candy, “Aces” should entertain.

The Last King of Scotland

Starring: Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy

Rated: R

Running time: 2 hr. 1 min.

Summary: Advice to all actors, young and old: If you want an Academy Away nomination, star in a biopic. However, that little piece of sarcasm isn’t intended to demean Whitaker’s portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, a performance that has been almost universally hailed by critics as one of the best of the decade. The “king” of the title actually refers to Amin’s personal physician (McAvoy), who just happens to be Scottish, and it is through him that the audience witnesses the charisma and cruelty of Amin. Recommended for all those who’d like to see what all the fuss is about concerning Whitaker’s performance.

The Queen

Starring: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen and James Cromwell

Rated: PG-13

Running time: 1 hr. 43 min.

Summary: Once again, I just have to say, star in a biopic, get an Oscar nomination. Forest Whitaker did it, and now Helen Mirren has done it, starring as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen,” a film that focuses on the British monarch’s reaction and decisions concerning the death of Princess Diana. If you’re the betting type, bet big on Mirren to take home the Best Actress Oscar (she’s already won a Golden Globe and a SAG). More importantly though, Mirren is a respected actress who has, as not, as yet, won an Academy Award, so it’s time for some long-overdue recognition.

Movie reviewer Jeff Schwartz can be reached at The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

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