Weekend Preview June 29th

There really is something for everyone this weekend at the movies: it's rare to see a weekend so well programmed with new films that they all could do extremely well, businesswise, by not stepping on one another's toes.

Not that everything this weekend is a masterpiece of cinema, but weirdly enough, three out of the four major openings actually are.

The fourth is Live Free or Die Hard, which is fine as big dumb action movies go, but it's not particularly Die Hardy. And I say this as a huge fan of Bruce Willis and of his John McClane. It's got some cool new smashups we haven't seen before -- fighter jet versus semi trailer! -- but it criminally wastes one of the most underrated actors working today, Timothy Olyphant as the villain. Why cast him if you're not going to put his unique talents and edgy screen presence to good use? Then again, why make a Die Hard movie that doesn't feel like Die Hard? Don't let me discourage you fanboys and -girls from seeing it ... but don't come crying to me when you don't feel like yippie-kai-aying afterward.

The rest of the weekend, though ... magnifique. At the moment, on my ever-evolving ranking of 2007's films, Sicko (expanding to more than 400 theaters this weekend) is No. 1, Evening (opening in 900 theaters) is No. 4, and Ratatouille (opening in a gazillion theaters) is No. 5. You've heard a lot about Sicko already -- it's Moore's best and most sophisticated film yet, and is sure to please and infuriate indie lovers -- but you've probably heard less about the other two.

Evening is the chick flick done right, eschewing sappiness and sticky sentimentality without losing any the emotion and romance we girls expect from a movie like this; I was sobbing my eyes out by the end just at how perfect it is, at how beautifully it captures the memories and regrets and not-regrets that make up a woman's life. And the cartoon? Ah, Remy is the rat of my heart, a wonderfully expressive little creature who lives life with gusto and doesn't let the world tell him what he can and can't do just because he's a rodent -- Ratatouille is perfect for kids, but grownups will love it too. (I'll post reviews of the rat movie and the chick flick later today over at FlickFilosopher.com, so stay tuned.)

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MaryAnn Johanson (email me)

reviews, reviews, reviews! at FlickFilosopher.com