It Begins

Let me see your war face!

Not sure what’s up with Metro’s website, but they still haven’t posted any of today’s reviews. (If you want to download the full PDF of the Toronto edition, click this … but be warned, it’s a big file.)

Anyway, if you’re wondering what to see this weekend …

“Curse of the Golden Flower”: After “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers”, Zhang Yimou delivers another wuxia-flavored costume picture, but the well’s getting dry; Chow Yun-Fat broods behind a ridiculous beard as a ruthless emperor, Gong Li falls over a lot as his poisoned wife, and their kids get all Shakespearean in the corners as a revolution simmers. But if you want to spend two hours watching exquisite fabric get bloody, this is wardrobe porn of the highest order.

“The Good Shepherd”: Matt Damon gives great hooded monotony; sadly, director and co-star Robert De Niro matches the tone of his three-hour movie to Damon’s performance, and the result is a very slow, very dull plod through three decades in the life of the CIA. Francis Ford Coppola is one of the executive producers, which may explain why the structural parallels to “The Godfather” are so blatant.

“Night at the Museum”: I’m as surprised as you are that a Shawn Levy comedy turns out the best thing going in a week of Oscar hopefuls, but that’s just how it shakes out. Sure, the script’s incoherent and Ben Stiller doesn’t do anything you haven’t seen him do a dozen times over, but the effects are pretty nifty, and it has Carla Gugino, Steve Coogan and Ricky Gervais in it.

“We Are Marshall”: Taking a turn into more serious matters, “Charlie’s Angels” popmeister McG tackles the true story of a West Virginia college town recovering from the loss of most of their football team in a plane crash … and delivers a two-hour study in high-contrast boosterism, with every moment staged for maximum weepery. But boy, does Matthew McConaughey rock some period sideburns.

The choices get better on Monday, I promise.