1. The Express (2,808 Theaters, Rated PG): You could probably make 4 or 5 movies based on the life of Ernie Davis. You could focus, like this one does, on the his battle with racism. You can do a movie based on his relationship with Jim Brown. You can build a story around his tragic death. All would make for interesting flicks.
But to many football fans whose knowledge doesn’t go back much farther than Tom Brady or Brett Farve–the kind of fan that thinks Barry Sanders is old school, Ernie Davis is a distant memory or an unknown cypher. Hopefully, this movie will go to remind America about the man.
Ernie Davis had the potential to be the best running back of all time. He played behind Jim Brown, a running back on the top of many fan’s “best of” lists, at Syracuse. He, like Brown, was set to play for the Cleveland Browns as a rookie when he developed leukemia. He passed away at the age of 23 without ever playing a professional game.
I don’t know how much of Davis’ life story will make it into this movie. Previews make it look like just his struggles with prejudice in the 1950s will be on screen. But his life is tragic and inspiring at the same time. It’s about time his story made it to the screen.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a trailer to embed here. But if you want to check it out, click here.
2. Body of Lies (2,710 Theaters, 128 Minutes, Rated R): Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott. How can you lose with that combo.
Well, it might lose because it is set smack dab in the war on terror in the Middle East. That topic has been the kiss of death for many a film in the last few years. And a couple of those films had pretty good casts as well.
Sure, the trailer makes it look like a battle of wits and wills between DiCaprio and Crowe, but the novel the movie is based on is about a CIA operative in Jordan tracking a high ranking terrorist leader. Could the producers have changed the plot? Sure. But how will audiences react if the film they are seeing is way different than what they thought they were getting.
This is similar territory to the recent Traitor, and that film didn’t set the world on fire. It will be interesting to see if this film has any better luck.
3. Quarantine (2,461 Theaters, 89 Minutes, Rated R): During the San Diego Comic-Con, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
I stepped out into the main hall just as a line of people, there must have been a hundred of them, wearing haz-mat suits walked by.
I have to say, I was impressed (of course, I hadn’t seen the hundreds of “Sexy Jesuses” that did the same stunt earlier to promote Hamlet 2). I went over to one of the haz-mat people, who were handing out postcards. They were promoting this film. I thought that I might want to give it a shot.
That was, however, before I saw any trailers for the film. When I did, I found out that it was a clone of The Blair Witch Project by way of Cloverfield with vampires, apparently.
Could it still be a good movie? Yeah, I guess so. But I wish the movie was as inventive as their marketing (which really wasn’t that inventive, come to think about it).
4. City of Ember (2,022 Theaters, 95 Minutes, Rated PG): But at least Quarantine had at least some marketing. This film has been deadly silent. At least, I didn’t see anything for it. And you’d think if your movie was set to open in over 2,000 theaters, that they’d run an ad here or there.
Maybe the studio had a reason. This film comes from a line of children’s books. The bloom is off the rose when it comes to kid lit adaptations not named Harry Potter. Maybe the powers that be figured that spending money on advertising for a movie that was going to fail anyway was a waste of time.
Anyway, the story is about a magical city that is undergoing an energy crisis–it’s lights are going out, perhaps forever. Two teenagers go on a quest to find out the reason for the blackout and try to fix it before its too late.
If that synopsis doesn’t float your boat, then maybe the fact that Bill Murray and Tim Robbins star in it will. Any movie with both of them in it can’t be all bad.