On The Screen
Arnold Schwarzanegger plays a federal marshal responsible for the safety of witnesses, in this case, Vanessa Williams, a "bona fide honest person" who has information on a company selling high-tech weapons to foreign terrorists. But Arnold soon learns his boss is in on the deal and that he is being set up to take the blame, so Arnold goes out on his own to clear his name, save the witness, and save the world. Needless to say, he kills/breaks everything in his way. The action is fairly good, but uninspired. As far as Schwarzanegger movies goes, this rates in the middle. -David V. Rodriguez. Sony Copley.
Joel and Ethan Coen revisit familiar territory, both personal and professional, in this tale of crime in the heartland. Set in the wintry Minnesota landscape from which the two brothers escaped a few years ago, this story of a kidnapping plot gone bad retreads the success of the Coens' first movie, Blood Simple. This revisiting is underlined by the casting of Frances McDormand, Blood Simple's femme fatale, but in a very different role: a pregnant police chief with more brains, determination, and grit, not to mention moral sense, than anyone else in the movie. -Stephen Brophy. Kendall Square.
HH1/2 Mission: Impossible
Never mind the title: besides the famous theme tune and the initial premise of the Impossible Mission Force, Brian De Palma's film version of the 60s spy drama has very little to do with the TV show. IMFleader Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) presents his team with a mission to intercept a top secret list of agents for sale to a worldwide legion of criminals, but when things go awry in Prague, superagent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has to weave his way through the various plots and counterplots to find a traitor within the organization. This is Cruise's picture, and, though much of the "team" is dispatched early on, the remainder of the big-name cast is wasted. Even though the film moves at a swift enough pace so that you don't have time to dwell on the implausible plot details, the only memorable setpiece is Cruise's wire-suspended entrance into an impregnable, sterile CIA computer room. -Scott C. Deskin. Sony Copley.
HHH The Rock
A well-intentioned general takes over Alcatraz and threatens to fire rockets armed with nerve gas into the heart of San Francisco if the government doesn't agree to pay reparations to the families of dead soldiers. Enter Nicolas Cage, a FBI chemical weapon specialist, and Sean Connery, the only man ever to escape from Alcatraz; their job is to sneak onto "the rock" and disarm the rockets. It is basically another take-off of Die Hard, but a good one. Cage and Connery work well together, and there are many funny parts, as well as one of the best San Francisco car chase scenes ever. -DVR. Sony Copley.
Trainspotting tells the story of a group of Scottish heroin users. Already released in England, it has become the third-largest grossing British-made film, and has received a large amount of criticism for not condemning heroin use. The story is told from the view of heroin user, without judgement, which makes the story feel completely genuine and totally fascinating. -DVR. Opening Friday.