Kellan Lutz (90210, the Twilight films) stars as the half-god-half-man in an origins story that has some competition because Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is coming out with his own Hercules film later this spring. It’s 1200 BC in ancient Greece and a young Hercules exiled from his kingdom by an evil stepfather has to find a way to fight back. Lutz did 1,000 pushups and ab crunches every day to get the popped-out-muscles look that he sports here. Shot in Sophia, Bulgaria, many of the secondary characters are played by those from the homeland. Not a bad sword-and-sandal saga. Rated 14A.
A direct-to-DVD thriller with a cast of has-beens and wannabes tells the story of an wild west theme park in which something very strange lurks just outside the boundaries of sight and sound. Ricky Schroeder must have needed that work, as is the case with Tatyana Ali (Muhammad Ali’s daughter). Jason Spisak (Vampire Diaries) is Skip, the nigh-time janitor in the park who is intrigued with an old storage locker, but knows that there are many stories surrounding what might be inside. Mercifully short at 90 minutes, it’s not bad if you want a few make-you-jump moments. Rated 18A.
Good cast, a good director, but a poor-ish script leave this one just short of being recommended viewing. Josh Brolin is a wounded man on the lam as police close in, who takes a woman (Kate Winslet) and her young son into a sort-of-but-not-quite hostage situation, and as the story plays out and more and more information becomes available, it’s clear that he may not be as guilty as we think, and that she may not be as innocent as she appears. Jason Reitman directed and also wrote the screenplay based on the novel. Rated PG.
Neil Blomkamp's exceptional sci-fi thriller set and shot in South Africa in which large, insect-like aliens have arrived on earth and are confined to parts of the city that are in effect, slum ghettos. The creatures are trying to assimilate, but that's not going to happen as long as prejudice rules humanity. The computer generated special effects were all done by graduates from Blomkamp's alma mater, the Vancouver Film School. He grew up in South Africa and came to Canada in his late teens, worked with Peter Jackson on the Lord of the Rings films, and has his first director's credit with this shocker that is an allegory for the way South Africa treats its native citizens. Rated 14A.
A no-name cast and a first-time director combine their talents to offer up a suspense-thriller that just might have a supernatural element attached, that is not half bad given its independent production and limited budget. A snowmobiling couple (Brit Morgan and Seth David Mitchell) suffer a horrific accident in the wilderness. While waiting for help to arrive, he disappears leaving his girlfriend all alone ... and something is out there! Rated 14A.
EASY RIDER (1969):
The late Dennis Hopper co-wrote (along with Peter Fonda) and starred in what is surely the classic road picture as two guys hit the roads of American on their choppers. Watch for a supporting role by music producer Phil Spector.