New in theaters this week, we have “Shadow Recruit” starring Chris Pine as the 4th person to play Jack Ryan, after Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford & Ben Affleck. This is ultimately an origin story because we see how he was recruited to work for the CIA by Kevin Costner. He stumbles into what I guess could be called Geo-Financial Terrorism, which is scary but ultimately pretty boring to watch. Because of this, they send newbie-spy Jack Ryan on dangerous missions, like sneaking into glass skyscrapers to break up the monotony. The story itself is tough to follow and sometimes totally implausible, but it’s still pretty fun to watch. Chris Pine is handsome but believably intelligent & Keira Knightly is lovely even though she appears to baring her teeth all the time. My favorite character ended up being Kevin Costner’s droll CIA agent because he’s funny but still grizzled and tough. I was annoyed by how convoluted the story was but still enjoyed “Shadow Recruit” enough to give it a C+.
New on DVD this is “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” starring Forest Whitaker as a man who worked as a White House Butler for 8 American Presidents. It’s based on the true story of Eugene Allen, but the facts have been altered to make Eugene a part of several historical incidents. This gives the movie a “Forest Gump” vibe, which felt a little contrived at times. “The Butler” is elevated by some fantastic performances, like Cuba Gooding Jr & Oprah Winfrey. I especially enjoyed watching the actors who played the American Presidents. My personal favorite was LBJ and you’ll see why. I gave “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” a B+ when it came out and honestly am a little surprised that Oprah didn’t get a Best Supporting Actress nomination!
Also, “Gravity” is being released in theaters again this weekend. It was nominated for 10 Oscars on Thursday and is definitely better on the big screen. It’s even worth the extra cash to see it in IMAX 3-D!