By R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic
THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE
It would appear that Nicolas Cage's foray into more credible, interesting work -- i.e. his unwound, much-lauded performance in Werner Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans -- was very short-lived. This spring, he reunites with his "National Treasure" director, Jon Turtletaub, and producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," a mega-budget Hollywood take on the classic tale of wizard and wizard wannabe. With the whole "Treasure" team on board (as well as actors Jay Baruchel and Alfred Molina), chances are this is going to be some highly conventional fare. Still (and I've said this before only to kick myself later), the effects look fun.
Now, this is the version of Angelina Jolie I like to see. Not the one who screams about losing her son and then lands an undeserved Oscar nomination, but the one who really kicks ass. Action is the arena in which Jolie excels. See: "Wanted," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." "Salt," Jolie's latest pulse-pounder, casts her as a CIA officer who's forced to become a fugitive after accusations fly that she's a spy for the Russians. The role was originally written for a man until Jolie, one of the few female actors who can carry a film, stepped in.
THE LAST STATION
A prestigious cast leads this period film about the final year in the life of famed Russian writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer). Directed by Michael Hoffman, the movie recently earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Picture. Additional cast members include James McAvoy and Helen Mirren, who's expected to find herself among this year's Best Actress Academy Award nominees. "The Last Station" is playing in very limited release.