Flicks: It's Pacino or bust this week

Donna Antonacci

It’s that time of the week again, and what’s on tap for a Friday night movie? Unfortunately this week I’m under orders from my step-monster to see “88 Minutes” with her. That’s OK, because, you may remember, it was one to which I was looking forward.

For those not familiar with the flick, it’s all about who wants to kill Al Pacino. That’s what he’d like to know, as well. Pacino stars as Jack Gramm, a college professor who does some freelance work for the FBI. One day Gramm gets a phone call telling him he only has 88 minutes to live. Could the killer be a recent man he testified against, played by Neal McDonough (“I Know Who Killed Me”), or is it some mystery person? It promises great suspense and Pacino’s usual screaming and overacting. Any time there’s an actual countdown in a suspense thriller, it heightens the sense of urgency. I’m definitely interested, but the Pacino flick I really can’t wait to see is later this year with Robert DeNiro, called “Righteous Kill.” With both actors having equal star power, maybe I can’t call that a Pacino flick. Anyway, I’ll wait to discuss that later.

While my decision was made for me this week and I’ll enjoy “88 Minutes” as much as the next moviegoer, what if I had a choice? There are a few others to discuss, but only one stands out. In reverse order, as always:

“Anamorph” stars Willem Dafoe as Detective Stan Aubrey in charge of investigating and catching a serial killer on the loose in New York. The murderer arranges his victims in elaborate setups that include clues to his identity. Aubray is confounded not only by the killer but by his ambitious young partner (Scott Speedman). He becomes obsessed with the killer, who starts to implicate him in his crimes. As mysteries go, it seems enticing, but I could wait to rent it.

Then there’s a comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” for which I have seen the trailer ad nauseum. I’m sure next to “88 Minutes” this movie should smash the box office as No. 2. However, it’s just another average comedy. The movie is about Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), the loyal and adoring boyfriend to TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), who has his heart ripped from his chest when she unceremoniously dumps him for a trendy rock star (Russell Brand). After much sulking, he takes a trip to Hawaii to cheer himself up. (Don’t we all wish we had the money for that?) Unfortunately, he finds Sarah and her new beau staying at the same hotel, and they now believe he’s stalking her. Though there’ll be some laughs, I see this as a rental-only flick.

My second choice for this week and possibly my secret indulgence after my obligatory Pacino viewing will be “Forbidden Kingdom.” Aside from all the media hype and previews, there’s been a buzz about this one. It brings together two kung fu stars — Jackie Chan and Jet Li — which is precisely why there’s a buzz. So it’s not Deniro and Pacino, but Chan and Li are a certain box-office draw. Although kung fu movies are never long on plot, they’re sure to entertain. I expect some great one-liners and some cool action and special effects. The story is a fantasy of a man obsessed with kung fu stories who finds a staff in an antique store that transports him back in time. He meets a drunken master — the Silent Monk — and the Golden Sparrow, who help him return the staff to its rightful owner. I’m very enthusiastic, but I guess I need to go with my date Saturday night because the step-monster can’t stand kung fu.

In Flicks, Donna Antonacci will narrow each week’s field of new releases to one must-see cinema adventure. Reach her at