MR. AND MRS. SMITH: Named after a 1941 Alfred Hitchcock film, MR. AND MRS. SMITH is really its own ball of flaming wax, with enough sizzling chemistry between stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to blow up a small building. He shows he is equally adept in comedy and action, and she manages to set new screen standards of bad-ass sexiness. It's impossible to dislike this pair, or a movie that makes being married seem like such insane fun. Pitt and Jolie play extremely skilled professional assassins who have managed to stay married for five years without ever realizing each other's profession because they work for rival agencies and the work is top secret. When their paths eventually cross on a high-level hit, one of the most lethal battles of the sexes in the history of cinema is officially on. Thanks to a genuinely witty script, the issue isn't who will win, but whether the couple will realize they are meant for each other before it's too late. Director Doug Liman was obviously the right choice for the material, having proved his ability to fuse engaging romance with knuckle-biting action in 2002's THE BOURNE IDENTITY. The comedy is sophisticated and witty, the action is visceral and intense, and there is plenty of satisfying eye candy. Another plus is Vince Vaughn as a fast-talking fellow hit man who lives with his mother. The cinematography is by Bozan Bajelli (the genius behind Abel Ferrara's best mid-1980s work) who imbues each environment, whether it's the Smith's house, or the urban streets--with its own evocative color scheme and feel.
LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT: Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie), an ambitious TV anchorwoman, is adorned in a perfect wardrobe enhanced by her trademark Marilyn Monroe-inspired blonde bouffant hairdo. She is also engaged to a Seattle Mariners star (Christian Kane). To top off her perfect life, her boss recommends her for a dream job, a network position in New York City. In order to increase her chances, he sends her to do field work with the renowned but difficult cameraman, Pete (Edward Burns). when she's on an assignment, Lanie runs into a homeless man, the prophet Jack (Tony Shalhoub), who makes three predictions: that the Seattle Seahawks will beat the Denver Broncos 19-13, that it will hail the following day, and that she'll be dead by next Thursday. When the first two predictions come true, Lanie reevaluates her life and realizes she's missing out on the smaller things because of her ambition. Jolie is sexy, adorable, and whimsical in her first comedy role. The sizzling banter between Burns and Jolie recalls Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant in HIS GIRL FRIDAY. LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT is a lovely departure for director Steven Herek (ROCK STAR, BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE).
PUSHING TIN: Nick Falzone (John Cusack) is a confident, accomplished air traffic controller whose life is turned upside down when drifter Russell Bell (Billy Bob Thornton) joins his tight-knit work team and threatens to drive him insane. Stakes are high and pressure is constant in the world of air traffic control, making the line between excellence and failure dangerously thin. While jokes provide the team of controllers with an important release from their stressful occupation, a narrow division exists between teasing and animosity.
Mike Newell's careful research of the air traffic control profession, including its frequent emotional toll, lends a high level of realism to PUSHING TIN. Newell combines a depiction of the demandingly precise work done in air traffic control towers with an emotional portrait of the people charged with the safety of thousands of airline passengers and crew every day. The film also features the charming talents of Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie.