After catching a bit of a buzz at last fall's Toronto Film Festival, Phillip Noyce's riveting political thriller Catch a Fire fizzled at the box office with a $4.2 million gross. Talk about criminally underseen. If I were someone really powerful, like Howie Mandel, I'd have the lot of you who went to see Saw III instead arrested for that crack you're so obviously possessing. But I digress.
Not only does Catch a Fire automatically score bonus points for being an Africa-set film with a main character who's actually African (see The Constant Gardener, A Good Man in Africa, Out of Africa, The African Queen, Ernest Goes to Africa and a few dozen other titles if you're unsure of what I mean), the drama is a beautifully shot, wonderfully acted and suspenseful till the last frame. Derek Luke, who's been continually impressive since his debut in Antwone Fisher, is a force to behold as Patrick Chamusso, a foreman at a South African oil refinery falsely accused of terrorism. He's in turn terrorized and tortured by the impressively accented Tim Robbins as the SOB police colonel Nic Vos (Don't you love it when actors play their polar opposites, like the very visible actor Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man?). We here at Moviefone thought Luke might get some attention from the Academy, but that train has obviously left the station, Luke stranded without even a Metrocard (or online critics' award). Step away from that script for the inspirational sports story, Derek. Fire your agent if he gives you another Biker Boyz. Your time is nigh.
Buy This: Viva Pedro: The Almodóvar Collection
Pedro Almodóvar is one of the few directors in the world who can do no wrong. Seriously... He could make a movie arguing that every heterosexual male on the planet should be castrated and I'd probably walk away raving about his trademark rich palette of colors and the film's strong emotional resonance. While I was among the minority that didn't love Volver as much as his last few films, I'll join the Almodovar faithful in rejoicing over this immaculate collection. It may not be "The Complete" collection, but it's certainly eight of his ten best films, the only notable absence being Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down(plus the not-yet-available Volver). You get recent faves like Talk to Her and Bad Education, the best of the best in All About My Mother and Woman on a Verge of Nervous Breakdown and early stuff like Matador and Law of Desire (starring Antonio Banderas back in the day before he married that nutty woman). Also included: The Flower of My Secret and Live Flesh. The price is a little steep ($117.95, though I've found it as cheap as $82), but I doubt they'll turn off the heat if you miss one little payment.
Especially Recommended for: World cinema buffs, Spanish students, women on the verge
Other New Releases This Week (Jan. 30)