Movie: Smokin’ Aces

Common and Jeremy Piven in Smokin' Aces (Photo: Universal Pictures)

Simply put, Smokin’ Aces is Pulp Fiction meets Saving Private Ryan – if the objective hadn’t been so much rescuing Private Ryan as it was tracking down and killing him. With an A-List cast, Smokin’ Aces features excellent performances by Ryan Reynolds (yes, we are as surprised as you to see Van Wilder coming into his own), Jeremy Piven (as Buddy “Aces” Israel, the powder-nosed, Vegas illusionist with a $1 million bounty on his head), Ray Liotta, Alicia Keys, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, Jason Bateman (who has a small but ingenious role), and even a cameo by Lost’s Matthew Fox. The long list of characters and complex web of relationships á la The Usual Suspects might seem confusing at first, but before you realize that you’re not totally sure what’s going on, the movie is over and it all makes sense. With everything you could possibly want – violence, drugs, hookers and mobsters – we venture to say Smokin’ Aces is one of the best movies we’ve seen all year.


Movie: The Kingdom

Photo by Frank Connor courtesy of Universal Pictures

Peter Berg (Very Bad Things, Friday Night Lights) directs an A-list cast that features Jamie Foxx, Academy Award-winner Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jeremy Piven and Jason Bateman in the upcoming dramatic thriller, The Kingdom. After a terrorist attack on Americans working in Saudi Arabia, a team of government agents led by Agent Ronald Fleury (Foxx) is dispatched to Riyadh and charged with the task of thwarting a second attack that is being planned by the same extremist group. In a race against the clock, the Feds must penetrate the terrorist cell and capture the group’s leader before it’s too late. Outsiders in a foreign land with foreign customs, Fleury and his team must complete their mission as they face off with hostile insurgents, uncooperative local officials, and a complex web of corrupt and powerful individuals who actively fund terrorism. The agents catch a much needed break when a Saudi police captain turns out to be a critical ally, leading them directly to the man responsible for masterminding the attacks. But will they be able to take down the terrorist network and stop the next attack before it’s too late? You’ll have to wait and see. The Kingdom hits theaters nationwide on 4/20.