Go All Passive Spectator with The Mechanic, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector and The Rite in This Week's Film Roundup

Go All Passive Spectator with <i>The Mechanic</i>, <i>The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector</i> and <i>The Rite</i> in This Week's Film Roundup
So far in 2011, The Green Hornet is the top-grossing film with over $63 million earned domestically. Given the limitation in cinematic options, this isn't exactly a surprise, but with every Friday comes another batch of titles vying for your disposable income, all coveting that No. 1 spot. Read our take on the latest releases in the Exclaim! Recently Reviewed section to see if any of the new releases catch your eye, or determine that you would rather just wait until February 18 when Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son splashes into multiplexes with its scatological brilliance.

Last January, CBS Films launched its theatrical brand with the dreadful Extraordinary Measures, which failed in just about every capacity. But it seems that the company has learned from its mistakes, or are at least trying a different tactic, by dropping the action-laden remake of The Mechanic (photo), with Jason Statham taking on the role of vengeance-seeking hitman Bishop. How does the remake hold up? Does Statham run around with his shirt off? Are there morality lessons that reflect our zeitgeist? Read our review to find the answers to these questions, and to learn a little bit about bourgeois contrivance.

If action isn't on your agenda, maybe a documentary about a reclusive record-producing weirdo will fill that ADD void. The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector features a lengthy 2007 interview with Spector during the year of his first trial for murdering B-movie actress Lana Clarkson, noting his perspectives on the situation while detailing his music career. Unfortunately, the documentary doesn't feature any possessions or Catholic anxiety, but the new Anthony Hopkins flick, The Rite, does, going the doubting-priest route of exorcism tedium.

We also have a review of the Oscar-nominated Greek film Dogtooth, wherein three adult children, hidden from the world since birth, are corrupted by a crafty prostitute, a rogue cat and Jennifer Beals's lascivious "flashdancing." If only Kevin Spacey's latest political tirade, Casino Jack, featured someone dancing out of control, it might be less forgettable. Although, surely someone out there wants to force laughter in a crowded theatre to show everyone that they too dislike greedy Republicans like Jack Abramoff.

Read these theatrical film reviews and more over at the Exclaim.ca Recently Reviewed section.