Friday movie roundup – Feb. 26

Our two new wide releases this weekend are both surprises, one good and one bad.

“Cop Out,” the first film to be directed by Kevin Smith without also being written by him, is the bad one. It’s a surprise because the trailers were pretty funny, and Smith has made some really good comedies before. I mean, not in a while, but he has done it. Just not this time.

But “The Crazies” (review at — a horror film that’s a remake and has no big stars in it — turns out to be surprisingly tense, scary, and fun, the way movies about viral outbreaks that destroy towns ought to be. Good for “The Crazies”!

We also have reviews of three Oscar contenders playing in limited release. “Ajami” and “A Prophet” (reviews at Cinematical), from Israel and France, respectively, are both nominated in the foreign-language category. Coincidentally, both also have to do with the drug-fueled world of organized crime, particularly its effects on young people. Also coincidentally, they’re both very good.

The other Oscar film is “The Messenger,” (review at nominated for its screenplay and for Woody Harrelson’s supporting performance. He and Ben Foster play Army officers given the duty of going to people’s houses and telling them their son or daughter or husband has just been killed in Iraq. So yeah, it’s pretty hilarious.

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