Aeon Flux (D: Karyn Kusama, 120 min)
Earlier this year, Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand shared the screen as friends fighting systemic abuse in a Minnesota mine in the painfully earnest film North Country.
Let's hope they have better luck in this 180-degree turn, the live-action version of the cult 1990s animated series about a futuristic secret agent/assassin (Theron) who's clad in tight black leather.
McDormand plays a god-like figure called the Handler. When was the last time she bit into a big-budget studio film? The rest of the cast includes strong thesps like Jonny Lee Miller , Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and Pete Postlethwaite .
Filming was literally a pain in the neck for Theron. She injured her neck during shooting, and caused a month-long delay in production. The result? She's got a "no stunts" clause in all future film contracts.
How about adding a "no North Country sequel" clause as well?
The Gospel (D: Rob Hardy, 105 min)
There are no advance press screenings for this film, which is usually the kiss of death.
Boris Kodjoe plays David, a young devout kid who abandons the church, runs away and becomes a big R&B star. When his dad falls ill, he returns home to find his family - and the church - in shambles.
I'm sure the singing will be decent.
Both films open Friday (December 2). Aeon Flux screened after press time - see review December 2 at www.nowtoronto.com/film. See review of The Gospel on December 5.