Inside Man (D: Spike Lee, 129 min)
Strange that the trailers for this bank heist film play up the pic's huge star power ( Denzel Washington , Jodie Foster , Clive Owen ) but make very little mention of director Spike Lee .
That's too bad, because although Lee hasn't had a hit in a while (She Hate Me made many worst-of lists in 2004), he's got a unique film vision -- which is what this kind of seemingly formulaic film needs. Washington plays a Manhattan cop who's negotiating with brilliant bank robber Owen when power broker Foster enters the scene.
The trailers make it seem like there's a big reveal at the conclusion, so it's probably best to see it opening weekend, before your friends ruin the twist for you at the water cooler.
Stay Alive (D: William Brent Bell, 85 min)
Stay Alive is the title of an online video game that lures a group of gamers into playing and then kills them in the same way they die in the game. Sounds like Doom meets Final Destination. Among the players who hope their joysticks don't turn into deathsticks is actor Adam Goldberg , who's probably hoping the title also applies to his career. What happened to him? He had a continuing role in TV's Friends and was featured in films like Saving Private Ryan and A Beautiful Mind. And now this? Let's hope his next project -- David Fincher's eagerly anticipated Zodiac -- puts him back on track.
Both open Friday (March 24). Screened after press time - see review of Inside Man March 23 and review of Stay Alive March 27 at www.nowtoronto.com/film.