American Dreamz (D: Paul Weitz, 107 min)
The trailers for American Dreamz have been playing for months, and while a couple of gags get some laughs, I'm still not sure I want to see it. Hugh Grant plays the jaded host of an American Idol-style show, Dennis Quaid the bored U.S. president and Mandy Moore a perky pop star wannabe. The wild card is a subplot involving an Arab contestant ( Sam Golzari ) who's rumoured to be a terrorist. Why does this look rehashed? Maybe American Idol is too obvious a target for satire. Still, writer/director Paul Weitz scored a minor hit last year with In Good Company, also starring Quaid, and the cast does include a trio of women ( Judy Greer , Marcia Gay Harden and Jennifer Coolidge ) I'd watch in anything.
The Sentinel (D: Clark Johnson, 108 min)
For some reason, this seems like a been-there, done-that film as well. Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland play Secret Service guys who uncover a plot to assassinate the president. Wait, didn't Douglas play the president once upon a time? This was obviously shot in and around Toronto; look for local actors like Raoul Bhaneja , Yanna McIntosh and Josh Peace among the American stars. Ex-local boy Clark Johnson directs.
Silent Hill (D: Christophe Gans, 128 min)
Another week, another crappy movie based on a video game. Not so fast. Director Christophe Gans directed the acclaimed Brotherhood Of The Wolf, and screenwriter Roger Avary co-wrote Pulp Fiction. And the video game is very female-friendly; apparently Avary broke down in tears when he played it. So this suspense/horror flick about a mother ( Radha Mitchell ) searching for her missing daughter in a spooky town could offer up surprises.
All three films open Friday (April 21). Screened after press time - see reviews April 21 at www.nowtoronto.com/film.