Hugo Weaving, as V, never comes out from behind his mask in V for Vendetta.
Bob Mondello, phoning in from 50 feet away, offered some advice on this weekend's movie releases:
V for Vendetta: A graphic-novel-based fantasy that cribs plot points and visuals from multiple sources. It mistakes terrorism for revolution and allows the Wachowski Brothers to climb about halfway back out of the hole they dug for themselves in the last two Matrix movies. As dystopias go, it's second-tier stuff... sort of George Orwell's 1984 with a happier ending. But Natalie Portman looks great with her head shaved, and there are special effects in the last reel. Why they bothered hiring Hugo Weaving to play V is anyone's guess since he never takes off his Guy Fawkes mask. Mondello talks about the Shakespeare connection on ATC tonight.
She's the Man: Soccer captain Duke (Channing Tatum) quotes his high school coach as saying, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them," which suggests the coach might actually have read Twelfth Night. The screenwriters only seem to have read the Cliff's Notes (and not too carefully) as they plunked the Bard's cross-dressing heroine, Viola (Amanda Bynes), into a boy's soccer squad. Cute enough for tweeners, but a little sugary for folks over 13.
Thank You for Smoking: A tobacco industry satire that's about two years late and a couple of dozen jokes short. It's funny on occasion, but in obvious, clunky ways. (This is one of those movies that NPR has decided to do a lot on, which happens from time-to-time -- every show feels like they have to take a whack at it.)
Find Me Guilty: The "true" story of the longest criminal trial in U.S. history plays out as a great argument against the jury system. Vin Diesel is fat and funny as a small-time mobster in a big-time crime family who refuses to rat out his pals and whose antics turn the trial into a farce. Sidney Lumet has done trial movies straight in the past (12 Angry Men, The Verdict), and has fun sending this one up.
Don't Come Knocking: A past-his-prime, alcoholic cowboy (Sam Shepard) goes AWOL, visits his mom (Eva Marie Saint) for the first time in decades, and discovers he fathered a son years earlier with a girlfriend (Jessica Lange) who is less-than-overjoyed to see him again. The son's not too keen on him either. Shepard co-wrote with director Wim Wenders and the whole thing feels seriously overwrought.