Movie Buzz: Spike Lee Sounds Off

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Metro Spirit | September 22, 2008
Spike Lee has a big mouth. Not only has the fiery Do the Right Thing director ticked off Judd Apatow and the Coen brothers in recent months; but his conflict with Clint Eastwood made entertainment headlines as Lee criticized his Academy Award-winning elder for not using any African American actors in his World War II dramas Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima.

The spat got ugly enough that Eastwood was prompted to comment that Lee needed to "shut his face." Yikes. Maybe Lee never saw Dirty Harry, otherwise he would have known not to mess with Clint Eastwood. Or perhaps calling out the veteran actor, director and all-around movie legend was just a publicity stunt to promote Lee's new film?

Miracle at St. Anna tells the story of the all-black 92nd Buffalo Soldier Division, a group of Army soldiers fighting in Italy during World War II, and how four of them became trapped behind enemy lines after rescuing a young Italian boy from certain death. Inspired in part by a true story, Lee's lengthy film (clocking in at over two and a half hours) and the novel on which it was based, were written by James McBride.

In spite of the suggestive hand-holding, crashing waves on the beach, and the notable twinkle in his eye, Richard Gere isn't starring in a feature-length Viagra commercial. Nights in Rodanthe pairs the actor with bona fide MILF Diane Lane in a romantic story from Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook.

Gere plays a soul-searching doctor who winds up as the lone guest at a bed and breakfast manned solely by Lane's character, an attractive mom who happens to be wrestling with personal problems of her own, including a broken marriage. This isn't the first time the two handsomely-maturing actors have hooked up onscreen: they also starred together in 2002's Unfaithful.

Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are two actors who would easily top my list of overrated Hollywood personalities. His baby face and her plain-Jane appearance coupled with a lack of critically-impressive credits begs the question: did better actors turn down roles in their new film?

Eagle Eye is a conspiracy theory thriller in which LaBeouf and Monaghan are targeted by an evil and seemingly omniscient woman who uses them as pawns in a political assassination attempt. The randomly-paired duo is framed so they appear to be terrorists and their lives made a living hell by the mysterious and ultra manipulative evil-doer.

Director D.J. Caruso apparently has an affinity for voyeuristic thrillers like this one. He also directed LaBeouf in Disturbia.

Towelhead is a flick with a sharply racist title that hints about discriminatory attitudes faced by its main character, an adolescent Arab American girl. Based on Alicia Erian's novel, the film's main character, Jasira, deals with her over-protective father while exploring sexuality with her much older next door neighbor, played by Aaron Eckhart. Toni Collette and Maria Bello also star.

Kirk Cameron may best be remembered as the skirt-chasing kid from the late '80s sitcom Growing Pains, but he's now making a living starring in Christian movies. Fireproof features Cameron as a heroic firefighter who has to go to great lengths to save his marriage.
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