MR. & MRS. SMITH: Named after a 1941 Alfred Hitchcock film, MR. AND MRS. SMITH is really its own ball of flaming wax, with enough sizzling chemistry between stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to blow up a small building. He shows he is equally adept in comedy and action, and she manages to set new screen standards of bad-ass sexiness. It's impossible to dislike this pair, or a movie that makes being married seem like such insane fun. Pitt and Jolie play extremely skilled professional assassins who have managed to stay married for five years without ever realizing each other's profession because they work for rival agencies and the work is top secret. When their paths eventually cross on a high-level hit, one of the most lethal battles of the sexes in the history of cinema is officially on. Thanks to a genuinely witty script, the issue isn't who will win, but whether the couple will realize they are meant for each other before it's too late. Director Doug Liman was obviously the right choice for the material, having proved his ability to fuse engaging romance with knuckle-biting action in 2002's THE BOURNE IDENTITY. The comedy is sophisticated and witty, the action is visceral and intense, and there is plenty of satisfying eye candy. Another plus is Vince Vaughn as a fast-talking fellow hit man who lives with his mother. The cinematography is by Bozan Bajelli (the genius behind Abel Ferrara's best mid-1980s work) who imbues each environment, whether it's the Smiths' house or the urban streets--with its own evocative color scheme and feel.
TRUE LIES: Secret agent Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a busy man; when he's not saving the world from terrorists, he's under cover as a boring computer salesman, juggling the everyday needs of his wife, Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis), and his daughter. While Harry and his partner, Gib (Tom Arnold), work to stop a gang of international terrorists from getting their hands on missing nuclear weapons, Helen, feeling neglected, begins a covert affair with a sleazy used-car salesman pretending to be a spy. When Harry finds out, he decides to give Helen a lesson in spy games, which backfires when the couple is kidnapped and stuck in the middle of an international terrorist crisis. Director James Cameron topped his previous spectaculars with this action-comedy extravaganza (the most expensive film ever made before TITANIC), featuring amazing stunts and special effects. Actual Harrier jets were hired from the U.S Air Force for their sequence, while production dangled from a skyscraper over the streets of Miami for the amazing climax. TRUE LIES is based on a 1991 French spy comedy entitled LA TOTALE! (Translation: THE JACKPOT).
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