“The Last Stand” — Fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger will be happy with this routine action flick that perfectly suits the aging action star. Arnold plays an older, yet wiser, lawman who is sheriff of a sleepy Southwest town. Turns out he lost his job as an LAPD cop after a botched operation that left his partner crippled. Now, he has a second chance, because a drug kingpin is making a run for the Mexican border and coming right at his town in a suped-up auto that can do 200 mph. Fun, if predictable, yarn that sees the ex-Governor playing his age. Forest Whitaker pops up as a fed and Peter Stormare (“Fargo”) all but steals the flick as the bad guy.
“Side Effects” — Steve Soderbergh (“Oceans 11”) directed this psychological thriller that investigates the strained relationship between drug companies and insurance instigators. The story centers on a young woman who kills her husband while under the effect of prescribed anti-anxiety drugs. The insurance company blames the physician and he blames the drugs, but the answer proves to be more shocking, as this thriller hurtles towards its conclusion. Good fun, with some nicer performances by Jude Law, as a desperate doctor, and Catherine Zeta Jones, as sleazy therapist.
“Parker” — Jason Statham stars as a thief doublecrossed by his partners in this adaptation of the crime novels of Richard Stark. The books, which are finally back in print, have been made into films before, as vehicles for Lee Marvin, Mel Gibson and Jim Brown. Statham does a fine job here and he is well matched by Jennifer Lopez . Good low-key crime drama.
“Stand Up Guys” — An old story gets a life here by some stunt casting that should put this film on the top of any film fanatics’ watch list. Al Pacino stars as a gangster who is released from prison after serving 28 years for murder. He is met by his best friend, Christopher Walken, and the pair live it up and rekindle old memories. Little does Pacino know but Walken has been hired to kill his old friend by the father of the man Pacino murdered. The actors sell this story and rein in their high octane acting styles.