After almost three months in release, "Avatar" will cede 3-D screenings at the end of this week when Disney's long-awaited Tim Burton-directed sequel "Alice in Wonderland" hits theaters. It's a predictably light week at the movies beyond that because really, who wants to compete with the combined drawing power of Burton, Disney, "Alice" and Johnny Depp?
In this new "Alice," the title character returns to the magical world of Wonderland 10 years after her initial visit. Much has changed there, and not for the better. The Red Queen runs the show these days while the fearsome Jabberwock keeps the world's inhabitants living in a state of constant fear. As you might expect, only Alice (Mia Wasikowska) and her pall The Mad Hatter (Depp) can save the day.
The other big wide release -- and I highly recommend it, even if it means a double-feature weekend for you -- is director Antoine Fuqua's gritty cop drama "Brooklyn's Finest." I caught this one at Sundance 2008. The ending was slightly different, but the story nonetheless remains the same. I don't want to spoil anything; just think of "Finest" as a New York-centric equivalent to Fuqua's "Training Day." It's hard to hate the cast too: Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Will Patton, Lili Taylor and Ellen Barkin, among others.
The sole limited release opening for the week is "Stolen," a mystery-thriller starring Jon Hamm, Josh Lucas, Jimmy Bennett, James Van Der Beek and Rhona Mitra. The story follows a small town police chief's investigation of an apparent homicide after the mummified remains of a young boy are found in a box. I don't know so much about this one, but it's certainly a fun cast.