Get your calendars out because maybe the best weekend of potential moviegoing is upon us since, oh, mid-December. And you'll want to see at least one of the AMC River Park Square releases (and maybe all of those playing at the Magic Lantern) before Sunday's Oscar broadcast. Here's what's opening Friday:
"Non-Stop": OK, not everything is Oscar-worthy. This is a little action flick starring the very-Irish Liam Neeson (doing his best to pull off an American accent) as a Federal Air Marshall who detects a plot to hold a plane hostage — only to become implicated in the caper himself.
"Son of God": Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey portray the life of Jesus. Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said he hoped the film will be “the antidote to the poison that ‘Passion of the Christ’ became.”
"The Past": From Asghar Farhadi, writer-director of the Oscar-winning "A Separation," this French-Persian film tells the story of an Iranian man deserting his French wife and then being confronted by her demand for a divorce.
"The Wind Rises": Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki, whose film "Spirited Away" won the 2003 Best Animated Feature Oscar, returns with this more conventional story about Jiro Horikoshi, the real-life Japanese boy who grew up to design airplanes.
"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues": Not just a re-release, this "supersize" version of the "Anchorman" sequel is a longer, R-rated version of the Will Ferrell comedy that is said to feature "763 all-new jokes." Be still my heart.
Looking ahead, the big-screen war film "Stalingrad" will open in 3D on Thursday, March 6. And amid all the Oscar-nominated films playing at the Magic Lantern, from "Dallas Buyers Club" to "Philomena" to the shorts programs, the Lantern will hold a hosted special screening of "Hannah Arendt" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, a special one-night screening of "As the Palaces Burn" at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Wednesday and continue screenings of the filmed-in-Spokane "Knights of Badassdom."
Go forth. Watch. Enjoy.