At last night's premiere for Cassandra's Dream, a water-guzzling Colin Farrell announced that he was on his game and "ready to go back to work." But is this happy declaration a cinematic curse in disguise? After receiving early buzz for standout performances in Tigerland and Minority Report, the hard-partying Irishman quickly flamed out both onscreen and off. Let's face it: Michael Mann's bloated Miami Vice redo? Oliver Stone's Macedonian train wreck Alexander? Hooking up with Britney Spears? None of them a pretty sight.
After checking himself into rehab post-Vice debauchery, however, a newly sober Farrell quietly shot a trio of films that are all debuting in the next three months and, shockingly enough, don't look terrible. Cassandra, once you get past the fact that Farrell looks absolutely nothing like screen brother Ewan McGregor, is the dark final film of Woody Allen's unofficial London trilogy and is generating mixed to positive reviews in early screenings. March's drama Pride & Glory recasts the man-in-uniform vet (S.W.A.T., The Recruit, Vice) as a cop, but actually lets the actor emote, as opposed to merely staging explosions and gunplay around him. And most promisingly, In Bruges, a black comedy about two assassins (Farrell, Brendan Gleeson) ordered to lie low by their deranged boss (Ralph Fiennes) after a botched hit, was chosen to open Sundance. Written and directed by playwright Martin McDonagh (The Pillowman), the surreal film (and equally surreal, totally NSFW trailer) features Farrell at his accented, wry, and decidedly non-Hollywood best (sample line: "If I grew up on a farm, and I was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn't. So it doesn't"). Let's hope the 31-year-old has learned his lesson: Don't drink and pick scripts. —Michelle Kung