All Politics is Local

This week’s release schedule is a little lighter, so I’m going back to full-sentence encapsulations. But that doesn’t mean I’m ruling out doing the six-word summary thing again. It was fun!

“Circumstance”: Two young Iranian women discover that modern Iran just isn’t modern enough when they fall for one another in this Sundance award-winner, which Susan quite likes.

“French Immersion”: Veteran Canadian producer Kevin Tierney (“Bon Cop, Bad Cop”) jumps into the director’s seat with another comedy about how awkward it is when the two solitudes rub up against each other. Rad hated it — though he does single Karine Vanasse out for praise, which makes sense because she’s usually the best thing about any movie in which she appears.

The Ides of March“: There is not a single surprise in all of George Clooney’s political drama, based on an oh-so-cynical stage play that appears to have been written with a copy of “Mamet for Dummies” next to the laptop. But Clooney’s so good with his actors that it almost doesn’t matter; it’s like you’re right there while Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and (yes) Evan Rachel Wood run through the best repertory performance they’ve ever given.

The Interrupters“: Steve James, director of the outstanding documentaries “Hoop Dreams” and “Stevie”, tackles the subject of urban violence from an intriguing perspective, following a Chicago group dedicated to countering the climate of simmering anger in their city. But a rigid structure — and James’ reluctance or inability to burrow into the social underpinnings of the issue — means we only skim the surface of the story.

“Margaret”: Kenneth Lonergan’s follow-up to the excellent “You Can Count on Me” has spent seven years on a shelf, and in various editing suites. Now we finally get to see what he was after. Susan says it was worth the wait.

“1911”: Jackie Chan’s 100th movie — and in my unscientific count, the 23rd since he lost the ability to move his face — gets an exclusive engagement at the Lightbox, which means (1) no one else wanted it and (2) they’re trying to court him for a retrospective or something. Andrew finds it passable.

Real Steel“: Yes, it’s a movie where Hugh Jackman bonds with his son by teaching a robot to throw combinations. And yet it’s actually pretty engaging as these things go, with human-sized stakes, exciting set pieces and even a little thinly-veiled commentary on present-day America. Not to go all Armond White here, but there’s more than meets the eye.

Trespass“: A last-minute addition to this week’s release slate, Joel Schumacher’s home-invasion thriller utterly wastes Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman — both of whom have Oscars, and should therefore be ashamed of themselves for turning up in crap like this — and does terrible things to Jordana Spiro, who does not have an Oscar and is therefore in no position to turn down Joel Schumacher. And to think this was a Gala.

There, that’s everything. Oh, and there’s a bunch of stuff happening at the Lightbox that I’ll cover in my web column at NOW — I’ll link to that when it’s up, but basically it’s not that important unless you’ve been jonesing to see “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, like, immediately.

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