And Now, Some Real Cinema

Afternoon, everyone! Sorry this is going up later than usual, especially since there’s some really good stuff opening this weekend. Shall we jump right in?

The Ambassador: Danish journalist Mads Brugger takes a page out of Sacha Baron Cohen’s book, setting himself up with phony diplomatic credentials and taking meetings with some very scary people. Andy admires its intentions, even as he acknowledges its flaws.

Amour: Michael Haneke brings the pain down upon Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva in his exquisitely tortorous tale of aging and death. One of the best movies I saw last year, and I’ll never watch it again.

The Dark Truth: Noted Canadian hack Damian Lee (Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe) gets issue-oriented with this thriller starring Andy Garcia as a former spook sent to investigate a South American massacre. Susan is courteous enough not to question whether eOne’s decision to release this film the same week as Zero Dark Thirty represents the apotheosis of cynicism.

Gangster Squad: I can’t say Ruben Fleischer’s period cops-n-robbers film is good, exactly — it’s kind of the Mini-Pops version of The Untouchables — but it certainly is entertaining. Also, Ryan+Emma 4-EVA.

The House I Live In: If you missed it at Doc Soup last month, Eugene Jarecki’s sorrowful look about the abject failure of America’s war on drugs starts it commercial run today. Definitely worth a look, especially for fans of The Wire‘s David Simon.

The Patron Saints: In the spirit of Allan King, a pair of Canadian documentarians venture into an American old-age home and find … well, abject misery, for a start. Rad says it’s not quite the documentary version of Amour, but it makes a good companion piece.

Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow re-creates the hunt for Osama bin Laden as an epic procedural that pushes into the same dark, ugly places as David Fincher’s Zodiac. And Jessica Chastain is quietly magnificent; the woman can do no wrong.

There, that’s everything. And now it’s time to admit this year’s flu has beaten me, and go to bed. For, like, a year.

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