Another Slow Friday

Hey, my residuals from 'Contact' finally came through!Eleven movies. No waiting.

“The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman”: The feature debut of a Chinese commercial director who calls himself Wuershan boasts “a brothel full of rapping courtesans, a Jabba the Hut-like eunuch and countless animal fatalities,” according to Rad. So it’s got that going for it.

Cosmonaut“: Susanna Nicchiarelli makes a head-spinning debut with this coming-of-age movie about an idealistic Italian teenager, set during the space race and orchestrated with such confidence that it feels like an epic when it’s really just a tiny little slice of nostalgia. It’s playing at the Royal. You should be making plans to go.

I Saw the Devil“: The latest kitchen-sinker from director Kim Ji-woon, who gave us “A Tale of Two Sisters” and “The Good, the Bad, the Weird”, pits a Korean secret-service agent (Lee Byeung-hun) against the serial killer (Choi Min-sik) who butchered his pregnant fiancee. I introduced it the other night thusly: “The movie you’re about to see is extremely … um … extreme.” And I stand by that assessment.

“Jane Eyre”: I kind of hated director Cary Fukunaga’s last movie, “Sin Nombre”, and the casting of Mia Wasikowska as Jane seems a little wan, but then they cast Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester, and I got all interested again. And then I couldn’t make the press screening. Glenn felt it had some problems, but says it’s worth a look.

“Limitless”: Bradley Cooper goes from schnook to brainiac thanks to an experimental pharmaceutical that lets him use 100% of his brain — as opposed to the 3% he was cruising on when he shot “The A-Team”, I suppose. Glenn thought it was okay … but is Robert De Niro’s character really named Carl Van Loon? That’s awesome.

Kill the Irishman“: About half an hour into Jonathan Hensleigh’s piddling little true-crime drama, there’s a shot in this piddling excuse for a movie where someone walks into an office, and the lighting and the angle made me think he’d just walked into a 1980s cop show. If that’s the result of abject incompetence, that’s depressing. If it was a deliberate choice, then this movie sucks even worse than I think it does.

The Lincoln Lawyer“: Matthew McConaughey finds himself a franchise in Michael Connelly’s pot-boiler about a Los Angeles defense attorney who latches onto an assault case that latches right back — with murder. Nothing special, but it’s watchable enough, and I’d rather see McConaughey do this than another rom-com with Kate Hudson.

Paul“: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite for a bash around the American southwest, where they find the extraterrestrial equivalent of Towelie. I’ve been fairly open in my love of Pegg and Frost, so feel free to yell “Bias!” if you think it’s a one-joke movie. But that joke made me laugh, so what else can I say?

A Screaming Man“: At a glance, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s somber African drama might look like a “Hotel Rwanda” knockoff; the main character works at a posh Western hotel, and there’s the same sense of a world tilting slowly from sanity to madness in the background. But it’s a very different animal, with a very different point of view. You should check it out.

When We Leave” Feo Aladag’s look at toxic fundamentalism in contemporary Europe gives a familiar story new weight, thanks to an oppressive visual sensibility and a tremendous performance by Sibel Kekilli, whom you may remember from “Head-On”. (And if you don’t, you should.)

The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom“: I tried to get on side, really I did, but just about everything in Tara Johns’ feature debut — about a Manitoba girl in 1976 who decides Ms. Parton is her birth mother — is wincingly precious. Except for the music, of course, and actors, who acquit themselves admirably while doing wincingly precious things.

Phew. There, that should cover it …