I was doing high-school comedies back when doing high-school comedies was coolSo it turns out that when one starts writing for a weekly, one radically changes one’s filing rhythm, to the point where one wakes up on Friday and freaks out because there are all these movies opening that one hasn’t reviewed. And then one takes a deep breath and resolves to stop referring to one’s self as … yeah, sorry, I’m still doing it.


Be Kind Rewind“: In which Jack Black and Mos Def run around New Jersey making slapdash remakes of such VHS classics as “Ghostbusters”, “Rush Hour 2” and “Driving Miss Daisy”, and Michel Gondry kicks around the notions of outsider art and the ownership of cultural memory before he decides that he’d really like a cookie, and wanders off to craft services and leaves everyone stranded.

“Caramel”: The genius of Nadine Labaki’s crowd-pleasing import is that it transplants the concept of Ice Cube’s “Barbershop” movies to Lebanon, but otherwise leaves the chatty, casual ambiance intact. A simple switch of locations generates plenty of tension and political subtext, though — as Adam points out in Metro — it still feels pretty calculated.

“Charlie Bartlett”: Imagine if someone remade “Rushmore”, and didn’t realize that Max Fischer was only cool in his own mind. Actually, Jon Poll’s feeble high-school comedy owes much more to “Pump Up the Volume” — though it couldn’t carry Hard Harry’s jock. But Robert Downey, Jr. does some fine work. Adam reviews it in Eye; we’re on the same page.

Vantage Point“: An all-star cast looks awfully tense in this inane political thriller about terrorism and stuff, which is so totally of-the-moment that it doesn’t even exist in any enduring sense — it’s just noise and smoke, built around a stylistic conceit that winds up working against the narrative rather than driving it. I’m sure Matthew Fox, William Hurt, Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker and Sigourney Weaver all enjoyed their time in Spain; I just wish they’d got a movie out of it.

More screenings beckon — catch y’all later!