… but have you seen the listings? There’s like a bajillion movies opening this weekend!
“Darfur Now“: Ted Braun does a noble service to the cause of Darfur awareness by putting a human face on an unimaginable genocide. (Six faces, actually, one of whom is Don Cheadle.) But he also can’t help going for an uplifting ending, which leaves you thinking the problem’s solved when in fact things are just getting steadily worse.
“Fred Claus“: Vince Vaughn as Santa’s resentful older brother. How do you screw that up? Well, by letting David Dobkin direct it, for a start … and by garbling the script so badly that you require reshoots that change the essential nature of key characters. If Kevin Spacey wasn’t Lucifer (or Jesus’ brother Bob) in the original draft, I will be very surprised.
“Jimmy Carter Man from Plains“: Jonathan Demme follows Jimmy Carter on a book tour, and watches him refuse to be consumed by an invented media frenzy. It seems preposterous that the man who brokered a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt should have to defend himself against charges of anti-Semitism, but I guess that’s just the way the world works now.
“Lions for Lambs“: Robert Redford bids for relevance with Matthew Michael Carnahan’s entirely of-the-moment political drama about Big Ideas and Righteous Causes and how you should, like, not trust anybody over thirty. That said, Tom Cruise is brilliantly well-cast as a Republican senator who substitutes slogans and talking points for logic and substance …
“Music Within“: Ron Livingston is Richard Pimentel, a disabled Vietnam veteran whose work with fellow disabled vets ultimately led to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (And Roger Ebert takes exception to that.) It’s a fine story, but when you tell it as a simplistic TV-movie, nobody wins.
“No Country for Old Men”: After a series of comedies, Joel and Ethan Coen return to meditative, textured drama with an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel about committed people doing morally murky things. It’s great filmmaking, if a little thin on the emotional side — and I don’t get what the deal is about Javier Bardem playing the Terminator in a pageboy haircut.
“P2“: Wes Bentley plays a crazy security guard who chases white-collar hottie Rachel Nichols around the underground parking lot of their building. This is getting a national theatrical release? Seriously?
“This is England“: Look, I like Shane Meadows both personally and professionally, but he keeps making the same movie, and I don’t know why we can’t call him on it. This one rings a few changes on the formula — it’s set in Thatcher’s England, and the unstable father figure this time is a racist skinhead — but it’s still the same coming-of-age picture, and “A Room for Romeo Brass” remains the best of them.
So, um … seen “Lars and the Real Girl” yet?