The Slowest Weekend of the Year

THIS IS YOUR GODThe weekend before Labour Day is traditionally the slowest of the year for moviegoing. Everyone has something else they have to be doing — packing for school, enjoying the last free days of summer, avoiding whatever garbage the studios usually dump.

But this year, the selection is better than average. In fact, I liked all three of this week’s new releases … didn’t love them, but enjoyed them well enough. Here, I’ll walk you through ’em:

The American“: Technically, Anton Corbijn’s broody Eurothriller — with George Clooney hiding out in an Italian village and discovering the redemptive joys of smoking-hot whores — isn’t a Labour Day weekend release, since it opened on Wednesday. But still.

Going the Distance“: In which real-life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long struggle with a long-distance relationship, while various wacky friends and family members egg them on in different directions. The stars are charming, the script is just a little smarter and funnier than it could have been, and it has Charlie Day from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. Wild card!

Machete“: When Robert Rodriguez announced he’d be reverse-engineering a whole movie out of that “Grindhouse” trailer, I scoffed. (Didn’t everyone?) But he’s done a really entertaining job of it, and if this doesn’t vault Danny Trejo to the top of the action-hero A-list, nothing will. (I’m kidding. Nothing will. But he’s pretty awesome, all the same.) My review should be going online later this afternoon. UPDATE: There it is!

And there you have it! Go see something!