Your weekly movie roundup, dominated by one really terrific action-comedy and one surprisingly effective B-picture:
“Avenue Montaigne“: A French movie for people who think French movies are all about people saying “Oh, but of course!” and skipping about in miniskirts and nylons. Not that there isn’t some truth to that, of course, but Daniele Thompson has a way of making whimsy feel awfully contrived.
“Fracture“: Science tells us the conflicting acting styles of Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling should cause the screen to collapse into a black hole, but science didn’t account for Gregory Hoblit’s disregard for convention in his procedural thrillers. Silly, silly science.
“Hot Fuzz“: Having made one of the best films of this decade — seriously, watch “Shaun of the Dead” again and tell me it isn’t a brilliant and deeply sad allegory for an arrested adolescent’s transition into adulthood, with zombies — Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright turn to the buddy-cop genre for their follow-up. This is not one of the best films of the decade, but as comedies go, it is the shit. How good is it? I’m seeing it again this afternoon — and I’m paying.
“In the Land of Women“: Jonathan Kasdan, the other son of director Lawrence, makes his feature debut with this lachrymose, saccharine drama in which a deeply empathic young writer of soft-core erotica learns to be a better person by interfering in the personal crises of the family who live across the street from his addled grandmother. Someone fancies himself a deep feeler. Someone needs a good smack.
“Vacancy“: Just a week after “Disturbia”, here’s another smart and involving thriller about a couple who spend a very, very bad night at a motel in the middle of nowhere. Kate Beckinsale is entirely convincing as the terrified wife; if they’d cast, say, Patrick Wilson instead of Luke Wilson as her husband, I might have felt more confident about his character. Points off for the ending, though.