Page 4 of 5
I WANT SOMEONE TO EAT CHEESE WITH 3 stars (Not Rated) Still living at home with his mom, struggling actor James (Jeff Garlin) is an overgrown kid who riffs on pop culture and can't get laid. What might be annoying in an 18-year-old is both funny and poignant in a 39-year-old. Garlin, who also directs, very much pulls from the same comedy-of-the-abject highlighted in his day job, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and like that humor model, can be both annoyingly self-indulgent and perceptive, too. Sarah Silverman co-stars as a funny/creepy combination of kid's-book character Junie B. Jones and an oversexed nut job. -- Feaster
THE KINGDOM (R) In this Middle-East-meets-West thriller, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) leads an elite team (Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman) in a criminal investigation in hostile Saudi Arabia. Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) directs.
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL (PG-13) Ryan Gosling stars as Lars, a lonely introvert who falls in love with a life-size doll to the dismay of his brother and sister-in-law. Craig Gillespie (Mr. Woodcock) directs.
LIONS FOR LAMBS 3 stars (R) Robert Redford directs and stars alongside heavyweights Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep in this earnest, talky drama. Redford is a Vietnam vet and university professor trying to convince his brightest, apathetic student to take some political stand against the war in Iraq while Streep and Cruise play a lefty reporter and Republican senator with very different views on American engagement abroad. An odd bird indeed, the film is politically impassioned, mixes up endless philosophical talk and war-film action, all as a kind of plea to Americans to engage. The film is imperfect, even clunky, but its passion and balance mark it as one of the more interesting recent fiction films about our murky political climate and the despair and apathy it inspires. -- Feaster
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA (R) Based on the beautifully lyric novel by Nobel-Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) directs in this story of love over time. After losing his childhood love, Fermina Daza, Florentina Ariza waits through 50 years and 622 lovers to reclaim her.
MAMA'S BOY (PG-13) A 29-year-old slacker who lives with his mom realizes his setup is doomed when his mother meets Mert, a motivational speaker.
MARGOT AT THE WEDDING 4 stars (R) Director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) proves his continued affinity for family dysfunction in this both uproariously funny and bitterly painful tale of two sisters (Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, both in fine form) who try to mend fences but manage to just erect new ones as Pauline (Leigh) prepares to marry a directionless slacker (a divine Jack Black). Like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? for the Prozac set, Baumbach's dark family comedy is distinguished by marvelous performances and cringe-inducing family "togetherness." -- Feaster
MICHAEL CLAYTON 4 stars (R) George Clooney puts a haunted pall over his trademark charisma as the title role of this conspiracy thriller, a big law firm's "fixer" who discovers the conscience he didn't know he had. First-time director Tony Gilroy effectively evokes the paranoid films of the 1970s by creating a plausible sense of big-city dread, embodied in Tilda Swinton's superb portrayal of a female executive wracked with guilt at her monstrous decisions. The instigating plot about an agribusiness cover-up isn't very memorable, but Michael Clayton makes the most of is moral ambiguity without feeling merely vague. Holman
THE MIST 3 stars (R) After a massive electrical storm, residents of a small Maine resort town find themselves trapped in a supermarket by an unearthly mist and the unseen threat that dwells within. Frank Darabont (The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption) returns to the work of Stephen King, adapting his 1980 novella and staying faithful to a fault to King's enemy-within warnings of human frailty and religious zealotry (personified by Marcia Gay Harden's evangelical nutjob). The mysterious, monstrous elements of the film become a strange relief to the heavy-handed, condescending politics. Look for local actors Brandon O'Dell and Tiffany Morgan in small roles. Holman
MR. BEAN'S HOLIDAY 3 stars (G) A silly throwback to the physical pratfalls of Keaton and Jacques Tati, this fluffy tale of semiretarded Brit Mr. Bean vacationing in the South of France is a nice break from the usual scatological kid movies. A campy cameo by Willem Dafoe as a pretentious American director in Cannes only ups the escapist fun. -- Feaster
MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM (G) In this G-rated family film that appears to be angling to be the Willy Wonka for the new generation, Dustin Hoffman plays the owner of a magical toy store who plans to bequeath the shop to his nervous manager (Natalie Portman). Hey, "Magorium" rhymes with "Emporium!" What a coincidence.