Monday, January 18, 2010

Film Clips: This week's movie openings

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 10:01 PM

click to enlarge INFINITE TEST: Researcher Sara Quinn (Julianne Nicholson, left) and Subject #20, Ryan (John Krasinski) in 'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men'
  • INFINITE TEST: Researcher Sara Quinn (Julianne Nicholson, left) and Subject #20, Ryan (John Krasinski) in 'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men'

OPENING FRIDAY

BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN 2 stars (R) The Office's" John Krasinski wrote, directed and co-stars in his adaptation of the book by the late David Foster Wallace, but wastes his cast's manpower on themes that could fit on the average tweet, with letters to spare. — Curt Holman

EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES (PG) Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford team up as, respectively, a corporate executive from a working-class background and a brilliant, unappreciated scientist who form a bio-tech company. The partners not only buck the medical establishment, they race the clock to develop a cure for Fraser’s ailing kids. It sounds kind of like Erin Brockovich drills for Lorenzo’s Oil.

LEGION (R) Audiences with a hankering for apocalyptic action after The Book of Eli should consider this supernatural thriller in which a group of customers at a middle-of-nowhere diner face a horde of angels bent on destroying the world, with the gun-toting Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) taking sides with the hapless humans.

THE PROVIDENCE EFFECT 2 stars (NR) Director Rollin Binzer presents the remarkable achievement of Providence St. Mel, a K-12 school on Chicago's West Side. For decades, the school has taken impoverished students and turned them into college material, with 100 percent of the graduating seniors accepted to college. — Holman

THAT EVENING SUN 3 stars (PG-13) In his early 80s, Hal Holbrook gives one of his best performances as a farmer who flees a rest home only to find his old homestead occupied by a brooding bully (Ray McKinnon). Despite a deliberate pace, That Evening Sun offers a rich, complex portrait of old age and the contemporary rural South. The Southeastern Film Critics Association bestowed on That Evening Sun the 2009 Gene Wyatt Award for Film With a Southern Theme. — Holman

TOOTH FAIRY (PG) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a minor league hockey player sentenced to work as an actual tooth fairy — complete with wings and tights — to make amends for his boorish ways. And they say Hollywood has no new ideas!

DULY NOTED

DANISH FILM FESTIVAL Judging from the movies at the High Museum's fifth annual Danish Film Festival, modern Danes especially enjoy violating the vow against genre films. While the Danish directors enjoy their guilty pleasures, they still appreciate the virtues of restraint. Jan. 22-30. Free-$7. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. Rich Theatre, High Museum, Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. 404-733-5000. www.high.org. — Holman

PLAZA THEATRE 70th ANNIVERSARY GALA The Plaza’s 1939 film festival will include three of the most iconic motion pictures of the Hollywood studio era, Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and a rare 35 mm print of Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. $20. 7 p.m. Fri., Jan. 15. Film Festival: $6.50-$10. Times vary. Jan. 16-30. The Wizard of Oz event: $6.50-$10. 1:30 p.m. Sat., Jan. 23. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com. — Holman

RECENTLY REVIEWED

THE BOOK OF ELI (R) 2 stars In a post-literate American wasteland, a savage town’s vicious leader named Carnegie (Gary Oldman, channeling the likes of Bruce Dern and Dean Stockwell) pursues drifter Eli (reliably stalwart Denzel Washington) for his mysterious book. It’s stylishly directed by the Hughes brothers, so think Menace II Post-Apocalyptic Society. — Holman

CRAZY HEART (R) 3 stars Crazy Heart covers well-worked ground as a redemption drama about a down-and-out artist who finds a new start thanks to the love of a good woman. Bridges taps his innate, laid-back charisma as Bad Blake so effectively it’s easy to overlook the film’s recycled material, at least until the last act. — Holman

THE LOVELY BONES (PG-13) 2 stars On Dec. 6, 1973, ordinary 14-year-old Susie Salmon (played by Atonement’s Saoirse Ronan) is raped and murdered — both mercifully off-camera — by a twitchy neighbor (Stanley Tucci). Susie’s spirit remains in a protean, limbo-like dimension where she can observe her grieving family and the unsuspected murderer, rather than move on to her eternal reward. Susie’s parents (Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz) struggle with grief over their daughter’s “disappearance” and the family begins to fall apart over the months that follow. — Holman

(Photo IFC Films)

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