Your best bets on the big screen this weekend.
THE DAMNED UNITED: You don't necessarily have to like soccer to like this film about the friendship between an egomaniacal, small-town British football coach and his assistant who turned a third-rate soccer team into division champs, then got a shot at the big-time that strained their relationship. (Uptown Theatre) City Pages: "A terrific film... A movie about soccer that doesn't spend a lot of time on the field, The Damned United, is an intimate character study, one that is enriched by a stellar ensemble of British pros." Star Tribune: 3 stars Pioneer Press: 1 star RottenTomatoes.com: 91% positive
GOOD HAIR: Chris Rock got the idea for this entertaining documentary when one of his two young daughters plaintively asked, "Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?" Rock takes his cameras to black beauty salons, a hairdressing competiton, and even to India, where women sell their hair to be used in expensive weaves in the U.S., all in an effort to explore the attitudes of black women toward their hair. (area theaters) City Pages: "Rock is certainly a sympathetic and curious observer, though gender politics remain vigorously unexamined in this breezy, superficial doc." Star Tribune: 3 stars Pioneer Press: 3.5 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 94% positive
THE HORSE BOY: Other reviewers were much kinder than City Pages to this film about a 6-year-old autistic boy whose tantrums are oddly calmed by contact with horses. The boy's parents try a radical therapy: taking their son on a riding tour of Outer Mongolia to consult tribal shamans in the hope of untangling his mental blocks. (Lagoon Cinema) City Pages: "The Horse Boy may excuse itself as a 'raising awareness' tract on autism, but the exotic travelogue isn't a practical care option for most cases, and it certainly isn't worthy cinema." Star Tribune: 3.5 stars Pioneer Press: 3 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 87% positive
UNMISTAKEN CHILD: A Tibetan monk embarks on a three-year search for the reincarnation of his beloved master in this fascinating film from Israeli documentarian Nati Baratz. (Oak Street Cinema, Friday-Monday at 7:30 p.m.)
HALLOWEEN FILMS: If you're a horror fan, skip the Saw marathon at Mall of America and catch these two classics--the prototypes of the modern horror flick. Night of the Living Dead (Uptown Theatre, Friday and Saturday at midnight) makes one long for the days when American horror movies were serious visions of horror, not slasher retreads with MTV soundtracks. Although obviously made on a tiny budget, the film has a ragged look that only makes its apocalyptic tone all the more disturbing. A Nightmare On Elm Street (Theatres at Mall of America, Friday and Saturday at midnight), a 1984 low-budget Wes Craven shocker, has a disturbing visual power that is also notorious fun. Four teenagers discover that they share similar nightmares, and that a fiend named Freddy Krueger is stalking each of them in their sleep.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: The longtime children's-book classic is visually a joy to behold. Some reviewers have labeled it an instant classic; others say its spirit is less adventurous and subversive than the book. (area theaters)
AMREEKA: A divorced and demoralized Palestinian bank employee leaves the West Bank with her teenage son to find a new home in Chicago, only to find a new set of challenges. Directed with an impish wit and an open, conciliatory spirit. (Edina Cinema)
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: The low-budget thriller has become a word-of-mouth sensation. Refreshingly blood-free, it demands to be seen in a crowded theater. The fact that its old-school scares are causing seemingly jaded twentysomethings to squirm in their seats suggests there may be hope for the world after all. (area theaters)
STILL WALKING: A dysfunctional Japanese family's reunion is overshadowed by the memory of a son's death 15 years earlier, in this intimate and elegant film from Hirokazu Kore-eda.
For more film ideas, capsule reviews, and showtimes, click here.