Weekend movie guide: See it or flee it?
"What do you wanna see?" "I dunno. What do you wanna see?" Don't let this happen to you! Here's our guide to the best and worst films playing this weekend.
SEE: Green Zone A bang-bang pulse-pounder predicated on the Bush administration's deliberate fabrication of WMDs in Iraq. Matt Damon is a two-fisted, patriotic mega-rogue Boy Scout cum investigative soldier looking for the weapons, but he gradually senses the fix is on at the highest levels. (area theaters) City Pages: "A master of smash-mash montage and choreographed chaos, Paul Greengrass is the best action director working today. The movie is nonstop havoc." Star Tribune: 2.5 stars Pioneer Press: 3 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 49% positive
SEE: The Art of the Steal A documentary on the surprisingly dramatic fight over moving one of the world's foremost collections of impressionist and modern art from its small, intimate home in the bucolic suburb of Merion, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia. (Edina Cinema) City Pages: "Unapologetically on the side of those who oppose the relocation, it presents its aesthetes versus Phila-stines argument cogently and engagingly ... The film's thorough research makes it one of the most successful advocacy docs in recent years." Star Tribune: 3 stars Pioneer Press: 3 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 85% positive
SEE: A Prophet A French gangster movie that has become a darling of film fests and critics' polls. A newly jailed Arab prisoner is forced to come to terms with the prison pecking order as he comes under the dominance of a ruthless Corsican mob boss. (Lagoon Cinema) City Pages: "A Prophet affects an almost spiritual transcendence, but it's deficient in form and content--not naturalistic so much as neutered, less revisionist than rote." Star Tribune: 3.5 stars Pioneer Press: 3.5 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 96% positive
SEE: A Town Called Panic A hyperactive Belgian puppet animation that shows little regard for convention or even a linear story line. Three dimestore toys--Cowboy, Indian, and Horse--share a dollhouse and lead a fantastically disastrous life. (Lagoon Cinema) City Pages: "It has more strident colors and less synopsizable action than a year's worth of comic book adventures. It's closer to child's play--noisy, over-excited, and very pragmatic." Star Tribune: 4 stars Pioneer Press: 1 star RottenTomatoes.com: 86% positive SEE: The Yellow Handkerchief William Hurt plays a freshly paroled Louisiana ex-con with a history of violence who hitches a lift and briefly becomes a father figure to a makeshift family of self-perceived misfits (including Twilight's Kristen Stewart). (area theaters) City Pages: "It's the mismatched-ensemble-together-in-loneliness formula that Sundance dreams are made of. ... All three leads are solidly convincing." Star Tribune: 3 stars Pioneer Press: 2.5 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 73% positive
MAYBE: She's Out of My League T.J. Miller plays Stainer, a mop-topped giant and best bud to Kirk (Jay Baruchel), an airport security lackey and a "hard five" on the looks scale who, for reasons that are inexplicable to his friends and himself, catches the eye of a party planner who's a "hard 10" and, natch, out of Kirk's league. (area theaters) City Pages: "Stainer is the real goofy, damaged soul of this slight comedy, and Miller is the find. He's out of this movie's league." Star Tribune: 2 stars Pioneer Press: 1 star RottenTomatoes.com: 50% positive
FLEE: Our Family Wedding The engagement of a law-school dropout (America Ferrera) and her bland do-gooder beau (Lance Gross) fuels an alpha-male rivalry between their out-of-touch dads--married, working-class clown Miguel (Carlos Mencia) and womanizing radio personality Brad (Forest Whitaker). (area theaters) City Pages: "An unconvincingly broad culture-clash comedy whose Latino and African-American ensemble might have made for a progressive film if it hadn't pandered to the lowest common denominator with brainless screwball laughs." Star Tribune: 1.5 stars Pioneer Press: 2.5 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 18% positive
FLEE: Remember Me Putatively a new romance starring Robert Pattinson, as a coasting, histrionically depressed NYU student who takes up with a fellow NYUer (Emilie de Ravin) whose mother was murdered years ago and whose father, an overprotective cop, is still grieving. (area theaters) City Pages: "This plain bad movie heckles you with all the other things you should or could be doing while you're marking time waiting on the credits, wondering if the movie will ever end." Star Tribune: 2.5 stars Pioneer Press: 2 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 30% positive
Next pages: Special screenings, art houses, and ongoing films
SEE: Women With Vision The Walker presents its 17th-annual festival honoring women filmmakers around the world. (Visit www.walkerart.org for more information on films and show times during the festival.) (Walker Art Center, Friday through Saturday, March 27)
SEE: Brief Encounter A housewife (Celia Johnson) and a doctor (Trevor Howard) meet fortuitously at a railway station café and are instantly attracted to each other. They begin a passionate but chaste series of encounters, knowing that their love can never be fully realized. Directed by David Lean from a play by Noel Coward. (Rivierview Theater, Monday at 7:15 p.m.) Next page: Ongoing films
SEE: The Ghost Writer Ewan McGregor diffidently plays a writer working on the memoirs of an exiled politician (Pierce Brosnan), a former British prime minister trying to dodge extradition for war-on-terrorism overreaching. (Uptown Theatre)
SEE: Cop Out Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis play two mismatched cops in a clever riff on and loving homage to every cop movie you've seen before. (area theaters)
SEE: The Crazies A peaceful little American town suddenly becomes a nightmarish killing ground when its law-abiding citizens are struck by a virus that makes people go berserk. Nifty action sequences nearly always feature a moment of surprise, as well as gruesome wit. (area theaters)
SEE: Shutter Island Martin Scorsese's florid art shocker, about a U.S. marshal (Leo DiCaprio) and sidekick (Mark Ruffalo), who investigate a disappearance on an island prison for the criminally insane. (area theaters)
MAYBE: Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton rethinks the Disney classic in a visually stunning but otherwise uninspiring story about an older Alice (Mia Wasikowska) who returns to Wonderland to escape her engagement to a bilious aristocratic twit. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway are wonderful, even if the movie is thin. (area theaters)
MAYBE: Brooklyn's Finest Three cop movies in one, all of which you've seen before: the sullen burnout (Richard Gere) a week from retirement who finds accidental redemption; the undercover brother (Don Cheadle) asked to do One Last Big, Bad Thing before he's kicked upstairs; and the good-ish cop gone bad (Ethan Hawke). (area theaters)
For more film ideas, capsule reviews, and showtimes, click here.
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