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Weekend Movie Guide: The West is the Best

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The fall tradition of releasing prestige films continues tomorrow as Resident Evil: Extinction opens wide. Milla Jovovich stars as the beneficent Alice, a latter-day Tess of the d'Urbervilles who is charged with the stygian task of killing armies of the undead--and the joke is now over. Anyone dumb enough to see the latest chapter of this awful series probably didn't notice anyway. At least there's nudity. But not from Ali Larter. Dang!

Into the Wild actually is a prestige film and I'd be shocked if it didn't get significant attention at Oscar-time. Sean Penn has crafted a cinematic Mont Blanc so rich in detail and epic in scope that it's hard to walk out of the theater without feeling a little wanderlust. Emile Hirsch's performance is daring and brutal and, amazingly, almost overshadowed by the wonderful supporting turns of Hal Holbrook, Catherine Keener and Brian Dierker.

The lyrical western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford arrives in theaters after a lengthy and troubled post-production. Reviews, however, have been overwhelmingly positive. Personally, I value the opinion of a critic over that of some suit at Warner Brothers. Casey Affleck is getting serious notice for his role as Ford and may finally redeem the Affleck name. The iconic Pitt is cast perfectly as the iconic James.