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Weekend Movie Guide: Another dismal Stiller comedy?

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There was a time when I thought Ben Stiller was one of the more inventive comic minds in the business (consider these hilarious shorts as proof--1,2,3,4,5,6). He can still be funny (witness his brilliant turn on Curb Your Enthusiasm), but it seems like he mostly wants to play it safe now. Let's hope that The Heartbreak Kid is a return to old form, both for Stiller and the inconsistent Farrelly Brothers (who direct). Swedish hottie Malin Akerman and Midwestern beauty Michelle Monaghan co-star in this update of Elaine May's classic comedy.

Ian McShane gave one of the sharpest, richest performances in recent memory as Al Swearengen in HBO's revisionist masterpiece, Deadwood. His reward for this towering achievement: a role in a silly movie like The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. It's obviously aimed at kids so I won't be too hard on it, but McShane really deserves better than this dreck. The Seeker is your standard "boy learns he is the last of a group of immortal warriors dedicated to fighting the forces of darkness" story. Happened to me just last week. Twice.

Ace screenwriter Tony Gilroy makes what appears to be an auspicious directing debut with Michael Clayton, a corporate thriller starring George Clooney as the titular hero(?). The film and Clooney have been getting superb reviews so expect this one to hang around for several weeks while the notoriously slow adult audience finds it. By the way, does anyone else think Sydney Pollack is a better actor than director? Also, doesn't this movie have all the feel of a Soderberghpicture? I wish he'd get back to this sort of stuff and scrap that Ocean's crap.

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Marla Olmstead, the subject of Amir Bar-Lev's documentary My Kid Could Paint That, has been mired in controversy since a 2005 60 Minutes II report called into question whether she's actually a genius painter or merely a well-coached fraud. Her abstract paintings have been compared to Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock and have sold for many thousands of dollars. My Kid Could Paint That debuted at Sundance this year and has been the recipient of uniformly glowing praise. And, oh yeah, Marla is only 7 years old.

After directing two glossy, crappy movies (Annapolis, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Justin Lin decided to return to the low-budget roots that produced his breakout film, Better Luck Tomorrow. The result is Finishing the Game, a mockumentary that explores the aftermath of Bruce Lee's early death while filming Game of Death. Christopher Guest totally owns this genre, but Lin's historical fiction take on the search for an actor to replace the legendary Lee may be worth a look. Critics, though, haven't been particularly enthusiastic about the effort.

Jake Paltrow follows in the footsteps of his fatherwith his feature directing debut, The Good Night. Big sis Gwynethstars alongside Penelope Cruz, Martin Freeman, Danny DeVito and LAist favorite Simon Pegg. Freeman plays a depressed jingle writer who finds the woman of his dreams...in his dreams. High-concept enough for ya? Critics haven't been particularly cruel or kind. Most feel that Jake needs some seasoning.

After the post-production debacle that was American History X, it seemed a good bet that American audiences wouldn't be hearing from Tony Kaye any time soon. Eight years later, he returns with Lake of Fire, a documentary that is already being hailed as the definitive film about the issue of abortion in our society. Reviews have been ecstatic, though most critics have been careful to note the occasionally brutal nature of the film.

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Tickets & Showtimes

The Heartbreak Kid
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
Michael Clayton
My Kid Could Paint That
Finishing the Game
The Good Night
Lake of Fire

Previews

The Heartbreak Kid

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising

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Michael Clayton

My Kid Could Paint That

Finishing the Game

The Good Night

Lake of Fire

Support for LAist comes from

Photos courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures and Sony Pictures Classic