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Arts and Entertainment

Weekend Movie Guide: The bad, the ugly and the good

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After the disasterthat was Evan Almighty, Steve Carell seems to have recovered (albeit slightly) with Dan in Real Life. Carell stars as a widower who inadvertently falls in love with his brother's girlfriend--hey, who fucking hasn't?! Celebrated French hellcat, er, actress Juliette Binoche stars as said girlfriend (which is good). Dane Cook is the brother, though, which is bad. Which is awful. Which sucks so hard there's no way I'm seeing this movie.

I've always been torn about the Saw series. On one hand, I'm happy that a great character actor like Tobin Bell finally has a franchise to call his own. On the other hand, I think the movies sort of suck. I mean, if I want to watch torture porn I have plenty of home video of my boyhood piano recitals. Anyway, it's Halloween weekend so another Saw episode is on the way. If I go, it's mostly because of Betsy Russell.

Control is receiving some of the best reviews of the year with many singling out the performance of relative newcomer Sam Riley. Shot in lustrous black and white, Anton Corbijn's film explores the tragically short life of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. While the story is as old as Chatterton, it finds new freshness thanks to the marvelous technique of Corbijn and his crew. If you see only one movie this weekend, this should be it.

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Rails & Ties, Alison Eastwood's directorial debut, is being broadly pannedby critics as little more than a prettified weeper. Kevin Bacon and the ubiquitous Marcia Gay Harden star as a husband and wife stuck in a marriage that's been consumed by regret and anger. A tragedy and--yes, it's true--an orphan finally help them to bridge the chasm that has for so long separated them. And, no, the title of the movie is not purely metaphorical.

More hagiography than biography, Jonathan Demme's Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains covers the ex-president during a 3-month book tour from late 2006 to early 2007. Demme is a significant filmmaker so attention must be paid to his latest effort. Still, will Demme ever approach the mastery and daring of his early films? He doesn't even seem to want to try anymore. It's really a damn shame.

Bella is splitting critics along very sharp lines, with most coming down negatively. A love story set in New York City, Bella mixes the sort of incongruous elements that are becoming all too common in today's independent films. An international soccer star's careeer ends abruptly, his life goes to shit until he's ultimately redeemed by the cute waitress he works with at his brother's restaurant...zzzzzz.

Tickets & Showtimes

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Dan in Real Life
Saw IV
Control
Rails & Ties
Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains
Bella

Previews

Dan in Real Life

Saw IV

Control

Rails & Ties

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Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains

Bella

Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company and Sony Pictures Classics