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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies” ‘My Kid Could Paint That,’ ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ (not), ‘The Heartbreak Kid,’ ‘Sleuth,’ ‘Lake of Fire’

I’m having the worst luck with movies lately. I missed the screening of American Gangster that I was supposed to attend last week — damn MTA conspired via nonexistent buses and sloooooow subway trains to make me late for the screening, and I absolutely refuse to go into a movie after it has already started. (The fact that I also dropped twenty damn bucks on taxis en route and still didn’t make it was infuriating, too.) There are a lot more screenings of that one coming up, so it’s not like I’m gonna miss the film, but still: I then had to kill a few hours sans laptop (so I couldn’t get any work done) till my next screening, so I went and sat and had a drink and wrote out — longhand, which I hate to do — the beginnings of some new Doctor Who fan fiction that I may post soon, cuz I’m such a dork.

Then, yesterday, I had been planning to see My Kid Could Paint That [opens limited October 5], a documentary about a four-year-old kid who’s kindergartenesque dabblings got passed off as modern art and sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Or did her father, himself a frustrated fine artist, actually paint these celebrated works? But I had to skip that screening because I had too much other damn work demanding my attention. There’s another screening on Friday, so I’ll still be able to catch it, so not a big deal.

Today, I was supposed to see Lars and the Real Girl [opens limited October 12], starring Ryan Gosling as a shy young man not ready for the romantic rigors of actual women, so he buys one of those gross Real Dolls and develops a “relationship” with “her.” I schlepped all the way the hell downtown only to learn that the screening had been cancelled for technical reasons having to do with the print. *sigh* I’m waiting to hear from the publicists — who were very sweet and apologetic — about future screenings.

So that leaves me with a few more movies to check out this week, assuming that everyone goes right. I’ll subject myself to the Farrelly Brothers latest tripe in The Heartbreak Kid [opens wide October 5], in which Ben Stiller continues his slow creative suicide. God, remember when Stiller was smart? I can just about barely recall it.

Sleuth [opens limited October 12] is a remake of the 1972 flick that starred Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. Caine graduates to the Olivier role here, and Jude Law steps into the Caine part, and Kenneth Branagh directs. Should be juicy stuff… or at least I’m hoping so. (The original film will air this Sunday on Turner Classic Movies; I think I may have seen it years and years ago, but I can’t really remember. I’ll definitely be checking it out.)

Finally, I’ve got Lake of Fire [opens limited October 5], a documentary from filmmaker Tony Kaye (American History X) about the contentious topic of abortion in America. The movie’s about fourteen hours long — I hope I can make it through…

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