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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ (finally), ‘Rendition,’ ’30 Days of Night,’ ‘Jimmy Carter Man from Plains’

Slow week for me. I finally caught up with Lars and the Real Girl [opens limited October 12] today after technical difficulties scuttled a screening a couple of weeks ago. Turns out it’s a wonderful and deeply emotional little movie, all the yuckiness about Real Dolls aside. Ryan Gosling is amazing, and without question one of the best young actors working today. Watch for my review soon.

I’ll check out Rendition [opens wide October 19] tomorrow. This hot-button current-events flick — an Egyptian-American disappears from an international flight, and is suspected of having been whisked off for the now ordinary regimen of torture and no access to lawyers — is from Tsotsi director Gavin Hood, and it has a spectacular cast — Reese Withersoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, Peter Sarsgaard, J.K. Simmons, so I hope this is good.

I’m hoping for good things from, too, 30 Days of Night [opens wide October 19] — that is, more than just the usual thrills from a horror flick. Sam Raimi is producing, so right there that should be a good sign. It’s directed by David Slade, who made the tough and uncompromising Hard Candy, and it stars Josh Hartnett, whom I’ve been softening toward lately. Oh, and it’s got Ben Foster too, who’s so creepy and effective in 3:10 to Yuma. Please, let this not be just another standard, boring vampire flick.

Lastly, my week will wrap up with Jonathan Demme’s documentary Jimmy Carter Man from Plains [opens limited October 26], which follows the ex-president on his controversial book tour to promote Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Ah, remember when politicians had principles?

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