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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

opening wide (or almost) today: ‘30 Days of Night,’ ‘The Comebacks,’ ‘Rendition,’ ‘Gone Baby Gone,’ ‘Things We Lost in the Fire,’ ‘Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour,’ more

30 Days of Night
When the sun goes down in the Arctic for a month-long night, the vampires come out to play. I’ve heard of creatures being coldblooded, but this is ridiculous. (my review is here)

The Comebacks
This spoof on feel-good sports movies posits a ragtag football team on track to win the big championship, led by their down-on-his-luck coach. I thought they said this was a spoof? (not screened for critics)

Rendition
It’s the feel-good movie of the Global War on Terror! If only all those prisoners at Guantanamo Bay had had the foresight to marry Reese Witherspoon, they’d be out of pokey in a snap. (my review is here)

Gone Baby Gone
Ben Affleck’s directorial debut takes us to the mean streets of working-class Boston. He’s still trying to earn back all that street cred he lost doing Gigli. And Surviving Christmas. And Daredevil. (my review is coming shortly)

Things We Lost in the Fire
Halle Berry is a widow. Benicio Del Toro is a jerk. Can these two beautiful people share a house without driving each other crazy… and then into bed? I’m guessing not. (I had to choose between this one and ‘30 Days of Night.’ I think I chose poorly.)

Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour
Haunted houses, strange psychics, evil spirits, and an adorable 17-year-old girl detective who’s gosh-darn determined to solve the mystery. Free Scooby snacks at every showing! (not screened for critics)

The Ten Commandments
Moses is on a mission from God. Apparently it’s to hand down some rules and guidelines to the Sims. You’d think the Almighty could afford animation that looks like it cost more than $1.98. (not screened for critics)

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disney Digital 3D
It took the twisted mind of Tim Burton to combine the horrors of Halloween with the sugar-coated delights of Christmas. It’s what American is best at these days: turning sweetness into terror. (not seen by me, at least not in 3D, though I’d like to; my review of the flat version is here)

Into the Wild
A modern-day Thoreau wannabe goes off into the woods with no food, no compass, no GPS, no hiking boots: just a notebook to record his feelings as he starves to death and Sean Penn with a camera to fetishize it. (my review is here)



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