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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,’ ‘P.S. I Love You,’ ‘Charlie Wilson’s War,’ ‘Cassandra’s Dream,’ ‘Taxi to the Dark Side,’ ‘Teeth’

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp do Stephen Sondheim in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street [opens December 21]. This one has been screening in NYC for at least a couple of weeks, and almost to a one, every critic who’s seen the movie whom I’ve heard speak about this one has called it the best movie of 2007. I couldn’t be more excited for this one.

I’m not so psyched for P.S. I Love You [opens December 21]. Director Richard LaGravenese’s last film, Freedom Writers, was sentimental slop — if about as well produced as sentimental slop gets — but I’m more concerned that this one looks like a bad mashup of Ghost and Truly, Madly, Deeply. Still, it’s got Gerard Butler, and looking at him for two hours shouldn’t be too much of a chore.

In Charlie Wilson’s War [opens December 21], Tom Hanks plays the real-life Texas congressman who, in the 1980s, basically manipulated the situation on the ground in the Middle East to help create the quagmire of a mess it is today (that is: arming the rebels in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, which gave Osama Bin Laden the stature he has today, etc.). It’s written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Mike Nichols, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Woody Allen has a new movie: Cassandra’s Dream [opens limited December 28; goes wide January 4]. Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell star as brothers whose venture into criminal activity sparks off a new rivalry between them. Sounds a bit like Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Taxi to the Dark Side [opens limited January 11] was on my list of flicks to catch at this past spring’s Tribeca Film Festival, but I couldn’t manage to work it in. It’s a documentary about the death of an Afghan taxi driver at the hands of American soldiers, and follows on from there to explore the U.S. use of torture in the “war on terror.” This is from Alex Gibney, one of the guys behind Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, so I’m expecting some power from it.

I suspect everyone’s going to be talking about Teeth [opens limited January 18] soon: it’s a satire on our bizarre “chastity” culture, our juvenile ideas about sexuality, and the strange position of women in our society. Boys and girls, can you say, “vagina dentata”? I knew you could…

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