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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Penelope,’ ‘Semi-Pro, ‘Heartbeat Detector,’ more

Slowish week. I bailed on three of the movies I was supposed to see last week — I had them all scheduled for Thursday, and then I was too busy and too lazy to leave the house. I caught up with Married Life and CJ7 yesterday, and Paranoid Park I’ll see next week.

I keep telling myself I shouldn’t schedule three screenings in a single day — it’s too much. But sometimes it’s irresistible, particuarly if they’re all in a row with no time to kill in between, because I have a longish trip down into Manhattan and it always seems like a terrible waste of time to spend three hours traveling roundtrip for a single 90-minute movie (not that I don’t do that all the time). But that’s what ending up happening yesterday, when in addition to two movies I skipped last week, I also saw Penelope, the Christina Ricci-with-a-pig-face-falls-in-love-with-James-McAvoy fairy tale. I can’t say as I blame her on the McAvoy thing — he’s adorable, even faking an American accent. Though I’d be all, “Oh honey, do your Scottish voice,” like, all the time.

Semi-Pro [opens wide February 29] isn’t screening until less than 48 hours before it opens, which is only slightly less bad than not screening at all, but because of my experience with Talladega Nights turning out to be so much smarter than it should have been, I’m now doomed to see all dumb-looking Will Ferrell movies lest the situation repeat itself. Still, I expect to be able to use a “white men can’t jump” joke when I write my review.

I expect to enjoy Heartbeat Detector [opens limited March 14] partly because it stars Mathieu Amalric, whom I’m a little bit in love with since his amazing performance in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. And also because it’s a thriller about how totally, soul-suckingly evil modern multinational corporations are. Cuz that message can’t get yelled often enough.

And then movies get pushed aside as I prepare for my Leap Day party on Saturday night. But I might save writing about that for my Geek Philosophy blog…

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