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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ‘Fido,’ ‘A Mighty Heart,’ ‘Interview,’ ‘Gracie,’ ‘Day Watch,’ ‘Mr. Brooks’


Tonight I see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Just a few hours to go! Most of it waiting on line at the theater to make sure I get in because Disney doesn’t think onliners are real film critics! But we still get threatened with the plank if we post reviews before Friday! Yippee! [opens May 25]

I just came from a screening of a lovely demented little film called Fido: ooo, watch for this one. It’s a zombie-filled satire on 1950s-style conformity and 2000s-style paranoia about homeland security. Carrie-Anne Moss is the cookie-baking mom, Billy Connolly is her zombie servant, and Henry Czerny is the usual kind of corporate zombie. Undead fun for the whole family! [opens June 15]
The movie I’m most looking forward to this week after the little pirate one is A Mighty Heart — this is the one about the journalist Daniel Pearl, who was killed in Pakistan by Islamic militants in 2002. And yes, it’s the one starring Angelina Jolie as his widow that you’ve heard so much about. It’s not so much the subject matter itself that draws me but that it’s this subject matter from director Michael Winterbottom, who is one of my favorite filmmakers anyway, and this seems like something of a thematic sequel to his brilliant Road to Guantanamo. [opens June 22, limited]

More Islamo-nuttery taking itself out on the media: Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered in 2004 by a Dutch-born Muslim radical in response to Van Gogh’s film about the oppression of women in Islamic cultures. Now, Steve Buscemi is adapting another of Van Gogh’s films — 2003’s Interview — in his new project, also called Interview. Buscemi directs, cowrites, and stars with Sienna Miller in a story about, I’m told, the media in our celebrity-obsessed culture. Shooting fish in a barrel if you ask me. [opens July 13, limited]

Gracie is a girls-playing-soccer flick from An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim. I’m calling it, in my head, Bend It Like Bend It Like Beckham, and assuming it’s as cool and go-girl as that flick, this could be the breakout role for 16-year-old star Carly Schroeder, who’s been the-best-friend or the-daughter-in-jeopardy in a bunch of flicks. She’s real cute, and comes across onscreen as a real kid, not a grown-up-too-fast 35-year-old in a kid’s body. She’s also in the very nice Eye of the Dolphin, coming later this summer, so this one could be the one of a one-two punch for her. [opens June 1]


I wasn’t crazy about Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) but of course I can’t miss Day Watch, cuz it might be better, you know. [opens June 1, limited]

Finally, the movie I expect to be most disappointed in this week is Mr. Brooks, from Bruce A. Evans, whose last film — and only other film, actually — is 1992’s wannabe cult favorite Kuffs, starring Christian Slater. This one is about Kevin Costner as a nice guy/serial killer, which is about as believable as Kevin Coster as a medieval English nobleman/bandit. Thing is, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which is very awful, is one of my most fun guilty pleasures. I will be quite let down if Mr. Brooks is not so outrageously terribly that it becomes a new guilty pleasure for me. [opens June 1]

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