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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,’ ‘Charlie Bartlett,’ plus the week that was

I’m takin’ it easy at the movies this week: I’ve got only two screenings scheduled at the moment, and a couple of screener DVDs sitting around that I should check out. But that’s fine: I’ve got tons of reviews and other coverage to catch up on, like Rescue Dawn and Joshua, to name but two…

Tonight I’ll see I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and I’m Dreading it. I will delighted to be wrong about this, but I simply cannot see how the combination of Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and gay jokes — all of it aimed at a mainstream audience — can possibly add up to a movie that’s anything other than juvenile at best, downright offensive at worst. Cuz Teh Gay, it’s hilarious, no? [opens wide July 20]

Tomorrow night I’ve got a screening of Charlie Bartlett, which I missed at the Tribeca Film Festival this year… though, honestly, I passed it over in favor of other films because I knew it would be opening theatrically this summer, and that I’d have more opportunities to see it. Here’s how I described the film in my Tribeca preview:

Teenage angst that I hope will be worth watching because the cast includes the soulful Anton Yelchin as the angst-ridden teen and Robert Downey Jr. and Hope Davis among the grownups around him.

I can’t forget being blown away by this Yelchin kid when he was on an episode of ER years ago, when he was maybe 10 or 11, as a little boy who loses both his parents in a car accident. And he has grown since then into one of the more intriguing teenage actors working today. So him plus Robert Downey and Hope Davis makes it pretty much a must-see for me. [opens wide August 3]

The two screeners I’ve got sitting here are the Parker Posey indie Broken English [now playing in limited release], which I’ve had forever and simply must get to, and Cashback [opens limited July 20], a British romantic dramedy starring Scottish actor Sean Biggerstaff, who played quidditch captain Oliver Wood in a couple of the early Harry Potter movies and is clearly being positioned as the Ewan McGregor in waiting. So I can’t not watch this one.

And that’s it for this week. I’m waiting to hear about screenings of The Simpsons Movie and I Know Who Killed Me, both of which open on July 27, but I’m not hopeful that there will be screenings this week. That’s not such a good sign.

Oh, hey: since I never did tell you last week what I was about to see, here’s a quickie rundown of what I did see last week:

• I finally made it to a screening of Sunshine, and it is every bit as interesting as I’d hoped it would be. Engrossing, thoughtful, philosophical science fiction: it’s just what I wanted. [opens limited July 20, goes wide July 27]

Talk to Me is yet another tour de force for Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor, neither of whom, clearly, are actually capable of being anything less than thoroughly riveting onscreen. They’re so talented, it burns. [now playing in limited release, expands July 27]

Hairspray is just delightful, and John Travolta in drag is a treat. You’ll be bopping in the aisles. [opens wide July 20]

• The Best Film winner at last year’s British Independent Film Awards was This Is England, and it stunned me with its power and relevance to today, for all that it’s set in early 80s Britain. Amazing movie. [opens limited July 27]

Great World of Sound is an American indie about finding the edges of our own willingness to be bad. Resolutely not “studio,” it features one of the most stunning transformations of a character I’ve ever seen: the film refuses to be conventional or to let us off the hook as an audience. Powerful stuff. [opens limited September 28]

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