The weekend's new releases break down rather neatly by demographic and/or taste. If you're in the mood for a good, razor-sharp gangster flick and you don't mind reading subtitles, "Mesrine: Killer Instinct" is your movie: Vincent Cassel gives an indisputable star performance with the least amount of gestures and the most outrageous moments in the film are also the most factual. Just be prepared that this is only Part 1. ("Mesrine: Public Enemy #1" opens at the Kendall and the Embassy next week.)
If, on the contrary, you're a parent, a grandparent, or just a moviegoer frustrated over the language/violence/crudeness of most current releases, Rob Reiner's "Flipped" will probably flip your lid. You can take (some of) the kids, too -- my 13-year-old was surprised by how much she genuinely liked this nostalgic but fairly tough-minded teen romance set in 1963, and older audiences can groove on a cast that includes 80s stalwarts like Rebecca De Mornay, Aidan Quinn, Penelope Ann Miller, and Anthony Edwards as the parents. It's no "Stand By Me" -- much more simplistic and stopping just shy of total corn -- but, paradoxically that's why it may play extremely well with those audiences who feel modern Hollywood has nothing to offer them. Smartypantses need not apply.
If you're a foodie or a foreign film fan or just don't mind shaggy-dog comedies with a hipster vibe, "Soul Kitchen" is your movie -- a goofy good time from the usually much more seriously-minded Fatih Akin. It's about the farcical calamities and triumphs of a Hamburg restaurateur played, with exasperated aplomb, by Adam Bousdoukos (in center, above) and, while overcooked and overstuffed, is still nicely filling. End of food metaphor.
If you couldn't get enough of "300" or "Gladiator," here's "Centurion," with more fall-of-the-Roman-Empire carnage, this time with the not-so-subtle message that military adventurism in foreign lands can get you badly burned. Watch out for those Picts!
The big dogs of the weekend, though, are the stylish but almost completely hollow heist thriller "Takers," the "Paranormal Exorcist" fusion of "The Last Exorcism" (which, in its defense, is getting some real raves; I haven't seen it yet but expect it to be the weekend's box office winner), and a little thing called "Avatar," back in town with even more footage. Uncle Jim says go see it.
Charlie Chaplin and a restored print of "Odd Man Out" at the Museum of Fine Arts. Lots more Eric Rohmer at the Harvard Film Archive, including a rare screening of his very first feature, 1959's "The Sign of Leo," tonight (Friday 8/27) at 9 p.m, and, on Monday, what's probably the late master's most commercially successful film here, "Pauline at the Beach." (Arielle Dombasle in a bikini will do that for a film, although moviegoers expecting a little ooh-la-la have always been surprised by the wry grace and wisdom of this movie.)
Oh, and the Brattle has an interesting programming cross-promotion going with the American Repertory Theatre down the street. The A.R.T. is about to kick off its new production of "Cabaret," and the Brattle is responding with a weekend-long line-up of "Cabaret"-related cinema, from 1931's "The Threepenny Opera" to "Chris and Don: A Love Story" to -- okay, this is a reach -- "Chicago". Everything but the actual 1972 Oscar-winning "Cabaret," basically. Perverse, but I guess that's appropriate.
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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