Opened yesterday: Ruby Sparks
Where: New York and Los Angeles; expands next week.
What: Paul Dano stars as a writer whose fictional romantic heroine comes to life... and then the real fun begins.
Why Go: Zoe Kazan wrote the screenplay and plays Ruby, the dream girl who steps off the pages of Dano’s imagination and into his heart. The premise may sound familiar, but the execution is smart, funny and deeper than you might think. With Chris Messina as Dano’s befuddled brother; Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Ferris (Little Miss Sunshine) directed. (Read Dave White's review.)
Opening Friday: Killer Joe
Where: New York; expands next week.
What: “A desperate Texas drug dealer plots to settle a sizable debt by killing his mother and collecting the insurance money, but gets into an even bigger mess after hiring a twisted police detective who moonlights as a killer-for-hire.”
Why Go: A Southern-fried noir from director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist) and writer Tracy Letts, who previously colloborated on the truly unnerving Bug, the film heads into depraved territory that has given some viewers pause, but nearly everyone agrees that Matthew McConaughey gives an electrifying performance. With Emile Hirsch, June Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon.
Opening Friday: Klown
Where: New York, Los Angeles, Austin.
What: Two men head off on a weekend of canoeing and general debauchery, but the unexpected addition of a 12-year-old threatens to derail the trip.
Why Go: Based on a Danish TV series, the big-screen adventure is incredibly raunchy, filled with smutty jokes and outrageous actions, deliriously smashing boundaries of taste without a second thought. For those who are open to such dirty-minded adult humor, the laughter is nearly nonstop, set up with straight faces by the actors who are behaving in ways we cannot, frankly, detail on this website. Did we mention that it’s really, really funny?
DVD Pick of the Week
Now available: Footnote
What: A father and son are pitted against one another in a battle for academic recognition.
Why See It: Nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film, the Israeli film’s premise sounds dry, but don’t let that deter you! Joseph Cedar, who wrote and directed, stages scenes of dramatic tension in unusual settings -- none more so than the tense scenes in which a jury of Talmudic scholars are jammed into a storage closet that explodes in anger and harshly worded recriminations. Rarely has the academic world been portrayed in such dramatic fashion.
Also recommended: The Deep Blue Sea. See Alonso Duralde’s roundup for more on why it’s worth seeking out.
Opens next week: Celeste and Jesse Forever
What: A longtime couple concludes that they should divorce, but one of them has a much more difficult time letting go.
Why We Want to See It: That's easy to answer: Rashida Jones! This writer has already seen the movie, and it’s a treat to see the actress, so familiar in a supporting role on TV’s Parks and Recreation, get the opportunity to give a leading performance that really shines, displaying the full range of her talents with comedy and drama. (It probably helped that she cowrote the screenplay.) Andy Samberg fans will be pleased to see the Saturday Night Live comic actor stretch his legs in a meatier role. With Chris Messina (Ruby Sparks), Ari Graynor and Emma Roberts. (Read our Sundance review.)