Watch em and weep.
Brit writer-director Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Naked) tells his stories with more words than actions. This is his spring-through-winter study of a happy, longtime-married couple, Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), whose friends and acquaintances are their polar opposites: lonely, sad, shattered people convinced that life is unfair. But Leigh also adds rays of sunshine via visits from Tom and Gerri’s happy son and cheery new girlfriend. The contrasts in different characters’ outlooks and moods are fascinating. The film is at once both harsh and warm. (ES) Magic Lantern only. Rated PG-13 | REVIEW
IN A BETTER WORLD
Winner of both the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film of 2010, In a Better World tells the tale of 12-year-old Elias, who is defended from a bully by a new kid named Christian. The two form a unique bond that leads to a troublesome revenge plot against a man they feel has wronged Elias' father. Meanwhile, Elias’ parents suffer through a difficult separation and the effects it has on their two young sons. From acclaimed Danish director Susanne Bier. (Jordan Satterfield) Rated R
Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow, off on a search for the Fountain of Youth. But Jack is out of equilibrium: He’s got too many pirates — in the shapes of Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and the returning Geoffrey Rush. He’s missing upstanding Orlando Bloom and proper lady Keira Knightley to tamp him down and call him on his bullshit. This may be junk-food cinema, and not as much fun as it was, but I scarfed it down anyway. (MJ) | SHOWTIMES