Opening Films

by Inlander Staff & r & & r & THE BLACK DAHLIA & r &

The excellent, based-on-fact James Ellroy novel about the grisly murder of a beautiful wannabe actress (Mia Kirshner) in late-1940s L.A. starts off as a terrific film adaptation, then gets four flat tires as it suddenly grows to overly melodramatic proportions, needlessly adding in plot elements that didn't exist in the book. Good acting from Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as two cop partners, and from Hillary Swank as a mysterious rich gal. But Scarlett Johansson, as a love interest, once again overacts. (ES) Rated R

& r & EVERYONE'S HERO & r &

Everyone's hero is a small but scrappy baseball-loving New York youth (named Yankee) who embarks on a journey to retrieve a stolen bat and thus clear his (working-class, obviously) father's name?! He has a talking baseball for a sidekick?! How delightfully American! Rated G

& r & GRIDIRON GANG & r &

All right, here's some complicated arithmetic, but see if you can follow along with me. We're going to combine some terms to see where it gets us: The Rock + prison + football + troubled minors (low self-esteem + no one to believe in them) = World Wrestling Entertainment + The Longest Yard + Bad News Bears = best sports flick ever? Hmm, we must've forgot to carry the one or something... so... Worst Sports Movie ever? That looks a little better... Rated PG-13

& r & THE LAST KISS & r &

Zach Braff reprises -- karmically at least -- his perpetual child-on-the-brink-of-quasi-adulthood character from Garden State with a perpetual quasi-adult on the brink of something resembling real adulthood. Or at least marriage, which often passes for such. We'd say expect to see him schlep and kvetch his way through another bout of existential angst, but it's got the potty-mouth rating and is written by Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) so it might be a fair bit less formulaic than all that. Rated R

& r & TRUST THE MAN & r &

Another tale of staring at the brink of middle age and contemplating an affair (or several) or divorce or anything to make one's life seem novel and meaningful, it's the story of four friends: two ladies, two dudes (a common number and organization in such films; see: every third film Woody Allen ever made), trying to get over things like sex and fidelity so they can get on with the rest of their (boring, child-rearing lives. Rated R

& r & QUINCEANERA & r &

It's like Sweet 16 for Catholic Latinas, a coming of age via hella parties and whatnot. Quinceanera's the story of one such girl and her trials (poverty, weight, bad dudes). It won the critics' prize and the audience award at Sundance, a rare thing and a pretty good sign. Rated R