cASE 39












Renee Zellweger, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper (Directed by Christian Alvart; Written by Ray Wright; Paramount)

Renee’s heart is in the right place, but her head might be somewhere else in this thriller. She plays a social worker who succeeds in rescuing an abused 10-year-old girl from her parents, only to find that the couple, spooky as they may be, are not the abusers. There's almost certainly a spookier abuser out there in the dark, dangerous night--and he may soon be calling on Renee. --Guy Flatley Now Playing














Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Noel O’Donovan, Tony Rohr, Maggie McCarthy, Kaitlin Olson (Directed by Anand Tucker; Written by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont; Universal Pictures)

Anna Brady (Amy Adams) is having it all, or nearly all. She’s got a glamorous career as a top interior designer; impressive digs on a posh Boston block; and a romance with a young cardiologist (Adam Scott) that’s been smooth sailing for four years.

The only thing Anna doesn’t have is a husband. That’s why she decides to secretly trail her commitment-dodging doc to a medical conference in Dublin, where she plans to pop the marital question to him on Leap Day, which falls on February 29 every fourth year. According to Irish etiquette, it is altogether proper for a woman to take the reins and propose to her beau on that day.

Will the hard-to-wed doctor with the easy bedside manner cave in and say yes? The answer to that question may depend on an Irishman by the name of Declan (Matthew Goode). Declan’s the proprietor of a remote pub and inn, and he’s also the macho moonlighting taxi driver Anna hires to speed her to the medical conference so she can meet her Leap Day deadline. (What’s the rush? Time is running out, thanks to a nasty storm that forced the pilot of Anna’s plane to land laughably far from Dublin.)

On the other hand, since “Leap Year” is obviously a meet-cute comedy, it’s quite possible that Anna will loosen up, stop bickering with her bossy driver long enough to spot his sensitive side, and instruct him to turn around and take her back to his cozy pub and inn. In which case, the doctor will definitely not be in. --Guy Flatley Click Here To Read Diane Baroni's 2002 Interview With Amy Adams. Now Playing

















Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Michael Gambon,  Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Evan Jones (Directed by Allen and Albert Hughes;  Written by Gary Whitta and Anthony Peckham; Warner Bros.)


Now that we’ve said good riddance to 2009 and are already sickened by what we’ve seen of 2010, don’t you have an urge to speed things up and explore some other era, some better, braver new world? Then you may be tempted to sample “The Book of Eli,” which is set in 2043. But consider this  word of warning:  the Warner Bros. flacks are describing forty-three as a “post-apocalyptic” year. Which, of course, does not necessarily mean the flick will be as excruciatingly pessimistic as the recent-but-futuristic “Road,” starring Viggo Mortenson as a doomed wannabe savior of what remains of mankind.

This time around we get Denzel Washington as an unswervingly moralistic, if lethal, rover in a savage wasteland. In other words, when the situation demands swift, deadly action, this guy’s a killer to behold. What's more, he knows how to protect the sacred Book of Eli--which he has somehow managed to unearth and which contains the secret for restoring human beings to a state of civility-- from the clutches of rapacious barbarians, most notably the low-life creep played by Gary Oldman. Denzel also knows how to protect his gal pal (Mila Kunis) and to make her his equal in the twin arts of obliteration and salvation. Truly, he is a man for all seasons.

While this is not one of those sci-fi epics that require you to don 3-D specs, the soundtrack for the trailer that’s been blasting away at my local multiplex makes it clear that earplugs are an absolute must. –Guy Flatley  Now Playing











Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths, Harry Treadway, Sydney Nash (Written and directed by Andrea Arnold; IFC Films)


At 15, Mia Williams is no longer a bored, surly student. She is, in fact, no student at all, since the fed-up authorities at her grim British school finally gave her the big boot. So now the sex-hungry virgin spends her days primping, fantasizing, swilling booze she’s managed to swipe, and solo-dancing in the abandoned apartment just above the one she  shares with her single mom and her younger sister.

Not a pleasant situation, to be sure, but not an incendiary one, either. Not, that is, until Mom brings home a thrill-seeking security guard, a horny rogue who, based on the instant, intimate rapport he establishes with Mia, isn’t about to say no to pedophilia.

This mini-synopsis of “Fish Tank” may lead you to expect a tacky soft-porn flick, but the wave of raves rushing in from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where the movie won the Jury Prize, indicates something far more complex and rewarding.

Additional cause for optimistic expectations: “Fish Tank” was written and directed by Andrea Arnold, the youthful Brit whose thriller “Red Road” riveted a lot of us back in 2006. Also, newcomer Katie Jarvis is said to be astonishing as Mia, and anyone who saw Michael Fassbender’s fascinating turns in “Hunger” and “Inglourious Basterds” knows that the tricky role of Mia’s seducer has been placed in sturdy hands. –Guy Flatley Now Playing