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 or she may soon be calling on Renee. --Guy Flatley Now Playing






















Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara, Max Minghella, Armie Hammer, Joseph Mazzello, Bryan Barter, David Selby (Directed by David Fincher; Written by Aaron Sorkin; Columbia)

It was 2003, and they didn’t have Facebook then. But before the year was out, they were well on their way with a revolutionary internet forum for making mostly unseen, occasionally unworthy friends out of total strangers. The person generally credited with bringing this miracle to global life was a nerdy Harvard undergraduate student and computer programmer named Mark Zuckerberg, played here by the scarily persuasive Jesse Eisenberg. And, as we all know, this chilly, self-centered, socially gauche, morally cloudy entrepreneur became the youngest billionaire the world has ever known. He also became a mega-celebrity looked up to by millions and put down by millions more. As the poster for the film so eloquently points out, "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies."

In Rashomon fashion, the meteoric rise of this Citizen Kane-like character is viewed by director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin from the perspective of various associates and friends of Zuckerberg, many of whom were discarded along the way and some of whom had their bitter days in court with him, battling for a slice of the astronomical Facebook profits.

Top critics have heaped praise on Fincher and Sorkin and on their fresh, largely unfamiliar cast. You’d probably be smart to bet on “The Social Network” in numerous Oscar categories. If you don't feel sure about your selections, why not check with some of your friends on Facebook? But only the ones you can trust.  --Guy Flatley Now Playing Click here for a CRITICS ROUNDUP on "The Social Network."



Matt Damon, Cecile De France, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jay Mohr, Lyndsey Marshal, Marthe Keller, Richard Kind, Mylene Jampanoi, Steve Schirripa, Jenifer Lewis (Directed by Clint Eastwood; Written by Peter Morgan; Warner Brothers)
Last year, Matt Damon was so beautifully directed by Clint Eastwood in “Invictus” that he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor of 2009. This year, Damon—arguably the most subtle and versatile star on today’s American film scene—is apt to walk off with a Best Actor statuette for playing a mysterious, possibly supernatural, character in this offbeat thriller, which was helmed by Eastwood and written by Peter Morgan, author of “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon.”

What exactly is it that's so special about George, the modest factory worker portrayed here by Damon? Mostly, it’s the fact that he can access individuals who’ve been dead for quite some time and even manage to have a heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul chat with them. But, in truth, George doesn’t treasure his psychic skills nor is he eager to put them at the service of troubled survivors. Still, when a young British boy asks him to contact his deceased twin or a beautiful journalist (Cecile De France) seeks his help in coping with the aftermath of a weird near-death experience caused by the 2004 Asian tsunami, how can George possibly say no? --Guy Flatley (Click here for Guy's 1976 New York Times interview with Clint Eastwood.) Now Playing Click here for a CRITICS ROUNDUP on "Hereafter."