Capsule reviews of recently released movies

New Releases

FLIGHTPLAN (PG-13) Jodie Foster plays grieving aeronautics engineer Kyle Pratt, traveling home with her 6-year-old daughter, Julia, to bury her husband after his suicide. Onboard the plane, Foster awakens, panicked, to find her child missing. No one claims to have ever seen the girl and Pratt is assumed delusional and dangerous. Peter Sarsgaard plays the sympathetic air Marshal who attempts to help solve the mystery of the missing girl. With cool camera angles and intense close ups, the movie has an eerie, Twilight Zone-esque feel. Foster's usual command of raw emotion makes an otherwise blah film incredibly intense and thrilling. Also stars Sean Bean. Opens Sept. 23 at local theaters. 3 stars

— Yeatie Morgan

NOBODY KNOWS (PG-13) Based on a true story that shocked Japan in the late '80s, Nobody Knows offers a refreshingly unsentimental and unsensationalized account of four young brothers and sisters getting by more or less or their own. Twelve-year-old Akira (Yagira Yuya) is the man of the house, while a flaky, promiscuous mom flits in and out of the kids' lives, disappearing from the scene altogether by the film's mid-point. Abandoned and unschooled, both formally and in the ways of the world, the kids create their own insular community, and Nobody Knows takes place almost entirely within that private world of the children's apartment, with only occasional forays into the outside world. Director Kore-eda Hirokazu (After Life, Mabarosi) coaxes some amazingly rich and natural performances from his young, non-professional actors, adding to the documentary-like effect created by Yutaka Yamazaki's supple but never slick, handheld camerawork. Also stars Kitauru Ayu, Kimura Hiei, Shimizu Momoko and Japanese pop star You (yep, that's her name) as the mother. Plays Sept. 23, one night only, at Eckerd College's Miller Auditorium, 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Pete. 4 stars

ROLL BOUNCE (PG-13) Director Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother) offers what we suspect might be the silliest movie of the year. Lil' Bow Wow stars as Xavier ("X" to his friends), leader of a hotshot roller-skating gang (we kid you not) on the south side of '70s Chicago. When their rink closes, the gang heads uptown to a swankier one, where they engage in a skate-off against rival rollers. And, oh yeah — it's a musical. Also stars Chi McBride and Mike Epps. Opens Sept. 23 at local theaters. (Not Reviewed)

VODKA LEMON (NR) Amidst the debris and bone-crushing chill of piss-poor, post-Soviet Armenia, romance blooms between an aging widower (Romen Avinian) and an attractive widow (Lala Sarkissian), who find themselves exchanging glances while visiting departed loved ones at the local cemetery. There are moments of formulaic sweetness to the central story, but Vodka Lemon is not your average romantic comedy, or even your average European romantic comedy (the film is French-financed, even though it was shot in Armenia and directed by an exiled Iraqi Kurd). The movie is filled with delightfully ludicrous characters and moments that verge on magical realism. And life in the film's bleak little Armenian village, where no one and nothing seems to work, is drawn with precision and understated absurdity. For all the desolation on display, this is one weirdly upbeat little movie. Also stars Ivan Franek, Armen Marutyan and Astrik Avaguian. Plays Sept. 28, one night only, as part of Sunrise Cinema's Café Cinamtheque series, Tampa. 3.5 stars


THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN (R) Ruder, cruder and more consistently funny than Wedding Crashers, this is 90-some minutes of comic anarchy with a 15 minute ode to middle-aged love inserted somewhere in there to show us the movie's heart is in the right place. Steve Carell is the titular virgin, a sweetly clueless arrested adolescent who collects action figures and spends his weekends perfecting recipes for egg salad sandwiches. The movie's one big joke revolves around Carell's character being pressured by his male co-workers to have sex, and his bungled attempts to accomplish that mission. Also stars Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Romany Malco. 3.5 stars

2046 (R) The film is sort of a (very) loose sequel to Wong Kar-wai's masterful In the Mood for Love, with Tony Leung returning as Chow, whose unspoken and unconsummated, but no less grand, romance with a married woman was the bittersweet focus of that movie. The film takes place in the years following In the Mood for Love, with our once-wounded-in-love hero now an emotionally distant womanizer who we see crossing paths with a series of beautiful and mysterious women moving in and out of the hotel room across from his. Connections are made, unmade and messed with, relationships play out, events repeat themselves and time slips away only to be regained once more, and even those paying strict attention may be hard pressed to say what some of it means. We eventually come to see that the film's title refers not just to the room inhabited by Chow's various girlfriends, but also to the very curious sci-fi novel he's writing (and that we see visualized and paralleled throughout the film), which posits a place populated by androids with "delayed emotional reactions" and where all memories come to roost. As in In the Mood for Love (and, for that matter, all of Wong's films), life is both sad and unbearably sweet, love boils down to either good or bad timing, and 2046 reveals itself as another of this brilliant filmmaker's magnificent but maddening meditations on memory and desire. Also stars Zhang Ziyi, Faye Wong, Gong Li and Maggie Cheung. Currently at Sunrise Cinemas in Tampa. Call to confirm. 4 stars

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