2000’s

[6] Screenwriter John August (Titan AE, Big Fish) makes his directorial debut in this headtrippy movie about an actor, a TV showrunner, and a video game designer whose lives interconnect in a mysterious way. Ryan Reynolds plays all three characters in three different ‘chapters’ of the film. Melissa McCarthy and Hope Davis also appear as three different characters, with McCarthy always playing a comforting friend …

[7] Judi Dench plays a cranky old teacher who befriends a new, younger teacher played by Cate Blanchett. Blanchett quickly confides in the older woman and thinks she’s made a new friend. But Dench’s aims are more sinister than that. After Dench catches Blanchett in an extra-marital affair with an underaged student, she uses the knowledge to emotionally manipulate Blanchett. As Blanchett enters crisis mode, …

[4] Lou Taylor Pucci stars in writer/director Mike Mills’ adaptation of Walter Kirn’s novel about a nervous high school student afflicted with thumbsucking. Once he’s prescribed ritalin, Pucci’s character starts to feel more confident. Unfortunately, the drug also turns him into an asshole. If Thumbsucker focused more on the angle of drug abuse, it might better distinguish itself from the myriad of other quirky indie …

[5] Brad Pitt voices one of cinema’s most famous adventure heroes for Dreamworks Animation’s Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. Sinbad begins the tale as a man with loose morals who strikes a deal with Eris, the goddess of chaos (Michelle Pfeiffer), to steal a sacred book for her. Turns out that Sinbad has scruples, though, forcing Eris to steal the book herself and frame …

[8] Two restless Mexican teenagers (Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna) take a road trip with an older woman (Maribel Verdú) who just learned her husband cheated on her. Their destination is a private beach that may or may not exist, but as with all road trip movies, it’s the journey that counts. Demons of the past are confronted, sexual discoveries are made, and new …

[7] Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) and Brian Cox (Manhunter) star in this deeply unsettling coming-of-age drama about a motherless teen who robs houses with his friends until they entangle with an older man who’s a pillar of the community — and a pedophile. After his friends abandon him and his father is arrested on claims of fraud, the teen turns to this older …

[6] Christian Bale (Empire of the Sun) plays a homicidal Wall Street playboy in this Bret Easton Ellis adaptation directed by Mary Harron. By day, Bale’s character, Patrick Bateman, engages in banal chit-chat with other yuppies. They compare dicks — I mean, business cards — and brag about elusive dinner reservations. But by night, Bateman one-ups them all in the contest to determine who’s the …

[7] Writer/director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) serves up this horror/comedy about citizens of a rural South Carolina town who find themselves in the middle of a parasitic alien invasion. Part of the fun of Slither is discovering how the parasites transform their human hosts, giving the opportunity for plenty of gross-out gags and comedic reactions. Gunn gives at least three leading characters enough …

[6] Elisabeth Shue (Adventures in Babysitting) stars as a scientist working on an invisibility experiment for the U.S. military in this thriller from director Paul Verhoeven (Spetters, RoboCop). Things are looking good until her brilliant cohort and ex-boyfriend, played by Kevin Bacon, decides to be the first human subject. He successfully becomes invisible, but the transformation also weakens his state of mind and moral grounding. …

[8] Jack Nicholson stars as Warren Schmidt, a recent retiree who tries to reconnect with his daughter after the sudden death of his wife. He embarks on an RV trip to stop the daughter’s wedding to an unworthy used car salesman, but the effort only succeeds in further alienating her and underscoring his own uselessness. About Schmidt is another wonderfully droll comedy from writer/director Alexander …

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