Atonement: Finally, Joe Wright’s adaptation of Ian McEwan’s exceptional — and exceptionally difficult to summarize — novel comes to town. Atonement takes place across years, as the actions of young Briony (Saoirse Ronan) have lengthy, unimagined consequences to the futures of her sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and their housekeeper’s son, Robbie (James McAvoy), who’s in love with Cecilia. R. 123 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut: Ridley Scott used archival footage in this new version of the classic, influential sci-fi film, making the story of replicant hunter Deckard (Harrison Ford) darker yet again (following the previous director’s cut). Not rated. 138 min. Bijou.
Dan in Real Life: Poor Dan (Steve Carrell) is an advice columnist with a passel of daughters whose life is further complicated when he falls for his brother’s girlfriend (Juliette Binoche). Also, the brother is played by Dane Cook. PG13. 99 min. Movies 12.
Dorothy Day: Don’t Call Me a Saint: Documentary about the New York writer and social justice worker being considered by the Vatican for canonization. A young bohemian writer, Day converted to Catholocism and worked to help the hungry and homeless, cofounding the Catholic Worker with Peter Maurin. 7:30 pm Jan. 4, Cozmic Pizza. Donation.
Elephant: Gus Van Sant’s film follows students on what seems like an ordinary school day until two boys unleash mayhem and murder. Van Sant’s respect for his young actors and director’s refusal to explain why school shootings happen make it exceptional. R. 81 min. 7:30 pm Jan. 5, Lorane Grange. $7. sug. don. Online archives.
Fred Claus: So what if Santa had a brother? Who happened to be the opposite of the saintly gift-giver: a repo man? That’s the basic premise of this film, but the reason people will see it, I suspect, is for Paul Giamatti in a Santa suit getting in a fight with Vince Vaughn. PG. 116 min. Movies 12.
Juno: Director Jason Reitman’s turned out another buzzworthy movie, this time with a screenplay by newcomer Diablo Cody. Ellen Page (who was outstanding in Hard Candy) plays a pregnant teenager dealing with herself, her future, her parents, the best friend who fathered the kid and the couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) who wants to adopt it. “Hilarious and sweet-tempered, perceptive and surprisingly grounded,” said the Los Angeles Times. PG13. 96 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
One Missed Call: Cell phones are scary, especially when they, um, play voicemails for you? That are of your own death? Who thinks this stuff up? Didn’t electronics-as-nightmare-devices already fail with Pulse? Ah well. Starring Shannyn Sossamon and Edward Burns. PG13. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Stevie Wonder: A 1975 TV performance from Brussels and an unreleased live show from the early ’70s play as part of the In-Concert Series. Bijou LateNite.
Films open the Friday following EW publication date unless otherwise noted. See archived reviews at www.eugeneweekly.com
Across the Universe: Julie Taymor (Titus, Broadway’s The Lion King) puts her ambitious but unsatisfying spin on a love story built around Beatles songs, following a young man (Jim Sturgess) and the girl he falls for (Evan Rachel Wood) amid the tumult of the 1960s. PG13. 131 min. Movies 12. (10/18)
Alien vs. Predator: Requiem: Honest to goodness, I didn’t even know they were making another AVP until I saw an ad last week. Directors Colin and Greg Strause did visual effects work on 300, which ought to be enough to get a certain audience into theaters to watch the nasty monsters fight. R. 86 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: What’s next? A live-action Care Bears movie starring Jason Lee? (He’s in this and Underdog, for those not keeping track.) Those wacky little creatures with the high-pitched voices will surely cause him some trouble in this newest bit of family fare. With, um, David Cross. Now I’m confused. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
American Gangster: Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe face off in the story of 1970s driver turned drug lord Frank Lucas (Washington) and the cop investigating Lucas and his unexpected rise to power. Directed by Ridley Scott. R. 157 min. Movies 12. (11/8)
Bee Movie: Not much looks all that sweet about this animated comedy, in which Jerry Seinfeld voices a recent bee college graduate who learns, to his shock, that humans have been stealing bees’ honey for ages and ages. With the voices of Renee Zellweger and Matthew Broderick. PG. 90 min. Movies 12.
Charlie Wilson’s War: Mike Nichols directs from an Aaron Sorkin script this political … drama? comedy? … about a congressman (Tom Hanks) who combined forces with a CIA agent (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and a rich socialite (Julia Roberts) to direct a massive covert operation during the Cold War era. R. 97 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.
Eagle vs. Shark: “Napoleon Dynamite in New Zealand” is both too glib a description and not that far off for this overly quirky film about two peculiar characters who sort of fall in love — when one’s not “training” to defeat his high school nemesis in single combat. Still, it’s not without its charms. R. 87 min. Bijou LateNite. (12/20)
Enchanted: Beautiful princesses! Handsome princes! And … midtown Manhattan? Amy Adams (Junebug), James Marsters (X-Men) and Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) star in this fairy tale in the real world, which follows Princess Giselle (Adams) after a wicked witch banishes her from her magical kingdom. Why does this Disney flick look so charming? PG. 107 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. See review this issue.
Game Plan, The: The Rock stretches his dramatic skills as a football player faced with a strange challenge: a little girl who claims to be his daughter. PG. Movies 12.
Golden Compass, The: An only slightly above average film — mostly on account of the fantastic casting — based on Philip Pullman’s utterly brilliant novel. In a world much like our own, everyone has an animal companion who’s part of themselves, and one little girl (newcomer Dakota Blue Richards) is the key to saving not just her own world, but countless others as well. With Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliott and Eva Green. PG13. 113 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/13)
Great Debaters, The: Denzel Washington (who also directs) stars in the (based-on-a-true) story of a debate coach in the segregated South who leads his Texas college team to a face-off with Harvard. PG13. 123 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Hitman: Timothy Olyphant, go back to Deadwood! No, kidding, kidding. But honestly, I’m not sure this videogame-based film about a professional assassin trying to find out who set him up (wait, does this remind anyone of Jason Bourne?) is the best place for you. R. 100 min. Movies 12.
I Am Legend: Will Smith does the all-by-his-lonesome thing in a New York City left not exactly empty after a manmade virus devastates the globe. During the day, he tries to find other survivors; at night, he tries to survive the creatures that are what’s left of humanity. PG13. 100 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/20)
Margot at the Wedding: The latest film from Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, the underrated Kicking and Screaming that’s not the Will Ferrell movie of the same name) concerns the strained relationship between two sisters (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Nicole Kidman) and how it plays out as one’s wedding looms. “This lacerating film … pushes family drama right to the edge,” says The Los Angeles Times. R. Bijou. (12/27)
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium: This story about a magical toy store, its owner (Dustin Hoffman) and the young shop employee who might inherit it (Natalie Portman) is written and directed by Zach Helm, who also wrote last year’s Stranger Than Fiction. G. 94 min. Movies 12.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets: Nicolas Cage returns for more adventure and hijinks — something to do with the president’s secret book (hey, this sounds like Crooked Little Vein!) and clearing his family’s name; did great-great grandpa have something to do with Lincoln’s assassination? With Helen Mirren. PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
No Country for Old Men: The latest from the Coen brothers is a near-masterpiece, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s acclaimed novel, and it’s earning plenty of acclaim itself. The story involves a small-town sherriff, a deadly drug deal and a psychopathic killer (Javier Bardem). The reviewers say “intense,” “searing,” “an evil delight.” R. 122 min. VRC Stadium 15. (11/29)
P.S. I Love You: Holly (Hilary Swank) must go on without the love of her life, Gerry (Gerard Butler) when illness strikes. But for her 30th birthday, she gets a letter and a tape from Gerry, telling her how to make the most of her life. Sorry, have to end this there; I feel a bit queasy from all the sweetness. PG13. 126 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Resident Evil: Extinction: Alice (Milla Jovovich) is still trying to get rid of that pesky zombie-making virus. For this third film in the series, Alice gets new friends (we suspect they replace those zombified last time out) including Heroes‘ Ali Larter and singer Ashanti. R. 95 min. Movies 12.
Romance and Cigarettes: John Turturro’s film finally breaks free from distribution limbo. The peculiar comedy-drama-musical mix gets messy at times, but a great cast (Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Mary-Louise Parker), hysterical musical sequences and snappy dialogue make this bawdy working-class romance/heartbreak film a winner. R. 105 min. Bijou. (12/20)
Sweeney Todd: Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (and Alan Rickman!) star in Tim Burton’s take on the Broadway musical about a murderous barber who’s sworn revenge for what happened to his wife and daughter. “Depp is simply stupendous,” says Rolling Stone. R. 117 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15. (12/27)
3:10 to Yuma: Russell Crowe and Christian Bale costar in this solid Western from director James Mangold (Walk the Line). Based on a short story by Elmore Leonard that was made into a film in 1957, the film follows a vicious outlaw (Crowe) and the Civil War vet (Bale) who’s volunteered to get the thief to the train that’ll take him to trial. R. 117 min. Movies 12. (9/13)
Underdog: Jason Lee voices the titular canine, who finds himself superpowered after an incident in the lab of mad scientist Simon Barsinister (Peter Dinklage). Bad guys have plots, but Underdog has a spaniel to impress! Oh, and the day to save. PG. 84 min. Movies 12.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: While I’m all for both John C. Reilly and the sending up of Walk the Line, this satirical rock ‘n’ roll faux-biopic appears, from the trailers, to be trying too hard. But it’s directed by Jake Kasdan, whose The Zero Effect was shamefully overlooked. Hrm. R. 96 min. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
Water Horse: Legend of the Deep: It’s nice to see Ben Chaplin (The Truth About Cats and Dogs) again, even if it’s in this too-cute-but-still-charming children’s film about a boy who finds a mysterious eggs that turns into a mythical creature. Directed by Jay Russell (My Dog Skip). PG. Cinemark. VRC Stadium 15.
We Own the Night: Family and loyalty clash in James Gray’s film, in which nightclub manager Bobby (Joaquin Phoenix) hides his relationship to a NYC cop family while also keeping a distance from the gangster who operates out of his club. With Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall. R. 105 min. Movies 12.
Bijou Art Cinemas
Bijou Theater 686-2458 | 492 E. 13th
VRC Stadium 15 342-6536 | Valley River Center
Movies 12 741-1231 | Gateway Mall
Cinemark 17 741-1231 | Gateway Mall