Friday Night at the Movies
Your best bets on the big screen this weekend.
DISTRICT 9: For sci-fi fans, it's poised to become an instant classic. Aliens descend on Earth, but they're not here to invade or save us from ourselves--their spaceship just broke down. Now they're living in a South African ghetto, and they're getting restless. (area theaters)
City Pages: "Fast and furiously inventive. ... District 9 is never better than in its first 45 minutes, as director Neill Blomkamp maps out the film's social and economic realities--alien language, graffiti, black-market goods. But even in the more conventional second half, Blomkamp puts things across with terrific verve, using action and computer effects to enhance rather than trump story and character."
Star Tribune: 4 stars Pioneer Press: 3.5 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 92% positive
PONYO: Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki is back with a riff on Hans Christian Andersen's classic The Little Mermaid, but with a Miyazakian twist: The mermaid is an anthropomorphic goldfish with magical powers, and her handsome prince is a five-year-old schoolboy. (area theaters)
City Pages: "The appeal of Ponyo is hardly limited to the Romper Room set. It's a movie for anyone who, like Miyazaki, can still happily commune with his inner five-year-old."
Star Tribune: 3 stars Pioneer Press: 3 stars RottenTomatoes.com: 96% positive
THE COVE: This documentary about the slaughter of dolphins in the cove of a remote Japanese fishing village is forthrightly activist and a rousing blend of faux-thriller, horror movie, and farce. (Edina Cinema)
THE HURT LOCKER: A full-throttle body shock of a movie. It gets inside you like a virus, puts your nerves in a blender, and twists your guts into a Gordian knot. Set during the last month in the yearlong rotation of a three-man U.S. Army bomb squad stationed in Baghdad, it may be the only film made about Iraq that gives us a true sense of what it feels like to be on the front lines. (area theaters)
JULIE & JULIA: Worth seeing--and only worth seeing--for Meryl Streep's joyful and lusty performance as chef and bon vivant Julia Child. (area theaters)
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL: History will place this 1951 sci-fi flick among the greats: The older it gets, the more poignant it becomes. That's a neat trick for a low-budget, potentially campy movie about an alien who lands on the mall in D.C. with his pet robot in tow. (Heights Theatre, Monday at 7:30 p.m.)
BATMAN: Get a seat early on the Solera patio for this 1989 tour de force from director Tim Burton, with Michael Keaton as the comic book hero. (Solera Restaurant, Tuesday at dusk)
SERENITY: A transporter spaceship is stalked by an interstellar assassin trying to kill a telepathic passenger who knows too much about a plot by a totalitarian regime. Writer-director Joss Whedon creates distinctively odd dialogue and a quirky, lovingly imagined world in this 2005 sci-fi thriller. (Riverview Theater, Friday and Saturday at 11:30 p.m.)
For more film ideas, capsule reviews, and showtimes, click here.