Opens Fri Sept 23
Jodie "Peaked at Taxi Driver" Foster plays Kyle, a recent widow who's taking her painfully precious daughter, Julia (Marlene Lawston), on a long-distance flight. When Kyle wakes up from a mid-flight nap, however, Julia's missing—and no one on the plane remembers seeing her. Promptly freaking out and making her face even more pinched than usual, Foster's Kyle starts squawking at the pilot (Sean Bean) and the air marshal (an utterly wasted Peter Sarsgaard). Though they clearly (and more than understandably) think she's fucking insane, they decide to intervene when Kyle's idea of finding Julia turns out to be running down the aisles and blaming the only two Middle Eastern passengers onboard.
It's all pretty fucking ridiculous, and while there's some joy in watching a character as annoying as Kyle consistently inch closer to delusional schizophrenia, anyone who got even halfway through Nell can attest that watching Foster act like a crazy bitch loses its charm pretty quickly. So halfway through, director Robert Schwentke switches gears; the melodramatic plot twist at the halfway mark is as nonsensical as it is desperate, and the film soon spirals into a climax so overblown and treacly that it feels like the result of a collaboration between Jerry Bruckheimer and Frank Capra. Again: fucking ridiculous. ERIK HENRIKSEN
Opens Fri Sept 23
How many sports underdog movies are there? Maybe 1,000? But how many underdog movies are there about roller-skating, starring an adorable, almost-legal (Lil') Bow Wow? Answer: There's only one! And it's totally awesome!
Granted, Roll Bounce isn't going to win an Oscar, but it will entertain horny gals and roller-skating lovers immensely. The plot's pretty predictable: It's 1978, and a group of teenagers from the Southside of Chicago are spending the summer skating at the rink. Soon enough a rivalry develops between the Southside and Northside skate crews, and along comes a skating competition—and guess what—the two teams face off.
Besides the awesome skate scenes, the sexy teenage boys, and the slew of "your mama" jokes, Roll Bounce incorporates young skater Xavier's (Bow Wow) struggle to come to terms with his mom's recent death. Bow Wow is sweet and believable (and did I mention cute?) and his relationship with his devastated father (Chi McBride) adds some depth to the movie. And, of course, the skating is awesome. KATIE SHIMER
El Crimen Perfecto
dir. de la Iglesia
Opens Fri Sept 23
El Crimen Perfecto (The Perfect Crime) is a black comedy out of Spain that halfheartedly satirizes one man's effort to live a successful, "perfect" life. Rafael (Guillermo Toledo) loves his job working in the women's clothing section of a large department store—he spends his time admiring himself, sleeping with hot female coworkers, and angling for a lofty promotion to floor manager. His troubles begin when, during an argument, he accidentally kills his rival, Don Antonio (Luis Varela). Luckily, the only witness happens to be the one employee that Rafael hasn't slept with: the conspicuously unattractive Lourdes (Mónica Cervera). In exchange for Lourdes' silence, Rafael is blackmailed into having a full-fledged relationship with her.
It's a well-known fact that dating ugly people makes you crazy, and Rafael is soon so nuts that—with the assistance of a hallucinated zombie version of Don Antonio—he begins hatching an elaborate plot to kill Lourdes. Problem is, both Rafael and Lourdes are too sympathetic for effective satire, and the "black comedy" is limited to a few splashes of unimpressive gore. The result is a harmless, immediately forgettable cheese-fest with barely enough laughs to justify the price of admission. ALISON HALLETT