dir. Foley

Opens Fri April 25, Various Theaters

I think Edward Burns is nothing but a mediocre actor stuffed in a pretty boy suit. I have to admit, though, his utter lack of onscreen presence fits in nicely with Confidence, a twisty, generic "big score" movie with Burns as an unflappable (read: expressionless) hustler who (surprise!) gets in over his head. Dustin Hoffman turns in a nauseating performance as an ambiguously sexual crime lord, and Rachel Weisz smokes as usual--now there's a hottie with some talent. Estimated time it will take you to forget you ever saw this film: three days. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS

Laurel Canyon

dir. Cholodenko

Opens Fri April 25, Fox Tower

An outwardly airtight, upwardly propelled couple (Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale) reluctantly relocate to the crumbling, groupie-haunted manse of his rock producing, party-hearty mother (the gorgeously desiccated Francis McDormand) Romantic entanglements, Oedipal spit-takes, identity crises, and Kip Winger-esque excess swiftly follow. As in her previous High Art, director Lisa Cholodenko takes an affectionate dissection knife to The Creative Type, resulting in a refreshingly even-handed, open-ended, and, at times, seriously hot exploration of the delicate arts of self-loathing and psyche implosion. Nothing new, exactly, but it's a finely etched, occasionally hilarious trip through La La Land. ANDREW WRIGHT


dir. Austin Chick

Opens Fri April 25, Various Theaters

Films about diffident men who have trouble with commitment are to post-Sundance American independent cinema what films about existential loners who have trouble with ethics were to the Vietnam era. XX/XY stands above its pack by virtue of a fantastic central performance by Mark Ruffalo and a probing intelligence--it seems less concerned with the hang-ups of one not-so-bizarre love triangle than with finding some universal generational truth. It's also among the first in what I presume will become a subgenre of romantic agonies set in the newly ripe-for-nostalgia era known as the early '90s. Opening with a random three-way and working its way up to a marital maelstrom, XX/XY falters occasionally, but contains enough truth--and sexy interludes--to justify its existence. SEAN NELSON