This twisty caper about corporate espionage, starring the dream team of Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, is a little like Mr. and Mrs. Smith minus the gunplay and the tabloid headlines. Writer-director Tony Gilroy (_Michael Clayton_) keeps you guessing about who’s double-crossing whom as the stars bed down, team up and engineer an elaborate plan to steal a mysterious and invaluable new product. Game on!
Kristin Scott Thomas (near left) conveys more with silence than most actors can in a three-page monologue. She plays Juliette, who reunites with her younger sister (Elsa Zylberstein) after spending 15 years in prison, for reasons that are slowly revealed. A subtle, searing performance, in French no less.
Photo by: Thierry Valletoux, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
The Secret Life Of Bees
The honey-making Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keyes and Sophie Okonedo) exert a powerful spell in this film of Sue Monk Kidd’s best-seller. Dakota Fanning (left, with Latifah), Jennifer Hudson and Paul Bettany round out a fine cast.
How great is it to see Debra Winger (left) on the screen again? She has a small role in this tale of a family wedding, but it’s a doozy. Other pleasures include Anne Hathaway playing a troubled daughter; Rosemarie DeWitt as the bride; and a strikingly naturalistic direction by Jonathan Demme.
Two women in desperate straits smuggle illegal immigrants into the U.S. from Canada, in a tense and intimate drama that provides no easy answers for thorny issues. Expect 21 Grams‘ Melissa Leo (near left) to figure in next year’s Oscar race.
Photo by: Jory Sutton/Frozen River Productions, LLC, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
The great British comic Ricky Gervais (left, with Téa Leoni) makes a hilariously unlikely leading man in this supernatural romance. He stars as a dentist so misanthropic he can barely deal with the living, much less the dead people he starts seeing after he nearly dies himself. Only a woman as warm and lovely as the widowed archaeologist played by Leoni can make a dent in his curmudgeonly heart. But then there’s the matter of her expired husband, an amusing Greg Kinnear.
In this beautifully observed drama adapted from Monica Ali’s acclaimed novel, a Bangledeshi woman, living in London and unhappy in her arranged marriage, has an affair that jolts her into taking control of her life.
A fierce, compelling performance by Julianne Moore (left) galvanizes this dark drama, which is based on the life and violent death in 1972 of Barbara Baekeland, social-climbing wife of the Bakelite plastics heir. Let’s just say that "inappropriate" barely begins to describe the way she mothered her son.
Clive Owen and Naomi Watts star in a stylish thriller (directed by Run Lola Run‘s Tom Tykwer) about a multi-national bank involved in arms deals, assassinations and third-world coups. The nefarious details are a little fuzzy, but the actors make a fabulous team, and there’s a shootout at the Guggenheim Museum that’s among the most exciting sequences ever filmed.