Little Miss Sunshine
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell and Toni Collette
Running Time: 1 hour 41 min.
Summary: For those of you tired of witless comedies (“Beerfest” anyone?) here’s the movie for you-one that is equal parts razor-sharp wit and genuine heart. The film follows an intrepid family of losers who take their daughter (played by 10-year-old Abigail Breslin) out to California in their VW Bus for the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant. The film is rife with big laughs that are grounded in the all-too-real idiosyncrasies of the film’s characters, but what makes “Little Miss Sunshine” such a delight is how it balances the laughs with moments of poignancy.
The Wicker Man
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Leelee Sobieski and Ellen Burstyn
Running Time: 1 hour 37 min.
Summary: Here we have yet another horror film remake set in the densely-wooded Pacific Northwest and peopled with creepy, Damien-esque children. Luckily, this one boasts Nicolas Cage in the lead role and is directed by Indie film darling Neil LaBute. Cage plays a California highway patrolman haunted by his inability to save a little girl after the car she’s in mysteriously explodes. However, Cage’s character gets a chance to redeem himself when his estranged fiancee asks him to help find her missing daughter. Thus far the film has received wildly variable reviews, so if you’re a horror junkie you might want to check this one out, but otherwise, I’d wait until it comes out on DVD.
Starring: Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel
Running Time: 1 hour 49 min.
Summary: In this small film with big talent, Norton plays a magician in turn-of-the-century Vienna who’s in love with the Crown Prince Leopold’s fiancee, played by Biel. Giamatti, fresh from the self-pitying haze of his character in “Lady in the Water,” plays an inspector out to expose Norton’s illusionist. The film has received much praise for its performances and its storyline, but unfortunately, “The Illusionist” will probably soon disappear from theaters when “The Prestige,” another much-anticipated film about turn-of-the-century magicians, comes out later this month, so see this one while you can.
Staff writer Jeff Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org