Ample scares abound this week with
Frank Darabont‘s
latest adaptation of a
Stephen King
tome, The Mist. The big-screen version of bestselling novel
The Kite Runner


also comes to DVD, keeping good company with black romantic comedy

Wristcutters: A Love Story
,
Jonathan Demme‘s
celebrated documentary
Jimmy Carter Man From
Plains
, and more.


Stephen
King’s The Mist


Tomatometer:
69%

Frank Darabont
has twice before adapted Stephen King to critical acclaim (The
Shawshank Redemption
,
The Green Mile
)
but this time around he may have picked the wrong story. Set in a small town in
Maine, The Mist finds a group of townspeople trapped in a grocery store
enveloped by a thick, mysterious fog — vapors that conceal terribly hungry
monsters that may or may not be punishments from God. Critics were split on the
flick, which stars
Thomas Jane and Marcia
Gay Harden
; while perfectly fine as a creature feature, some thought
Darabont failed to seamlessly merge horror pic with message movie. A director
commentary, eight deleted scenes, and a Stephen King — Frank Darabont featurette
appear on the standard DVD release; five more featurettes and a black and white
version of the film comprise a 2-Disc Special Edition.


The Kite Runner


Tomatometer:
67%

Marc Forster‘s
The Kite Runner has nearly as compelling a production story as the
fictional lives of its protagonists, two childhood friends from Afghanistan.
Well-to-do Amir is best friends with Hassan, the son of his family’s servant,
but their friendship is shattered by one pivotal traumatic event. Years later,
Amir must come to terms with his childhood act of cowardice and return to Kabul
to set things right. Critics gave credit to Runner‘s strong performances,
though at two hours (and with the best of intentions) the film may feel
plodding. The filmmakers’ decision to film partially in the native Dari language
and to evacuate the child actors and their families from Afghanistan were bold
choices that make this film all the more intriguing.




Wristcutters: A Love Story


Tomatometer:
66%

Patrick Fugit,
Shannyn
Sossamon
, and
Tom Waits
(in a supporting role) star in this indie black comedy about
suicide victims still searching for answers after death. Lovelorn Zia (Fugit)
wakes up to find the afterlife is a vast alternate world of unhappiness (quite
like our own), setting off on a road trip when he hears his ex-girlfriend has
also arrived. Absurdist and artful — what
Roger Ebert slyly
terms “the birth of the Post-Slasher movie” — Wristcutters tackles a difficult
subject but does so bittersweetly. Music by
Gogol Bordello
perfectly compliments the feeling. A filmmaker commentary, storyboards,
making-of, deleted scenes and Fugit’s own on-set photo gallery round out the
release.


Jimmy Carter Man From
Plains



Tomatometer: 78%

What exactly do presidents do when their four years are up? Some of them, like
39th United States President
Jimmy Carter,
turn to public service with seemingly more gusto and more freedom then they did
while in the Oval Office. The peanut-farming, best-selling author and Nobel
Peace Prize winning Carter — who hails from Plains, Georgia — only served a
single term (1977-1981) as America’s leader, but has devoted his
post-Presidential life to humanitarian work. Director
Jonathan Demme,
who went from his directorial debut,
Caged Heat
, to
winning an Oscar for
Silence of the
Lambs
, followed Carter on a book tour for three months to make this
documentary, resulting in an intriguing and candid portrait of the former
president.


Bonnie and Clyde
Ultimate Collector’s Edition



Tomatometer: 93%

Arthur Penn‘s
seminal 1967 classic about real-life criminal couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde
Barrow enjoys a much deserved spot in the annals of film history; now the newly
re-mastered cut can enjoy a much deserved spot in your DVD library!
Faye Dunaway
and Warren
Beatty
star in the revisionist tale of Depression-era criminals Bonnie and
Clyde, who shot and robbed their way across America in the 1930s. Penn’s comic
touch and grisly violence broke new ground in American cinema and influenced
generations of filmmakers. Pick up the 2-Disc Special Edition with over two
hours of bonus material like a History Channel documentary about Bonnie and
Clyde, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, Beatty’s wardrobe tests, and a
theatrical trailer; a hardcover collectible photo book and the 1967 original
press book come in a separate Collector’s Edition.


Sliders:
The Fourth Season



Tomatometer: N/A

Ah, Sliders. Watching Quinn Mallory (Jerry
O’Connell
) jump between parallel worlds with a homemade but undependable
“timer” made for some fun television back in 1995. Cancelled by Fox after its
first season, the show was revived thanks to fan intervention; eventually the
show would fire
Jonathan
Rhys-Davies
, lose original token girl Wade (Sabrina
Lloyd)
to an actress-on-actress spat, and inexplicably replace O’Connell
with his own brother, Charlie O’Connell (playing Quinn’s brother, Colin). But
before Sliders lost the original O’Connell — right when the storylines
turned to the awkward Kromagg war — there was Season Four, out this week on
DVD. Re-watch the last starring season of the apex of Jerry O’Connell’s career
once more!


This week at the movies we have a lovelorn single dad (Dan
in Real Life
, starring
Steve Carell and
Juliette Binoche),
brothers on a train (The Darjeeling Limited,
starring
Owen Wilson and
Jason Schwartzman,
and the return of Jigsaw (Saw IV,
starring Tobin
Bell
and
Scott Patterson
). What do the critics have to say?

The perpetually awesome
Steve Carell and
Juliette Binoche team up for
Dan
in Real Life
, a rom-com about an advice columnist who falls for his
brother’s significant other. It sounds good on paper: who wouldn’t be intrigued
by the pairing of the brilliantly guileless Carell with Binoche, an actress of
uncommon range and depth? Though Life suffers from an uneasy mix of sitcom wackiness and sentimentality, director Peter Hedges has a clear love for the film’s characters, with most critics agreeing Carell and company overcome the weak script. At 60 percent, Dan looks to survive his mid (Tomatometer) Life crisis.
 





"Want to join my Lynne Cheney book discussion group?"


Wes Anderson‘s back, and with him comes the visual splendor and melancholy humor
for which he’s known. In
The Darjeeling Limited
,
Adrien Brody joins
Anderson regulars Owen Wilson and
Jason Schwartzman in the story three brothers
trekking across the Subcontinent in search of spiritual truth. The critics
aren’t all on board with Darjeeling; some find Anderson’s quirks
overwhelming and impersonal. But the majority says it’s engaging and funny in
that deadpan Wes Anderson way, with loads of quirky visual touches. At 66
percent on the Tomatometer, The Darjeeling Limited may be worth the trip.
(Check out our Wes Anderson Total Recall feature
here.)
 



“I’m telling you, Wes Anderson has never seen Harold and Maude!”


For those of you who yearn for even more insight into the twisted mind of
Jigsaw, you’re in luck: Saw IV hits theaters Friday. However, if you’re a
movie critic, you won’t be able to see it before the rest of us civilians, since
it wasn’t screened before release. Whoever correctly guesses the Tomatometer
will be the sharpest tool in the RT shed.
 




Scott Patterson wishing he were back in Stars Hollow.
 

Also opening this week in limited release:
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
,
a doc about the venerable folksinger/lefty activist, is at 92 percent on the
Tomatometer;
The Living and the Dead
, a psychological
horror film about
an unbalanced man caring for his sick mother, is at 89 percent;
Jimmy Carter
Man From Plains
,
Jonathan Demme‘s doc about the 39th president, is at 81
percent;
Sidney Lumet‘s


Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
, a family drama starring
Philip Seymour
Hoffman
, Marisa Tomei, and
Ethan Hawke, is at 79 percent;
The Island, a
Russian import about a soldier who takes refuge in a monastery, is at 71
percent;
Mr. Untouchable
, a doc about the rise and fall of drug kingpin
Nicky Barnes, is at 63 percent;
Lynch
, an examination of the man behind
Twin
Peaks
, is at 63 percent;
Black Irish
, a coming-of-age dysfunctional
family drama, is at 50 percent;
Lagerfeld Confidential
, a doc about the
fashion icon, is at 45 percent;
Music Within
, a drama about a Vietnam Vet
who fought for the rights of the disabled, is at 38 percent;
O Jerusalem
,
a dramatization of the establishment of Israel, is at 33 percent;
Slipstream
,
written and directed by Anthony Hopkins, is at 30 percent;
Bella
, about
an unconventional love story in New York City, is at 30 percent; and
Rails &
Ties
, a drama about a family struggling with illness starring
Kevin Bacon
and Marcia Gay Harden, is at 23 percent.
 





Seeger, with some random groupie.
 

Finally, props to
m_ioannidis for coming the closest to guessing
The
Comebacks
10 percent Tomatometer. And semi-props to
SplendidIsolation and
BlueStar 50 for coming the closest to guessing
Sarah Landon and the
Paranormal Hour
‘s zero percent score.

Recent Steve Carell Movies:
———————————–
24% — Evan Almighty (2007)
74% — Over the Hedge (2006)
92% — Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
83% — The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
51% — Melinda and Melinda (2005)

Saws:
—————–
27% — Saw III (2006)
35% — Saw II (2005)
46% — Saw (2004)

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