Ryan Gosling is one of Hollywood's greatest surprises. He's shaping up to be one of today's few young actors with true talent. It's no exaggeration to say that he is the Clive Owen on this side of the Atlantic. At least that's what he shows in this game of sorts, a throwback to Clarice Starling chasing after Hannibal Lecter. The actor portrays a detective who goes after a man who killed his wife, but gets away with it due to a technicality.
It's the year's most bizarre starring lineup: Nicolas Cage, Jessica Biel and Julianne Moore (whose idea was this anyway?). Cage, who won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, plays a magician tormented by a secret: He can see the future a few minutes ahead of time. It's an interesting premise, based on a Philip K. Dick's story. Cage, regaining his footing as an action hero, could save the world from a nuclear bomb. Fine, but this hodgepodge casting is outrageous.
Laura Linney is the glue that holds this mystery together that takes place in the small town for which the movie is named. The actress portrays a housewife who stands up to her family in order to find out about the murder of a young girl found by her husband during a fishing trip. Her acting, in and of itself, is worth the price of admission. For those who like intimate, personal films, this is this weekend's pick.
This is one of last year's greatest films. More than a story, director Todd Field (In The Bedroom), gives us his detailed, non-judgmental observations of the human zoo that suburbs can become when something threatens its residents' false sense of morality. Kate Winslet shows exceptional vulnerability as an adulterer whose fault seems greater than that of the pedophile (Jackie Earle Haley) everybody criticizes.
Nick Cassavettes directs this urban portrait of the Jesse James Hollywood case (played by Emile Hirsch, under the name Johnny Truelove), a tale of a clever drug dealer who became one of the youngest men on the FBI's Most Wanted list. This movie, a combination of great technique and an adrenaline-inducing pace that at times evokes Thirteen by Catherine Hardwicke, has a fabulous cast, in which Justin Timberlake stands out. The director manages to go beyond a biography, critiquing the different social classes and the problems they encounter when they come face to face.
Our moms always warned us: "Never give rides to strangers." But since characters never listen to motherly advice in movies, this fun remake of a classic 1986 film is proof that mother is always right. Bloody, sensationalist, scandalous and gory fun, with no further agenda than being entertaining. Don't say we didn't tell you so.