opening this week
THE AMERICAN Everything about this film says “confident, classy thriller.” The story is about a handsome, well-dressed American assassin (George Clooney) in Belgium who has run-ins with women and grapples with God. The posters’ design recalls North By Northwest. So why is it coming out in the post-summer-blockbuster-season dumping ground? Opens Wednesday, Sept. 1. Rated R. 95 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
AVATAR: SPECIAL EDITION 3D One criticism that I sure didn’t have about Avatar was that it was too short. In fact, I thought it was about an hour too long. Yet here we have an extended edition with additional scenes that push the film closer to the three-hour mark. For those who don’t know, James Cameron’s sci-fi adventure is about an ex-soldier (Sam Worthington) who uses a genetically engineered body to infiltrate a race of giant blue beings and help the military tap into their planet’s natural resources. Rated PG-13. 171 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe. (Robert B. Ker)
CAIRO TIME Lonely Juliette Grant (Patricia Clarkson) travels to Cairo to visit her husband. While there, she has an unexpected affair with his best friend, Tareq Khalifa (Alexander Siddig). No word on whether this love affair comes with a side of eating or praying. Rated PG. 90 minutes. CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
THE EXTRA MAN Kevin Kline is one of our greatest actors, and he acts up a storm here as a rent-a-gent escorting rich women. Paul Dano is sweet and touching as his sexually confused roommate. But directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (co-directors of American Splendor) flounder seeking a story line for Jonathan Ames’ novel. And John C. Reilly wears out his welcome fast as an eccentric (well, they’re all eccentric) neighbor with a grating falsetto. This could have been called “Desperately Seeking Whimsy.” It’s not without funny moments, and Kline and Dano try their best, but the movie never connects. Rated R. 108 minutes.
The Screen, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)
THE LAST EXORCISM Despite the title, this is not an extension of the film franchise that was spawned by the 1973 film The Exorcist. This movie, directed by Daniel Stamm, uses the same fake-documentary approach as The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. A film crew follows Southern minister Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) on a routine exorcism, which — spoiler! — turns out to be the last one he will ever attempt. Rated PG-13. 87 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
PEEPLI LIVE Here’s a comedy about suicide among impoverished farmers in rural India. Two brothers joke about taking advantage of a scheme in which the government aids the families of farmers who kill themselves. But, alas, the joke goes too far, and one of them must follow through. A media circus, social reform, and apparently laughs ensue. In Hindi with subtitles. Not rated. 105 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
THE OATH The second of director Laura Poitras’ projected trilogy of documentaries about the aftermath of 9/11, The Oath shows us America through the eyes of a former Osama bin Laden bodyguard and reformed jihadist, Abu Jandal, brother-in-law of Salim Hamdan, plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. It opens a fascinating window into the minds of the people who hate us, apparently not so much for our freedom as for our belief that we are the center of the universe. They, of course, believe Islam is the center of the universe. It’s a tricky landscape on which to find common ground. Not rated. 96 minutes. In English and Arabic with subtitles. The Screen, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) See review, Page 50.
TAKERS Matt Dillon, Hayden Christensen, Idris Elba, Jay Hernandez, Chris Brown, and T.I. headline a somewhat multicultural cast in this story about guys who take whatever they want. How rude! From the trailers it looks like we can expect lots of explosions, clichés from bad hip-hop songs, and line readings that are comparable to the acting in porno flicks. Rated PG-13. 107 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Not reviewed)