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By |2007-06-28T09:00:00-04:00June 28th, 2007|Entertainment|

July 2, 2007

NEW THIS WEEK:

A Mighty Heart

Journalist Marianne Pearl (Angelina Jolie) is pregnant and about to leave Pakistan to await the birth of her son when, on their last day in the country, her “Wall Street Journal” reporter husband, Daniel (Dan Futterman), leaves to meet a source and never returns. This fact-based drama recreates the events surrounding Daniel Pearl’s 2002 kidnapping and beheading at the hands of Islamic terrorists from Marianne’s point-of-view. The film’s strength is in its documentary-like style as it follows the investigation, but John Orloff’s screenplay offers nothing new to anyone who is already familiar with the tragedy. More fatally, the story never connects in any emotionally resonant way, and neither does the miscast Jolie, who is too self-conscious to sink into this woman’s skin. B-

Kinsey Scale: 1.5 (No one asks her about it much anymore, but Jolie has always been open about her bisexuality. Her breakthrough role was a real-life lesbian supermodel in “Gia,” and she played the gay titular ruler’s mother in “Alexander.” Futterman wrote “Capote”; he was the son in “The Birdcage” and a grieving gay man in “Urbania”; and he had a recurring role on “Will & Grace.” Among their co-stars, Will Patton played a closeted queer killer in “No Way Out,” and openly gay Denis O’Hare counts among his stage credits a supporting role in “Cabaret” and a Tony-winning turn in “Take Me Out.”)

Evan Almighty

Freshman Congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) vowed to change the world if elected. Senior Congressman Long (John Goodman) takes that to mean that Baxter will help him ram through a bill that would destroy national parkland. But God (Morgan Freeman) has other ideas, ordering Baxter to make good on his campaign promise by building an ark to prepare for a coming flood. The animals that gather, two by two, around Baxter are pretty cute, and that constitutes the sole highlight of this lame comedy. Though clearly aimed at Christian moviegoers, the inane, simplistic story – a follow-up to 2003’s “Bruce Almighty” – and the portrayal of the Almighty as jovial, but mean-spirited are insults to that target audience. What humor there is mostly falls flat; even the usually hilarious Carell is not funny. D

Kinsey: 1 (Carell was the gay Proust scholar in “Little Miss Sunshine” and Uncle Arthur in “Bewitched.” Among his co-stars, Wanda Sykes appeared on “Will & Grace”; John Michael Higgins played a queer dog fancier in “Best in Show”; and Molly Shannon has multiple gay-themed credits, including roles in “Happiness” and “Will & Grace.”)

1408

Novelist Mike Enslin (John Cusack) loses his beloved daughter and then abandons his interest in writing about living people, choosing to focus on the paranormal in hopes of contacting his dead child. But his resulting professional skepticism about ghosts gets turned on its head more than a few times when he checks into room 1408 of a very “Shining”-like hotel. From that moment on, he becomes a big believer in evil, while audiences will become believers in Cusack’s ability to convey the level of acting required in a genuinely scary movie. Assisted by some truly creepy atmosphere and freaked-out jolts, he turns what could have been a by-the-numbers disposable haunted-house film (adapted from a Stephen King story) into a really fun ride into the dark.

Grade: B+
Kinsey Scale: 1 (Co-star Mary McCormack appeared in “The Broken Hearts Club.”)

ALSO IN THEATERS:

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Children – the target audience of this PG-rated live-action cartoon – will enjoy themselves quite a bit, and parents won’t be too put out by the experience. Here’s hoping the inevitable third film delivers the goods. C+

Hostel: Part II

If you can accept a gore-filled horror film with aspirations to something more than simple-minded brutality, then this bloody fantasy is an artistic success, more than just the sum of its chopped-up parts. B
{BOLD
Knocked Up}

It’s a no-holds-barred adult comedy that maintains a sense of genuine sweetness amidst the R-rated humor, making it the best American comedy of the year so far. A

La Vie en Rose

Director Olivier Dahan meticulously recreates the time periods he does deign to cover, made more evocative by the real-life Piaf’s passionate vocals on the soundtrack. But mostly the drama succeeds because of the virtually unrecognizable Cotillard’s sensational, moving, and completely committed performance. B+

Mr. Brooks

Demi Moore is terrible, and the cop is a far more unbelievable (and unlikable) character than the killer. The movie is a missed opportunity – what could have been brilliant surrenders to mediocrity. B-

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.