This Week's Movie Action

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White Material
  • White Material

The action-thriller genre is responsible for so many dumb movies that when two smart ones show up in as many weeks, people ought to stop and take notice. Last week brought Tony Scott's Unstoppable, with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine as rail workers trying to catch a runaway train; in this week's issue we have a Critic's Choice for Paul Haggis's The Next Three Days, about a Pittsburgh college professor (Russell Crowe) who ventures outside the law to spring his wife (Elizabeth Banks) from prison.

The other Critic's Choice this week is for Claire Denis' French drama White Material, playing all week at the Music Box. Isabelle Huppert stars as the French owner of a coffee plantation in a fictional, postcolonial African nation; order is breaking down as the country succumbs to civil war, but Huppert refuses to leave until her crop can be harvested. (Bad decision.)

Check out the new issue for capsule reviews of: Boxing Gym, the latest release from legendary documentary maker Frederick Wiseman; Budrus, a documentary about a Palestinian village amid the Israeli occupation; The Damned, a Spanish drama about students in Argentina excavating unmarked graves in the jungle; Four Boxes, a low-budget thriller in which two liquidators cleaning out a house discover a webcam showing an Islamic terrorist at work; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1, the penultimate entry in the fantasy franchise; Monsters, a sci-fi thriller in which alien life forms have taken over the northern half of Mexico; Skyline, a sci-fi thriller in which alien life forms are taking over downtown Los Angeles; Samson & Delilah, an Australian drama about two young aborigines who decide to try their luck in the big city; and Today's Special, an indie restaurant comedy written by and starring Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi.

Best repertory this week: Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987), screening Wednesday at Doc Films; Ousmane Sembene's Moolaade (2004), showing Sunday at DuSable Museum of African American History; Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, screening Monday at Symphony Hall with live accompaniment by the CSO; and D.W. Griffith's True Heart Susie (1919), screening Sunday at Doc.



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