Movies

The One Movie You Should See This Week

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Matt Damon runs for office, and the '80s return, again. Who gets your ticket money?

The Adjustment Bureau

Director: George Nolfi
Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery

I caught a screening of this latest Philip K. Dick adaptation last week, and I'm here to tell you, it's just about the goofiest thing I've seen in ages. And it's not just the hats, although rest assured, the fedoras sported by John Slattery and his bureau of adjusters are not merely fashion statements. No, they're actually important plot devices, along with magical doorways that defy the laws of physics and interactive maps predictive of future events. Matt Damon is an up-and-coming politician whose career is derailed by a childish prank. While rebuilding his credibility for a future senate run, Damon romances a dancer he seems destined to be with (an effervescent Emily Blunt) and stumbles onto a wide-ranging conspiracy perpetuated by Slattery and his fellow hats. A man-against-the-system thriller, a meditation on free will vs. fate, and a highly arbitrary and loopy sci-fi adventure, The Adjustment Bureau certainly isn't boring, but it's awfully hard to take seriously. I think I would have liked it better had it been made in the '70s and starred Charlton Heston, but it's a hard movie to hate, despite its flaws.

Take Me Home Tonight

Director: Michael Dowse
Cast: Topher Grace, Teresa Palmer, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Bob Odenkirk, Michael Biehn, Michelle Trachtenberg, Demetri Martin, Michael Ian Black

The '80s are the comedy gift that keeps on giving, although you can't accuse Take Me Home Tonight of cashing in on the likes of Hot Tub Time Machine and Adventureland, since it's been sitting on the shelf for more than three years. Topher Grace stars as an MIT graduate-turned-slacker who poses as a Wall Street whiz kid in order to win over the girl of his dreams. (Watching the trailer, I could have sworn said dreamgirl was Kristen Stewart, but no, it's an incredible simulation named Teresa Palmer, who at least seems better at smiling.) A handful of reliable comedic talents are on hand, including Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, and Bob Odenkirk, but much like the other romantic comedy featuring a longtime sitcom star opening today, Happythankyoumoreplease, this looks very familiar and, well, sitcom-ish.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cast: Thanapat Saisaymar, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Matthieu Ly

The latest from Thai director and critical darling Apichatpong Weerasethakul took top honors at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and although I may be forgetting something, I believe it's the first movie featuring laser-eyed monkey ghosts to do so. The story has something to do with a man dying of kidney failure who receives deathbed visits from the spirit world, but even the director admits that the plot can't really be described in linear terms. That's typical of Weerasethakul's work, and while I'll be the first to admit that most of his Tropical Malady sailed straight over my head, the trailer for Uncle Boonmee is intriguingly creepy. Judging from the early reviews, it's all about inducing a dreamlike state, imprinting indelible images on your brain, and indulging in catfish-on-princess erotica. Sounds like a one-of-a-kind experience, which is something this movie year has been sorely lacking so far.

The One Movie You Should See This Week: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives