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The Week In Film, 10/3

My review of Blindness, Fernando Meirelles's dour, ill-conceived adaptation of the Jose Saramago novel is here. Just a few words on two other releases today:

The Ed Harris-directed (and -starring) Western Appaloosa is of the Open Range variety: Perfectly solid but not terribly memorable or ambitious. Harris is not much of a director, but he and Viggo Mortensen are more than adequate as hard-bitten marshals bringing order to a lawless town. Jeremy Irons is fine if somewhat miscast as the chief black hat, and Lance Henricksen is good, if nearly unrecognizable, as yet another gunslinger. Only Renee Zellweger seems truly out of place as the frightened, inconstant damsel. (At times she seems as irritated with her character as we are.) A by-the-numbers effort, but one without major missteps. Try to leave the theater quickly enough that you're spared the Ed-Harris-sung credit song, which follows one nearly as bad by Tom Petty.

The perfect career choices of Michael Cera ("Arrested Development," Superbad, Juno) had to encounter imperfection eventually, and they do in Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. It's not an actively bad movie, but that's in part because there's so very little to it. Cera is characteristically charming as Shy Awkward Guy Who Wouldn't Mind Getting A Little, but he's surrounded by a soundtrack pretending to be a romantic comedy. An important reminder that sweet, funny movies shouldn't forget to be funny.

--Christopher Orr