I feel like I haven't seen Tim Robbins in a while. You? I mean, he was off doing that war play of his, and he popped up fairly memorably as a grizzled, nutty-like-a-Payday foil in War of the Worlds, but it seems like Mystic River was the last picture to give him something he could really chew on - and that was three years ago. Enter Catch a Fire, perhaps? Trailers look interesting, particularly the bits with Robbins plying a durned impressive South African accent (compare with DiCaprio in spots for Blood Diamond ... hmm ... ). Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Quiet American) directs Robbins (a cop) and Antwone Fisher's Derek Luke (a revolutionary) in a terrorism-themed film set in the South Africa of the Apartheid '80s.
Umm ... Saw III opens this weekend, too. I just can't get over how that puppet-thing's head looks like some sort of oversized, papier-mâché Pez dispenser made by a half-blind, hard-drinking eighth-grade art class. Would a tiny, self-propelled puppet terrify me if it came into my bedroom of its own volition? Yes. But so would an onion-and-poppyseed bagel.
Conversations With God is based on the Neale Donald Walsch books of the same name; if you want to go, don't read our reviewer's take on it (page 24) - he says it's hokum-heavy and substance-light, and he may hurt your feelings. Just sayin' - fair warning.
Death of a President, a mock-doc by a British filmmaking team that had its first North American screening Sunday at the Austin Film Festival, is presumably just as controversial as it sounds - it's a hypothetical look at what happens after President Bush is assassinated in Chicago. Regal theaters reportedly declined to show it, but it's at the Bijou this Friday.
Regal didn't pass on Yimou Zhang's Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, about a Japanese fisherman who travels to China in order to fulfill the dream of his estranged and dying son. Get yer cryin' hat on.
Call your mom. She misses you.
Local premiere dates for limited-release films are tentative and can change at the last minute. Please check your local theater listings to confirm showtimes.