Opening This Week
More movies opening in theaters Aug. 26.
Directed by Olivier Megaton
Zoe Saldana gives an acrobatic performance that makes the overcooked material watchable, if not entirely enjoyable, in this nonstop actioner from French writer-producer Luc Besson. Wearing very little, the star races between stunts from Bogota to Chicago. When the film opened in Paris, Jordan Mintzer remarked that director Olivier Megaton's "mise-en-scène is often as subtle as his last name sounds."
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (FilmDistrict)
Directed by Troy Nixey
In this Guillermo del Toro-written and produced film, the Mexican fabulist remembers what scared him as a 9-year-old watching a telefilm of the same name -- and he wants to see if he can have the same effect on grown-ups today with a new version. The film plays like a dry run for Pan's Labyrinth, Kirk Honeycutt wrote when the film played at the L.A. Film Festival, but the movie's tiny evil creatures, unfortunately, smack more of Gremlins. "The title then becomes all too prophetic: You don't need to be afraid of this dark."
Our Idiot Brother (The Weinstein Co.)
Directed by Jesse Peretz
The movie was called My Idiot Brother when it premiered at this year's Sundance, but everything else remains the same: Paul Rudd still plays a brother who sold dope to a cop -- in uniform. His sisters are played by the talented and lovely Emily Mortimer, Zooey Deschanel and Elizabeth Banks. Yet John DeFore worried that everyone plays "a part slightly (sometimes more than slightly) duller and less likable than his or her usual fare."
Higher Ground (Sony Pictures Classics)\
Directed by Vera Farmiga
Farmiga brings the same meticulous craftsmanship and passion for truth found in her acting to her debut as a director. When it debuted at Sundance this year, Honeycutt wrote that Higher Ground was "a rare American film that explores the born-again experience without mockery or condescension."
Brighton Rock (IFC)
Directed by Rowan Joffe
The writer-director adapts Graham Greene's famed 1938 novel on his familiar theme of good versus evil to a 1964 gang war between Mods and Rockers in the English seacoast town. When it premiered at last year's Toronto festival, Ray Bennett found that Joffe, a screenwriter making his directing debut, brought Greene's story to the screen "with little of the writer's subtlety and too much reliance on a loud quasi-religious
Also Opening Aug. 26
Circumstance (Roadside Attractions), directed by Maryam Keshavarz and starring Sarah Kazemy and Nikohl Boosheri
Chasing Madoff (Cohen Media Group), directed by Jeff Prosserman
The Caller (Alcove Entertainment), directed by Matthew Parkhill
Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure (Tribeca Film), directed by Matthew Bate