If you see one of these, let me know.

An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis

            What's a movie critic to do? More to the point, what are you to do? If you are scanning your local papers looking for a good movie to see this weekend, exactly where can you go? We'll get to that in a minute. First, consider my options for this week's review. New releases: A Nightmare on Elm Street - in which a dead child killer haunts the dreams of teenagers. Furry Vengeance - where computer assisted animals trying to protect their land from a real estate developer. No.

            Now in multiplexes, here are more that I have resisted because of a personal aversion to being insulted: Clash of the Titans, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Kick Ass, Hot Tub Machine, The Last Song, and the appropriately titled The Losers. I won't insult you in turn by explaining why I won't go to movies with these titles.

            So back to the question of how to enrich your weekend - and mine. We have two choices. Going to the video store or seeing one of three good movies now showing that I have seen and so, probably, have you. The video store leads to the couch, interruptions, ringing telephones, bathroom and refrigerator breaks, all mood and momentum breakers. Three solid recommendations, all reviewed here before, may well give you even more fun the second time around.

            Ghost Writer - Pierce Brosnan plays a British prime minister modeled on Tony Blair who is writing his memoirs with ghost writer Ewan McGregor. After the PM is accused of delivering terrorists to CIA for torture leading to a world court indictment, we are treated to a multitude of visual and spoken clues to the mysteries of a slew of betrayals. Acting is fine, suspense is high. A good bet for all ages.

            The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - This Swedish movie is a terrific tale of the search by two investigative reporters for the killer of multiple victims among multiple suspects. Be warned that this one is full of violent imagery of murder and sexual abuse, either received or given. We watch good actors playing monstrous characters as our heroes search them out. Noomi Rapace is dazzling as the computer whiz.

            City Island - is the single best movie experience I have had so far this year. A comedy with a big, warm heart, built around the Rizzos, a family living on City Island, the Bronx. The whole gang is intertwined in its own secrets and lies. The wonderful twist here is that every secret and every lie is benign. No mean-spirited character crosses the screen. Julianna Margulies is a hot tempered howl, Andy Garcia, an endearingly sweet soul. In the cast that supports them, not one is a lemon. The casting director has managed to match actors and roles perfectly. In fact I would say happily that this is nearly a perfect movie.

            If you still would rather see one of the others I mentioned in paragraph one, please let me know what I missed.


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