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Holiday Weekend Update: Good and Plenty

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 21, 2008 at 5:40AM

There's plenty to see in theaters this weekend.
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Snowang2There's plenty to see in theaters this weekend.

While it's ingeniously improvised by likable actors at a real poker tournament, The Grand is not as funny as the last mock doc by writer-director Zak Penn, The Incident at Loch Ness. The wily Werner Herzog is the funniest thing in both movies.

My recent Judd Apatow poll shows Pineapple Express leading in want-to-see over his three other comedies, including this weekend's well-advertised opener, Drillbit Taylor. Pineapple Express's director, the usually darkly dramatic David Gordon Green, has in release Snow Angels, which played at Sundance 2007. It's well worth seeing before it disappears. So is Gus Van Sant's brilliant, stark Cannes entry Paranoid Park.

Paranoidpark

The moody period noir thriller Married Life is marred by miscasting: the estimable Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan are both in love with the 20-something femme fatale Rachel McAdams. Excellent actors all. But yucky. I preferred AMC's similar but more stylish Mad Men.

Counterfeiters

Among the Oscar-season holdovers, Oscar-winner The Counterfeiters and animation nominee Persepolis are hanging in with great WOM. I caught The Band's Visit last weekend, a small gem which was ineligible as Israel's Oscar entry because its Egyptians and Israelis communicate in English.

Persepolis_04

And of course, the delightful The Bank Job is showing legs.

[Photos: Snow Angels, Paranoid Park, The Counterfeiters, Persepolis]

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: Box Office, Directors, Genres, Winter, Independents, comedy, Animation


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.