The new year is always a weird time for film releases around here. It's not blockbuster season, so the only explosions you see tend to be in films deemed so bad by their studios that they get pushed to a time when half the country is snowed-in. It's also past the Oscar deadline, though, so all those studio-backed weepies and period dramas have already rolled through town.
That leaves deeply marginal studio fare and whatever we get on the independent wire. Hence, this week we have Gwyneth Paltrow as a honkytonk lush and Nicolas Cage as an ex-crusader witch-hunter.
Thankfully, we also have Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor going totally gay for each other, a documentary on the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge and a locally-shot horror flick about split personalities and statutory rape. That last one's one-night-only, kiddos.
Shot in the Methow Valley, this horror flick features regional actors in a plot about a high school teacher who just wants to be left alone so he can have a nice little love affair with one of his students. But he has an evil twin brother! Or maybe just a dissociative identity disorder! So people all around town start showing up dead. At Magic Lantern, single engagement, Jan. 12 (MB) Not Rated | SEE STORY
Backstage drama at the honkytonk! When a country star (Gwyneth Paltrow) gets out of rehab and mounts a comeback with the help of her husband-manager (played by Tim McGraw, so you know this is gen-yew-ine), a competition develops with a fresh young thing (Leighton Meester) and a singing cowboy on the rise (Garrett Hedlund). (MB) Rated PG 13 | SHOWTIMES
ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE
Revisit the killing fields with one of Cambodia’s top investigative journalists, Thet Sambath. Having lost his own family, Thet attempts to account for the genocide on both the national and personal levels. Through unprecedented interviews with killers, including a top Khmer Rouge official, Sambath’s powerful documentary film helps us understand how such massacres happen and how a country can move toward reconciliation. At Magic Lantern (CF) Unrated | SHOWTIMES
I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS
Why do homosexuals leave their conventional middle-class homes and their god-fearing wives just so they can lead lives of duplicity and debauchery and get themselves thrown into prison and find new lovers? In other words, why are gay men having all the fun? Jim Carrey has answers, and he’ll provide them just as soon as he’s done cuddling with Ewan McGregor. Playing a gay con man, Carrey discovers that staying in the closet is a kind of con game, too. At AMC 20 (MB) Rated R | SHOWTIMES
SEASON OF THE WITCH
Take the black capes and dimly lit rooms of Nicolas Cage’s summer blockbuster The Sorcerer’ Apprentice and exchange them for ancient magicians, medieval monks and an accused plague-infested witch — the result is this Crusader action flick … and yet another strange career choice for Cage. (CF) Rated PG-13 | SHOWTIMES