twilightI just read that Twilight made $35 million on its opening day alone, on its way to god knows how much for the opening weekend. Wow. This really is another Harry Potter, with a more narrowly focused audience (namely, girls aged 12 to 99).

This is as good a movie as could be made from Stephenie Meyer’s novel. The source material is weak as literature and thin in plot but strong on personality and heavy with the dreamy innocence of teenage romance. And that describes the movie as well.

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Synecdoche, New York

synecdocheI’m really not sure how to review this film. I definitely know I’m not yet ready to rank it. I feel like I need to see it at least one more time before really grasping it, but the prospect of seeing it again kind of scares me. I’m only halfway kidding when I say this is either the best film of the year or the worst.

One thing is certain. Charlie Kaufman has created a work of ferociously imaginative art — one that makes his previous flights of fancy seem almost conventional. I consider Kaufman one of the few true geniuses working in film today, and by far the best screenwriter in the business, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and work with him on this one. This is a dense and layered text that demands examination, not the sort of thing you watch once and file between Quantum of Solace and Kung-Fu Panda.

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Quantum of Solace

quantumPut me down as a major fan of the James Bond reboot that started with 2006’s Casino Royale — the Bourne-ification of the series, if you will. The new film, Quantum of Solace, owes even more to the Jason Bourne series than the previous one, and you’ll get no complaints from me.

Gone are the invisible cars, jet packs and watches that double as machine guns. Gone, too, are villains with dastardly plans to cut the world in half from outer space with a laser or wipe out the planet’s human population with a virus. The new villains are in it simply for the money, and Bond battles them using simply his brawn and his wits.

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Rachel Getting Married

rachelI have an excellent track record with movies I’ve watched outside of Florida. On business trips the past two years I’ve seen the excellent trio of Once, I’m Not There and Pan’s Labyrinth. And while in Chicago for a wedding in 2006, Alex and I caught a late screening of The Devil Wears Prada, a wonderful surprise.

Well, the trend continues. On a trip last week to Washington D.C. for another friend’s wedding, Alex and I caught Jonathan Demme’s latest film, Rachel Getting Married, and it’s among the best films I’ve seen this year.

(Warning: Minor spoilers follow)

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Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Shortly after this movie ended, Alex said to me “That’s the first movie I’ve seen since I was a teenager that made me want to be a teenager again.”

I know exactly what she means. The film is smart without being pretentious, funny without being absurd and touching without being overly sentimental. Mostly it’s a good time spent with two of the most endearing young actors I’ve seen in years, and ultimately that’s what makes it a real success.

Set on a wild night in New York City, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist follows Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, two high school seniors with a shared love of indie music and, eventually, each other.

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