Film Clips: This weekend's movie openings and more July 30 2010

Life is big this weekend with the death of a younger brother in Charlie St. Cloud, a friend in Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinski and potentially all of humanity Countdown to Zero. But you can always put serious on the side with Dinner for Schmucks.


  • Courtesy Paramount Pictures
  • Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in Dinner for Schmucks

CHARLIE ST. CLOUD 2 stars (PG-13) After a tragic accident, Charlie (Zach Efron) realizes he can communicate with his deceased younger brother Sam (Charlie Tahan). As time progresses, this relationship becomes strained as Charlie falls for Tess (Amanda Crew), a young sailor with aspirations to sail around world. When Tess is loss at sea, only Charlie and his special ability can save her, even at the cost of breaking a longtime pact with his brother. Efron steps into the big shoes of a romantic lead in the dark, sappy drama. However, his acting chops can’t keep this uninspiring and weak story afloat. — Ed Adams

COCO CHANEL AND IGOR STRAVINKSY 2 stars (R ) The second biopic in a year about Coco Chanel, Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky focuses on the heated attraction between the French fashion icon (Anna Mouglalis) and the Russian composer (Mads Mikkelsen). A fan of Stravinsky's ever since witnessing the riotous reception of his The Rite Of Spring in 1913, the two become reacquainted seven years later. She invites him and his family, including a sickly wife (Yelena Morozova), to install at her villa in Garches, and a kind of primal, practically dialogue-free, love affair ensues. Unfortunately, what could have been a deliciously fascinating peek at two of the 20th-century's most revered creative geniuses turns out to be a drag. — Debbie Michaud

COUNTDOWN TO ZERO 4 stars (NR) Just when you thought you were safe from global thermonuclear catastrophe, this documentary offers an unnerving reminder of the dangers in the post-cold war world. Director Lucy Walker reveals the ease with which motivated terrorists could build a bomb and smuggle it into the United States, and as well as hair-raising examples of nuclear near-launches from the past. Until the no-nukes appeal in its last 10 minutes, Countdown to Zero maintains a relatively bipartisan agenda in an era of Michael Moore documentaries. — Holman

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS 2 stars (PG-13) Tim (Paul Rudd), an aspiring financial exec accidentally invites Barry (Steve Carell), an odd yet clueless IRS employee and taxidermy enthusiast to attend an exclusive dinner where the invitees are mocked and scrutinized by partygoers in order to impress his boss and move up the ladder. As funny and fuzzy as some moments in this film are, Schmucks derails itself by just going too far — never knowing when to pull in the reins with the sheer onslaught of buffoonery they cram into every crevice of the story. The slow build up to the climatic dinner sequence is laden with unnecessary diversions that deliver some chuckles and a couple of laughable moments. Depending on your tolerance for off-color humor, Schmucks will either have you laughing heartily throughout or just checking your watch often for this dinner party to just end. — Ed Adams

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (Not Rated) It's no joke: Dutch director Tom Six really has made a horror story about a pair of airhead Americans who stumbles across a deranged surgeon who once specialized in separating conjoined twins. To describe his obsession with creating a "human centipede" is to risk putting you off your feed.Strong-stomached critics assert that on the technical level, it’s a competent film, and the Plaza Theatre has booked it for the bravest moviegoers among us.

GREAT DIRECTORS (Not Rated) A tribute to ten of the world's most "acclaimed, provocative, and individualistic" filmmakers, the documentary offers a first-hand look at the art of cinema from interviews of the greats.