Film Clips: The Beaver, Priest and more

This weekend's openings


  • Scott Garfield © 2010 Sony Pictures Digital Inc.
  • Priest (Paul Bettany, left) finishes off Familiar #1 (Josh Wingate) in Screen Gems' sci-fi action thriller PRIEST

THE BEAVER 2 stars (PG-13) Troubled movie star Mel Gibson delivers a fascinating performance as a suburban family man who finds relief from his depression through a grubby beaver puppet with a cockney accent. The Beaver starts with a premise ideal for satirizing suburban malaise and corporate conformity, but director Jodie Foster (who also plays Gibson’s wife) treats it as a near-humorless teachable moment about mental illness. Despite Gibson’s hard work, The Beaver dams up too many potential jokes and deep emotions. — Curt Holman

BLANK CITY (NR) This documentary provides an oral history of New York’s artistic underground during the 1970s and early 1980s, when crime ran rampant and creativity flowered. Interviewees include directors Jim Jarmusch and John Waters, actor-writer-director Steve Buscemi, Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Hip Hop legend Fab 5 Freddy. May 13-19, Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.

BRIDESMAIDS 3 Stars (R) BFFs Annie (Kristen Wiig) and Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) lifelong sisterly bond is put to the test when Lillian gets engaged and asks Annie to be her maid of honor. The down-and-out thirtysomething Annie’s patience is put to the test when she tries to wrangle Lillian’s hare-brained band of bridesmaids. Wiig can do no wrong, except in her overly earnest, “you don’t know me” scenes with her Irish cop love interest (Chris O'Dowd). Bridesmaids'' is as funny as you’d hope a film co-written by Wiig and executive produced by Judd Apatow would be, and even more honest. — Debbie Michaud
EVERYTHING MUST GO 4 stars (R) An alcoholic sales executive (Will Ferrell) lives on his front lawn after his never-seen wife kicks out him and their stuff and changes the locks. Ferrell mutes his flailing comedic style with remarkable effectiveness in this fine adaptation of a quiet Raymond Carver short story. Despite the outlandish premise and slapstick moments, Everything Must Go uses alcoholism to represent a more pervasive sorrow in contemporary America. — Holman

FORKS OVER KNIVES (PG) This documentary examines how to change American eating habits to enjoy the health benefits plant-based diets as opposed to meat lovers’ meals.

HESHER (R) TJ's life is torn apart when his mother dies in a car accident. Living with his elderly grandmother and a father who solves his problems with pills, TJ's situation could not get more strange. That's when Hesher comes in. This tattooed young man with long greasy hair takes up residence in the family garage uninvited and brings his sense of anarchy along. Natalie Portman plays the opposing role of caring young grocery clerk who steps in to become TJ's protector.

MEEK'S CUTOFF 4 stars (PG) Director Kelly Reichardt's Oregon Trail period piece follows a wagon team gone astray from the path. The ensemble of travelers — played by Michelle Williams and Paul Dano, among others — are led by a bearded guide named Meek (Bruce Greenwood). The journey continues, day after day. Meek's Cutoff is a film about being lost, not about finding the path. This subtle but daring narrative choice distinguishes Meek's Cutoff from clichéd Westerns and makes for a compelling film about a few lost people wandering in the wilderness. — Wyatt Williams

PRIEST (PG-13) Paul Bettany stars in this apocalyptic thriller about a Warrior Priest who defends the last remnants of humanity against encroaching vampires. It’s based on a Korean comic book reportedly inspired by a video game, and is in 3-D. It clearly represents all of the best trends in today’s Hollywood, if this were Opposite Day.

ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979) 3 stars (PG) Roger Corman produced this scruffy but entertaining throwback to the rock ’n’ roll teen flicks of the 1970s, casting The Ramones as themselves and P.J. Soles as an adorable young fan. Watch for exploding mice. The evening also features art from Dave Cook, Derek Yaniger, R.Land, Kevin Rej, Chris Hamer, Josh May, Matthew Manning, Shane Morton, Scotty Mominee and Trish Chenard. Art Opening and a Movie, Fri., May 13, midnight; Sat., May 14, 9:30 p.m. $8. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.''