This week's movies offer a little magic, a nail-biting phone call, a chance at love, and a reunion with old friends.
The closest thing to a big-studio opening this week is "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," a hit-and-miss comedy starring Steve Carell as an arrogant Vegas magician who hits the skids when his act and his partnership with his childhood friend, Anton (Steve Buscemi) becomes out-of-date. There's some good laughs here, particularly when Jim Carrey unleashes his id as an over-the-top street magician (think David Blaine meets Criss Angel), but Carell is miscast as the boorish and clueless Burt.
"The Call" is, for the first hour, a crackerjack thriller that stars Halle Berry as an L.A. 911 dispatcher who fields a call from a kidnapped teen (Abigail Breslin) trapped in a car trunk. Director Brad Anderson ("Transsiberian," "The Machinist") keeps the tension building nicely, until Richard D'Ovidio's script goes completely off the rails in the final half-hour. (The review will be posted online shortly.)
The week's best movie is "56 Up," the latest in director Michael Apted's ongoing documentary series that follows a disparate group of Britons every seven years. The subjects have fairly well settled into their lives, but it's still fascinating to catch up with them and to hear them talk about politics, family, and the strange effect that being under Apted's microscope has had on them.
Lastly, there's "Yossi," a tender character study from Israeli director Eytan Fox, and a sequel to Fox's 2002 gay drama "Yossi & Jagger." That earlier film told of an Israeli army officer, Yossi (Ohad Knoller), in an affair with one of his soldiers who is killed in combat. In the new film, Yossi (still played by Knoller) is a cardiologist who goes on holiday and meets a young soldier (Oz Yehavi) who reminds him of his deceased lover. Knoller's sensitive performance makes this one worth watching.