Eastern PromisesOkay, now, both sources I’m using for movie release information (IMDb and FirstShowing.net) say that David Cronenberg‘s Eastern Promises is opening in wide release this week. I don’t know how wide “wide” is, though, since it isn’t playing in Austin or St. Louis, and is only in one theatre in Dallas. Still. The other openings this week don’t appeal to me, so I’m going to highlight it anyway. Eastern Promises concerns a midwife (Naomi Watts), who is drawn into the underbelly of the Russian mafia when she tries to discover the background of a teenage mother who died in labor. It’s also got Viggo Mortensen as one of the Russians she encounters. The last Cronenberg-Mortensen outing was A History of Violence, which I didn’t really understand when I watched it because I kept being distracted, but is pretty close to the top of my rewatch list. Based on the buzz I’ve read out of the Toronto Film Festival, Eastern Promises more than delivers. Speaking of TIFF, is now a good time to point out how much I want to be a professional film critic and hang out at film festivals? I thought it was. I’ve been salivating over the TIFF dispatches. Anyway, here’s the trailer for Eastern Promises, for whenever it ends up coming out near you. (And here’s a good review from the New York Times–I’m so glad A.O. Scott is back; I missed him when he was on vacation a month or so ago).

Also coming out this week in wide release:

And in limited release:

  • Across the Universe – I’ve mentioned Julie Taymor‘s 1960s Beatles-inflected musical drama before, and the mixed reviews coming out of TIFF are pretty much what I expected. I’m still hoping to like the film, though.

  • In the Valley of Elah – I severely disliked director Paul Haggis‘ last film Crash (yes, the one that won the Oscar; don’t care, I hated it), but his new one, about a man (Tommy Lee Jones) investigating the disappearance of his just-back-from-Iraq son, looks rather good (trailer)
  • King of California – I’m not always a huge Michael Douglas fan, but this trailer cracked me up. Hadn’t heard of the movie until I watched it, so I have no idea what the buzz is like. (trailer)
  • Silk – This Keira Knightley picture snuck up on me! Also has Michael Pitt, in a 19th century story about a young man going to Japan for the silk trade. (trailer)
  • Fierce People – Rather than join his anthropologist father in his work with indigenous peoples, a young man ends up going to live among a group of super-rich people and decides to study them instead. Looks amusing enough. (trailer)
  • December BoysDaniel Radcliffe plays an orphan who ISN’T Harry Potter. (trailer)
  • Moving McAllister – Straight-laced company man gets tasked with taking care of the boss’s niece and ends up with more than he bargained for, like a whacked out Jon Heder along for the ride. I’m torn between quirky indie and dumb roadtrip film, but leaning toward the latter at the moment. (trailer)
  • Ira and Abby – Indie romcom about two strangers who decide to get married; I really liked Jennifer Westfeldt in Kissing Jessica Stein–might be fun to see her play not a lesbian (she also wrote both films). But the reviews have been mediocre at best. (trailer)

Whew, that’s a lot of stuff coming out. If I really were a professional movie critic, I’d be busy, wouldn’t I?