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Picks and Pans Main: Movies

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Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell | PG-13 |



Fun, meet the movie audience. Movie audience, fun. (It’s been such a long time, introductions seemed necessary.) Tony Stark (Downey) is back, and is it ever good to see him. Unfortunately Tony (Iron Man to his friends) is in a spot. Not only is that shiny battery in his chest killing him, there are folks willing to pitch in if it doesn’t-Ivan (Rourke), a vengeful Russian physicist, and arms-business rival Hammer (Rockwell, having a ball matching Downey’s swagger). The high stakes make for great action, and the script is so solidly funny our complaints are few: Cheadle’s Lt. Col. Rhodes is underwritten, and sidekicks Johansson (as a superspy) and Paltrow (as Tony’s ever-trusty assistant) are merely ornamental until the climax. But Downey’s cocky command of the screen is so much fun (there’s that word again), we’ll let it slide.

Mother and Child

Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Kerry Washington| R |



Think of Mother and Child as the flip side to the flippant Juno: This timely and at times gut-wrenching movie focuses on three women affected by adoption. Lucy (Washington) hopes to adopt a baby; Karen (Bening) is haunted by the decision to give up her baby at the age of 14; and Elizabeth (Watts), who was adopted as an infant, has grown up to be successful professionally but resolutely detached from any kind of personal relationship (prepare yourself for a startling sex scene that gives the term “control freak” new meaning). Their stories and lives intersect in interesting and unpredictable ways, and the three lead actresses-supported with great turns by Samuel L. Jackson and Jimmy Smits-have never been better. Warning: Tears will be shed. Consider bringing your mom as your date.

Nightmare on Elm Street

Jackie Earle Haley, Kellan Lutz R |


Freddy Krueger’s reinvention is a humor-free remake that flags until the satisfying final scenes. Haley tries, but his new Freddy is no cut-up as he grimly stalks kids. Still, purists will appreciate the nods to the original.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

With Thierry Guetta and Shepard Fairey | R |


The surprise of Gift Shop, in which reclusive street artist Banksy flips the script on an obsessed videographer, isn’t just that it’s the best documentary so far this year, but that it’s as insightful as it is funny. You’ll be enthralled.