Today's movies are, in alphabetical order: August, Death Defying Acts, Eight Miles High, Full Battle Rattle, Garden Party, Harold, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, and The Stone Angel. And here's a rundown, in highly subjective non-alphabetical order! If the ones you like aren't playing near you yet, make a note of 'em for later.
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
What it is: A documentary about the Oscar-winning director's statutory rape scandal in the 1970s, and how it is viewed today.
What they're saying: Cinematical's Christopher Campbell has mostly praise for the film, which he says is thought-provoking regardless of your feelings on Mr. Polanski. Erik Davis reviewed it at Sundance and called it "not the most powerful or emotional film, but ... engaging enough." At Rotten Tomatoes, it's sitting at 80% fresh.
Where it's playing: New York City's Quad Cinema.
Official site: There doesn't seem to be one.
What it is: One of those strangers-intersecting-with-each-other ensemble dramas set amid the young and starry-eyed denizens of L.A. Robert Altman's Short Cuts is an obvious comparison.
What they're saying: Cinematical's Jeffrey M. Anderson is pretty lukewarm on it. At Rotten Tomatoes, seven of the nine reviews posted so far are negative.
Where it's playing: Los Angeles (Monica 4, Sunset 5, University Town Center in Irvine, Playhouse 7 in Pasadena), New York (Village East Cinema), Portland (Fox Tower), and Seattle (Varsity Theater).
Official site: Garden Party Movie, featuring candid stories from real-life young and starry-eyed L.A. denizens.
What it is: A drama by Austin Chick (whose first film was the Gen-Xers-having-sex drama XX/XY) about an entrepreneur hotshot (Josh Hartnett) launching a dot-com business in New York just before 9/11. Cast includes Rip Torn, Naomie Harris and David Bowie (!!).
What they're saying: Cinematical's Eric Kohn, who also interviewed Chick, has praise for Hartnett and the cast; not so much for the movie itself. The consensus at Rotten Tomatoes is also not good: just 17% positive so far.
Where it's playing: New York City's CC Village East Cinemas.
Official site: None.
The Stone Angel
What it is: An adaptation of a much-beloved Canadian novel about an old lady (Ellen Burstyn) looking back on her life.
What they're saying: Folks love that Ellen Burstyn even if they don't love the movie -- at Rotten Tomatoes, the critics are split.
Where it's playing: New York (Sunshine Cinema), Bethesda, Md. (Landmark's Bethesda Row), Los Angeles (The Landmark, Encino Town Center 5, Playhouse 7 in Pasadena), and Edina, Minn. (Edina 4).
Official site: Stone Angel.
Full Battle Rattle
What it is: A documentary about a training facility in California where soldiers practice going to war in a simulated Iraq.
What they're saying: Cinematical's Christopher Campbell gives it a thumbs-up; Rotten Tomatoes has a slight majority of critics agreeing with him.
Where it's playing: New York City's Film Forum.
Official site: Full Battle Rattle Movie.
What it is: A comedy about a teenage boy (Spencer Breslin) with early-onset male-pattern baldness who befriends the school janitor (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Written and directed by SNL writer T. Sean Shannon.
What they're saying: Only a few reviews have popped up so far; at Rotten Tomatoes, it's two yea and four nay, though even the nays don't exactly hate it. You gotta admit, you're curious about a movie with a bald 13-year-old protagonist.
Where it's playing: New York City's AMC Loews Village 7.
Official site: None.
Death Defying Acts
What it is: Harry Houdini has an affair with a psychic! Do you think he can escape from the relationship without her seeing it coming? They're played by Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta-Jones, by the way, and the director is Gillian Armstrong (Little Women, Charlotte Gray).
What they're saying: Cinematical's Scott Weinberg reviewed it at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and found it so-so but passable. At Rotten Tomatoes, it's at 60%.
Where it's playing: New York's Sunshine Cinema and L.A.'s Mann Chinese 6.
Official site: Myriad Pictures; not much there.
Eight Miles High (Das Wilde Leben)
What it is: A fact-based comedy/drama about a young woman named Uschi Obermaier who was evidently a significant figure in the student uprisings in Germany in the late '60s. I'm not gonna lie to you: I have no idea what's going on.
What they're saying: Critics at Rotten Tomatoes are about evenly split on this one.
Where it's playing: New York City's Cinema Village.
Official site: Here you go, but um, it's in German.