New and Noteworthy: 'The Social Network'
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones
Directed by: David Fincher
What It's About: It's about the founding of Facebook, how it grew from a college dorm-room prank into a global phenomenon -- and a source of bitter, multimillion-dollar lawsuits among its founders. It's also about how a group of Harvard snobs with no social skills created the planet's biggest ongoing party, how creator Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) became the world's youngest billionaire, how a guy who changed the way we use the word "friend" lost all of his own and how the great egalitarian leveling power of the Internet is still trumped by old-school markers of class and privilege.
Why Should You See It? Because Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin make surprisingly compelling drama out of a story that takes place largely at computer keyboards and lawyers' offices. Because it addresses an up-to-the-minute topic in the form of a classic drama about inspiration, friendship, money and betrayal. Because it's proof Justin Timberlake (as Napster founder Sean Parker) can act. Because it's the biggest surefire Oscar contender so far this year. And because, by Monday morning, all your Facebook friends will be asking each other if they've seen it.
You Might Like It If You Like: '21,' 'Hackers,' 'Citizen Kane'
•Showtimes & Tickets | Trailers & Clips
•Jesse Eisenberg vs. Michael Cera: Avoiding Slacker Burnout
•'The Social Network' Stars Justin Timberlake, Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield on Geeky Hobbies and Polka
•'Social Network' Exclusive Clip: Rooney Mara Chastises Jesse Eisenberg
•David Fincher on 'The Social Network': "I Wanted to Make a 21st Century John Hughes Film"
•10 Movies That Defined Their Generation
•Five Reasons Why 'The Social Network' Doesn't Define This Generation
•Reviews: Cinematical | Leonard Maltin | More Critics' Reviews
'Let Me In'
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Elias Koteas, Richard Jenkins, Sasha Barrese
Directed by: Matt Reeves
What It's About: Like the 2008 Swedish hit 'Let the Right One In,' this Americanized remake is about a lonely boy ('The Road's' Smit-McPhee) who befriends his new neighbor, a mysterious little girl ('Kick-Ass's' Moretz) who happens to be a bloodthirsty vampire.
Why Should You See It? Advance buzz has it that 'Cloverfield' director Reeves' remake is true to the spirit of the original: haunting and contemplative, not just horrific. In fact, it may be even better than the original.
You Might Like It If You Like: 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,' 'Interview With the Vampire,' 'The Visitor'
•Showtimes & Tickets
•Trailers & Clips
•Chloë Moretz on Playing a Vampire, Her Role Model and Sexy Hit-Girl Costumes
•Reviews: Cinematical | Leonard Maltin | More Critics' Reviews
Also New: 'Case 39'
What It's About: In this long-shelved horror movie that was filmed nearly five years ago and has been released pretty much everywhere in the world except the United States, Renée Zellweger plays a social worker who takes custody of a haunted little girl, only to learn that there's a good reason her parents are afraid of her. Bradley Cooper and Ian McShane costar in this chiller from 'Pandorum' director Christian Alvart. Showtimes & Tickets | Trailers & Clips
'Freakonomics' turns the bestseller by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner into a four-chapter documentary (with segments directed by such documentary pros as Alex Gibney and Morgan Spurlock) that uses statistics to challenge conventional wisdom about the incentives that motivate our economic decisions. Showtimes & Tickets
'Barry Munday' is a dark, unlikely romance between a castrated womanizer (Patrick Wilson) and the antagonistic woman (Judy Greer) who may still offer him his last chance to be a father. Showtimes & Tickets
Still in Theaters, Still Awesome
•'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' -- In case you can't get in to see 'The Social Network,' here's another grown-up drama about a callow whiz kid, an intimate betrayal, billions of dollars, and an antihero you'll love to hate. Showtimes & Tickets
•'The Town' -- Or, you could see this Oscar-baiting drama about friendship, treachery, theft, and colorful Boston locations. Showtimes & Tickets
•'Catfish' -- Or, you could see this cautionary tale about the Internet and the perils of social media. Showtimes & Tickets
Staying In This Weekend?
New on DVD This Week: Okay, 'Iron Man 2' didn't quite measure up to the unexpectedly good 'Iron Man,' but it still had plenty going for it: not just the cocky Robert Downey Jr., but also such upstagers as a villainous Mickey Rourke and a slinky Scarlett Johansson. If you're one of the five people who missed it in theaters, now's you're chance to see it at home. Buy or rent the DVD | More new DVD releases
Movie Homework, Part 1: 'The Social Network' takes place at Harvard, but very little of it was shot there. The deans of America's oldest university seldom allow Hollywood productions on campus, and who could blame them, since the few exceptions they've made have yielded such cringeworthy results as 'Love Story' and 'With Honors'? One of the better movies shot at the 374-year-old campus is 'Good Will Hunting,' which, like the Facebook movie, is about an antisocial young number-crunching prodigy. And like Mark Zuckerberg, star Matt Damon seems to have done fine despite dropping out of Harvard. Buy or rent the DVD
Movie Homework, Part 2: Scary little girls have been popular in horror films for at least the last decade, from 'The Ring' to 'Orphan.' But the mother of all scary little girls is the homicidal blond moppet played by Patty McCormack in 'The Bad Seed' back in 1956, a scary turn that earned the pigtailed 11-year-old an Oscar nomination. Buy or rent the DVD
On My Netflix Queue: The death this week of director Arthur Penn made me want to revisit 1967's 'Bonnie and Clyde,' a movie that broke pretty much every rule of Hollywood storytelling (what with its warped sexuality, extreme violence, amoral heroes, and cathartically bleak ending) and launched a decade-long renaissance in American moviemaking. The movie can still pull the rug out from under you, not least because of the performances of the impossibly beautiful young Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Buy or rent the DVD.
•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.