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who hits the skids when his act — and his partnership with his childhood friend, Anton (Steve Buscemi) — becomes out-of-date.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.