Darren Aronofsky's alternately transfixing and ludicrous horror movie/melodrama follows a ballerina (Natalie Portman, who won the Best Actress Oscar) who pushes herself to the precipice of madness, and then straight over the cliff, in pursuit of the biggest role of her career. There's not much humanity or warmth here, and there's not much nuance in the screenplay, either -- a fairly literal-minded consideration of how far an artist is willing to go for her art. But there's also no denying that this movie is alive in ways that few recent American films have been. At various points, we watch Portman wander through a strobe-lit neon nightclub, butcher her fingertips in the act of trimming her nails and pull apart her stuck-together toes, removing considerable chunks of skin in the process. You can't quite look at the screen without partly shielding your eyes. You also can't look away, for fear that you're going to miss what deranged thing the filmmakers will come up with next.
Tangled, a Disney animated musical-comedy adventure, riffs off the famed Brothers Grimm fairy tale. This overly familiar movie never really finds a voice of its own.
All Good Things is based on the life of Robert Durst (Ryan Gosling), the disturbed son of a New York real-estate magnate who is implicated in the murder of his wife (Kirsten Dunst). The film effectively twines the strands of marital-discord drama and psychological thriller.
Fair Game tells the fact-based story of CIA agent Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts), whose identity is blown by the Bush administration. Until the hokey final scenes, this is the rare political drama that doesn't need a soapbox to makes its points deeply felt.