The latest from Moon director Duncan Jones is an unlikely mash-up of Groundhog Day and Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur. Jake Gyllenhaal plays an American soldier embroiled in a mysterious government experiment. His mission is to figure out who planted a bomb on a Chicago commuter train. To do that, he has to repeatedly go back in time, replaying the same eight minutes again and again. The logic of Ben Ripley's screenplay isn't entirely sound, and the proceedings get a little draggy, but this is still clever, breezy mainstream entertainment. Co-starring Michelle Monaghan as the requisite love interest, and Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright as the government officials behind the experiment.
Mao's Last Dancer, based on the real-life struggles of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin, who defected to the U.S in the early '80s, is too long and predictable. But it has special resonance for Texans -- Li defected while visiting the Houston ballet, which was then run by Texas Ballet Theater's Ben Stevenson (played by Bruce Greenwood in the film).
My Dog Tulip is an unusual a piece of animation, based on the 1956 memoir by J.R. Ackerley about the transformative relationship between a man and his dog. Superbly read by Christopher Plummer, Ackerley's words form the film's voice-over narration. The visuals of the veteran animation team of Paul and Sandra Fierlinger are also a joy.