A modern classic returns, and a reliable actor gets a meaty role in this weekend's new movies.
The best movie of the week is a familiar one, Disney/Pixar's 2003 animated classic "Finding Nemo," which returns in a pristine 3-D conversion. It's a rare instance where the 3-D doesn't detract from the movie, but actually enhance it. Not that the movie needed it, since it was already a funny, charming and moving story of an overprotective dad (voiced by Albert Brooks) who must rescue his son (voiced by Alexander Gould) who is captured by a scuba-diving dentist and wakes up in his office fish tank.
The weekend's best new movie is "Arbitrage," a riveting and atmospheric thriller set in the world of high finance. Richard Gere stars as a hedge-fund tycoon who's trying to sell his company using fraudulent accounting, and then has something bigger to cover up involving his mistress (Laetitia Casta). Writer-director Nicholas Jarecki keeps the tension tight, draws strong supporting performances from Susan Sarandon (as Gere's charity-minded wife) and Brit Marling (as his sharp-eyed daughter), and gives Gere one of the best roles of his career.
Another hedge-fund billionaire, played by Robert Pattinson, is the center of David Cronenberg's drama "Cosmopolis," a talky and convoluted drama. Pattinson shows he can actually act when called upon to be more than just a brooding sparkly vampire. Alas, the movie built around him is stifling, with thick slabs of pseudo-intellectual dialogue.
Opening at the Megaplex theaters in South Jordan and Lehi is "The Mine," a locally-made suspense thriller that follows five college-age friends on a trip into a haunted gold mine. (The most familiar face is Alexa Vega, formerly of the "Spy Kids" franchise.) The scares are a bit sporadic, but nicely mounted when they do come.
Following the success of the right-wing screed "2016: Obama's America," another conservative movie hits the screens. "Last Ounce of Courage" stars Marshall Teague as a small-town mayor who decides to exercise the "freedoms" that he once fought for and his soldier son died for by pulling out the town's long-mothballed Christmas decorations. The production values of this overbearing melodrama are amateurish at best, with a tasteless finale and a sledgehammer approach to its "War on Christmas" message.