13 GOING ON 30
Directed by Gary Winick
Columbia, opens April 23
Omigod, this movie's like the girl version of Big, with Jennifer Garner instead of Tom Hanks. She's 13, but she wishes she was 30, and she disses her grody classmate-neighbor because she wants to be one of the Heathers. Her wish comes trueduh! She wakes up as some big-shot magazine editor. But everyone thinks she's a megabitch. Which weirds her out, 'cause she's really the same spazzy teen, wearing all '80s clothes, raising her hand at editorial meetings (Jennifer's totally adorable, especially how she keeps feeling her boobs like, are these for real? But power-walking on heels the first day? So bogus). And she tries to patch things up with grown-up neighbor boy (Mark Ruffalo, who's so totally awesome, he deserves, like, better scripts). Anyway, the thirtysomething in me was all, gag me with a spoon, but the kid in me was like, this movie's rad to the max. JORGE MORALES
DONA FLOR AND HER TWO HUSBANDS
Directed by Bruno Barreto
New Yorker, April 23 through 29, Film Forum
By the 1970s, after a series of right-wing coups, the political climate in Brazil had eased a bit and restrictions on sexuality in the movies had relaxed. The result: frothy erotic comedies like Bruno Barreto's Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1977). In the picturesque port city of Bahia, Flor, a lovely young woman (Sonia Braga), marries the wastrel Vadinho (José Wilker), a compulsive wencher who beats her. His one redeeming quality is that he's a tiger in the sack. After Vadinho drops dead, Flor accepts the proposal of a pharmacist, who's kind but dull in and out of bed. Her yearning for her randy first husband causes his ghost to materialize. Ectoplasmic Vadinho makes it clear that there is sex after death, and since he's visible only to her, conditions are right for a bizarre ménage à trois. A variation on Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, Dona Flor was a huge hit at home and abroad. In its best moments, it has the qualities of a ribald folk tale. But it's a slight work, slackly directed, that gets a needed boost from Braga's endearing performance and Chico Buarque's intoxicating score. ELLIOTT STEIN
PLAN COLOMBIA: CASHING IN ON THE DRUG WAR FAILURE
Directed by Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy
April 23 through 29, Anthology
If nightly newscasts aren't satisfying your craving for reckless self-interest masquerading as state-sanctioned morality abroad, make your way to Anthology for this incendiary doc, which details the arc of U.S. anti-drug policy in South America's cocaine cradle. Instituting half-assed incentive programs to wean impoverished farmers off coca cash, propping up corrupt government officials and murderous paramilitary groups in cahoots with narcotraffickers, this odious Clinton-era "drug war" campaign is convincingly indicted as a veiled grab at Colombia's oil reserves. Despite the depressing aura of déjà vu, husband-and-wife directing team Gerard Ungerman and Audrey Brohy eschew easy cynicism in favor of a bracing, no-nonsense assemblage of archival footage and interviews with interested parties. The approach is so brisk and the conclusions so galvanizing that even iconic lefty ditherers like Noam Chomsky and Ed Asner, who narrates, seem uncharacteristically focused. MARK HOLCOMB
CLOSE YOUR EYES
Directed by Nick Willing
First Look, opens April 23
Michael Strother (Goran Visnjic) is a hypnotherapist who gets the occasional telepathic look into his patients' thoughts. London police detective Janet Losey (scarily ubiquitous Shirley Henderson) visits his low-rent office in hopes of quitting cigarettes, but when the doctor glimpses an imperiled little girl inside Janet's head, the cop enlists Michael to probe the mind of said tyke: Heather (Sophie Stuckey) has been struck mute since her escape from the clutches of the still-at-large "tattoo murderer," who enjoys inking kids with vaguely Satanic hieroglyphs and administering lethal blood transfusions. Soon enough, Heather is spouting Latinate gibberish and the doleful investigative team is lukewarm on the trail of a Zodiac fanatic. Willing's confused proceduralderived from a novel by Madison Smartt Bellis a hasty throwback to the sado-medieval Exorcist descendants of the turn of the millennium (Stigmata, Stir of Echoes, Lost Souls). The somnolent cast can't keep the faith; understandably so, since the big crack in the case arrives when somebody draws a pentagram on a map of London. JESSICA WINTER
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