Short Takes: Cyrus and alerts to movies screening this week — three by Akira Kurosawa, one by Steve Martin 


At their best, the writer-director Duplass brothers, Mark and Jay, have a loose-limbed comic style that has you chuckling even when no one's telling jokes. At worst, they serve up the same high concepts and pat resolutions as megaplex fare, just with slack timing and writing. This one's about 70-30 good, thanks mostly to John C. Reilly's shaggy charm as a divorced schlub whose chances with a dream woman (Marisa Tomei, a pin-up for mature foxiness) are threatened by her scheming mama's-boy son (Jonah Hill). It peters out in a final third of sputtering warm fuzzies, but the war of wills between feuding spuds Reilly and Hill is played at a near-perfect pitch of lo-fi farce. (Opens Friday at Green Hills) JIM RIDLEY

Also in theaters this week:

• The Belcourt continues its Akira Kurosawa centennial celebration with three rare screenings: Dodes'ka-den (July 10-12), his boldly stylized 1970 depiction of Tokyo slum life; and an unprecedented local 16mm double bill of his first feature, 1943's Sanshiro Sugata, and his 1945 feudal drama The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 14.

• Due, alas, to personal emergencies, director Michael Paul Stephenson and star George Hardy were forced to cancel their appearance at Friday night's Belcourt double bill of their documentary Best Worst Movie and its subject, Troll 2. Even so, that ideal pairing is well worth seeing. Especially if the concession stand lays in a supply of goopy green "Nilbog milk" the way it did at earlier Troll 2 screenings.

• This week's Second Saturday Outdoor Cinema feature is The Jerk, with bluegrass performer Steve Martin making an early foray into comedy. It's free at sundown Saturday, projected outside in The Belcourt's parking lot. Leave the kids, unless you want your next puppy named Shithead.


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