Friday Movie Roundup: Serious Will Ferrell Edition

Will Ferrell takes a break from his usual comic shenanigans this week to star writer/director Dan Rush's feature debut, Everything Must Go, an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story. Ferrell in a Carver story, a story in which Ferrell's character is a listless, downtrodden “functioning alcoholic” with straying loins? Apparently. And, according to tt stern-enzi's positive review, apparently he does it well. —-

Another versatile Saturday Night Live veteran, Kristen Wiig, makes a successful transition the big screen in Bridesmaids, a raucous, female-driven comedy produced by Judd Apatow and co-written Wiig.

Then there's this week's obligatory supernatural action thriller, a film that's been on the shelf for almost a year as they refitted for the cinematic trend du jour, 3-D.

Elsewhere, actor-turned-documentary filmmaker Harry Shearer's The Big Uneasy, a muckraking look at why New Orleans' levies failed during Hurricane Katrina, opens at Kenwood Theatre. Shearer will be on hand after the 7:30 p.m. Sunday screening for a Q&A. Go here for more info on tickets.

Finally, the annual MusicNOW festival, which runs today-Sunday at Memorial and Music halls, will also have a film component to it. Summer Lovin' Torture Party, a documentary about Brooklyn-based Cincinnati natives and MusicNOW headliners The National, directed by singer Matt Berninger's bother Tom, will have a pair of free “workshop” screenings 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Contemporary Arts Center. Read my previous post on the documentary screenings here.

Opening films:

THE BIG UNEASY — Harry Shearer, the This Is Spinal Tap actor and humorist looks at why New Orleans levies failed in this (literally) muckraking documentary. It’s a worthy effort, filled with great insight into the making of the flood and the troubling revelations about the arrogant way the Corps does business and is protected by the U.S. Congress. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Kenwood Theatre.) — Steven Rosen (Not Rated.) Grade: B

BRIDESMAIDS — Just because Bridesmaids walks down the box-office aisle a few weeks before the second edition of The Hangover, don’t assume that this is a golden bridal shower before that big event. Of course, there’s an ensemble gang and they are most certainly ready to par-tay. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — tt stern-enzi (Rated R.) Grade: B

EVERYTHING MUST GO — Writer-director Dan Rush, in his debut feature, knows he’s got something special with Everything Must Go, which is based on the Raymond Carver short story “Why Don’t You Dance?” because he has taken that bare-bones narrative and sneakily infused it with only a few additional details, maintaining the sense of this being little more than a short film with room to breathe. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — tts (Rated R.) Grade: A-

PRIEST — Paul Bettany again goes supernatural in this “vampire horror western” adaptation of the South Korean comic book of the same name. Originally slated for 2010 release, Priest was pushed back to convert the film from 2-D to 3-D. The cast also includes Maggie Q, Christopher Plummer, Cam Gigandet and Brad Dourif. (Opens wide today.) — Jason Gargano (Rated PG-13.) Review coming soon.

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