Now Out: 'Changeling,' 'H.S. Musical,' 'Synecdoche' Films out this week include Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie and directed by Clint Eastwood; High School Musical 3: Senior Year; and Synecdoche, the directing debut of noted screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.
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Now Out: 'Changeling,' 'H.S. Musical,' 'Synecdoche'

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Now Out: 'Changeling,' 'H.S. Musical,' 'Synecdoche'

Now Out: 'Changeling,' 'H.S. Musical,' 'Synecdoche'

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This is Day to Day. I'm Alex Chadwick.


I'm Madeleine Brand. Well, you'll have your pick of the movies this weekend. You can go for a quirky comedy, the latest teen musical or greedy crime thriller. And to give us some guidance on what to choose here is Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's Summary Judgment.

MARK JORDAN LEGAN: Clint Eastwood returns to the director's chair for the 1920s crime drama "Changeling." Based on a true story, Angelina Jolie stars as a mother who won't stop searching for her missing son even though the police insist the case is closed. John Malkovich and Amy Ryan also star.

(Soundbite of movie "Changeling")

Mr. GATTLIN GRIFFITH: (As Walter Collins) Goodnight, Mommy.

Ms. ANGELINA JOLIE: (as Christine Collins) (Shouting) Stop!

(Soundbite of glass breaking)

Ms. JOLIE: (As Christine Collins) (Shouting) Stop saying that! Stop saying that! You're not my son. I want my son back. I want my son back!

LEGAN: Overall the critics applaud Eastwood and Jolie. "Emotionally powerful and stylistically sure-handed," says Variety. Newsweek calls "Changeling" "a haunting, sorrowful saga." And the New Yorker adds, "Jolie gives a skilled and selfless performance."

Oscar-winning writer Charlie Kaufman of "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation" fame tries his hand at directing one of his own quirky scripts in "Synecdoche, New York." Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as a struggling theater director trying to make sense of his work and his life. Catherine Keener and Hope Davis also star.

(Soundbite of movie "Synecdoche, New York")

Mr. PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN: (As Caden Cotard) I'm lonely.

Ms. CATHERINE KEENER: (As Adele Lack) And?

Mr. HOFFMAN: (As Caden Cotard) I'm afraid I'm going to die.

Ms. KEENER: (As Adele Lack) Anything else?

Mr. HOFFMAN: (As Caden Cotard) I don't know what's wrong with me, and I want to do something important while I'm still here.

Ms. KEENER: (As Adele Lack) Well, that would be the time to do it, yes.

LEGAN: The majority of critics enjoyed this cinematic jigsaw puzzle, but many warn it challenges the audience to...

(Soundbite of gasp)

LEGAN: Pay attention. The New York Times raves, "one of the best films of the year." The Onion cheers, "endlessly witty and surprisingly poignant." But the LA Times warns, "sprawling, awe inspiring, heartbreaking, but hard to follow."

The opposite of hard to follow is the much anticipated "High School Musical 3: Senior Year." Yes, for those of you who do not have young kids or tweens, the first two "High School Musicals" were massively popular TV movies, and now they've jumped to the big screen. All the regulars are back - you know, Zac, Vanessa, Ashley - I mean, puh-lease.

(Soundbite of movie "High School Musical 3: Senior Year")

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. ASHLEY TISDALE: (As Sharpay Evans) Hey, Troy. When's the big game?

(Soundbite of cell phone ring)

Ms. TISDALE: (As Sharpay Evans) Oh!

Mr. ZAC EFRON: (as Troy Bolton) Uh, yesterday.

Ms. TISDALE: (As Sharpay Evans) Oh, well, good luck.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. CORBIN BLEU: (As Chad Danforth) Wow, she's so sweet.

LEGAN: This tsunami of pop culture is pretty much critic-proof, but there are definitely reviewers who enjoy the ride. Entertainment Weekly squeals, "The movie is brought to life by the high energy cast." The Chicago Tribune loves the "dazzling choreography." And the Philadelphia Inquirer gushes, "The musical numbers are dynamic." So, there you have it. Bet this makes tons of money, and next thing you know it will be "College Musical: Freshmen Year," with such big dance numbers like "My English Lit Professor is a Pompous Jackass" and the big hip-hop number, "My Dorm Smells Funny."

BRAND: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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