Critical Consensus: Life Has Its Ups And Downs, Darjeeling Is Transporting

Plus: Guess the Saw IV Tomatometer!

This week at the movies we have a lovelorn single dad (Dan in Real Life, starring Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche), brothers on a train (The Darjeeling Limited, starring Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman, and the return of Jigsaw (Saw IV, starring Tobin Bell and Scott Patterson). What do the critics have to say?

The perpetually awesome Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche team up for Dan in Real Life, a rom-com about an advice columnist who falls for his brother's significant other. It sounds good on paper: who wouldn't be intrigued by the pairing of the brilliantly guileless Carell with Binoche, an actress of uncommon range and depth? Though Life suffers from an uneasy mix of sitcom wackiness and sentimentality, director Peter Hedges has a clear love for the film's characters, with most critics agreeing Carell and company overcome the weak script. At 60 percent, Dan looks to survive his mid (Tomatometer) Life crisis.

"Want to join my Lynne Cheney book discussion group?"

Wes Anderson's back, and with him comes the visual splendor and melancholy humor for which he's known. In The Darjeeling Limited, Adrien Brody joins Anderson regulars Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman in the story three brothers trekking across the Subcontinent in search of spiritual truth. The critics aren't all on board with Darjeeling; some find Anderson's quirks overwhelming and impersonal. But the majority says it's engaging and funny in that deadpan Wes Anderson way, with loads of quirky visual touches. At 66 percent on the Tomatometer, The Darjeeling Limited may be worth the trip. (Check out our Wes Anderson Total Recall feature here.)

"I'm telling you, Wes Anderson has never seen Harold and Maude!"

For those of you who yearn for even more insight into the twisted mind of Jigsaw, you're in luck: Saw IV hits theaters Friday. However, if you're a movie critic, you won't be able to see it before the rest of us civilians, since it wasn't screened before release. Whoever correctly guesses the Tomatometer will be the sharpest tool in the RT shed.

Scott Patterson wishing he were back in Stars Hollow.
Also opening this week in limited release: Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, a doc about the venerable folksinger/lefty activist, is at 92 percent on the Tomatometer; The Living and the Dead, a psychological horror film about an unbalanced man caring for his sick mother, is at 89 percent; Jimmy Carter Man From Plains, Jonathan Demme's doc about the 39th president, is at 81 percent; Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, a family drama starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, and Ethan Hawke, is at 79 percent; The Island, a Russian import about a soldier who takes refuge in a monastery, is at 71 percent; Mr. Untouchable, a doc about the rise and fall of drug kingpin Nicky Barnes, is at 63 percent; Lynch, an examination of the man behind Twin Peaks, is at 63 percent; Black Irish, a coming-of-age dysfunctional family drama, is at 50 percent; Lagerfeld Confidential, a doc about the fashion icon, is at 45 percent; Music Within, a drama about a Vietnam Vet who fought for the rights of the disabled, is at 38 percent; O Jerusalem, a dramatization of the establishment of Israel, is at 33 percent; Slipstream, written and directed by Anthony Hopkins, is at 30 percent; Bella, about an unconventional love story in New York City, is at 30 percent; and Rails & Ties, a drama about a family struggling with illness starring Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden, is at 23 percent.

Seeger, with some random groupie.
Finally, props to m_ioannidis for coming the closest to guessing The Comebacks 10 percent Tomatometer. And semi-props to SplendidIsolation and BlueStar 50 for coming the closest to guessing Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour's zero percent score.

Recent Steve Carell Movies:
24% -- Evan Almighty (2007)
74% -- Over the Hedge (2006)
92% -- Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
83% -- The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
51% -- Melinda and Melinda (2005)

27% -- Saw III (2006)
35% -- Saw II (2005)
46% -- Saw (2004)


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