Friday movie roundup – Nov. 9

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It’s not in wide release yet, but the best movie you’ll find anywhere this weekend is “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” a fantastic crime thriller from director Sidney Lumet. The reasons for its greatness aren’t particularly deep or movie-critic-ish; it’s just an enthralling, well-made, straightforward movie. It’s the kind of movie that regular people will find compelling, too, not just snotty film critics. (The snotty film critics are just better at expressing why they like it. That’s why they make the big bucks.)

In wide release but not worth watching is “Fred Claus.” This movie is made out of poo.

Also made of poo: “P2,” a horror film set in a parking garage. Ooooh…. scaaaarrrryy.

Not made of poo at all: “Lions for Lambs,” starring Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, and Robert Redford. It’s directed by Redford, too (his first since 2000’s “The Legend of Bagger Vance”), which has led many people to assume that it must be nothing but a liberal tirade. But it’s actually a very thoughtful dialogue between conservatives and liberals, and it makes good points on both sides.

A couple other limited-release films are reviewed this week. “Music Within” is a mediocre biopic of Richard Pimentel, a crusader for the rights of disabled people; “Sleuth” is a slick remake of the 1972 quasi-thriller, this time starring Michael Caine and Jude Law.