Friday movie roundup – Oct. 9

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It’s an unusually slow weekend for the movies, with just one new wide release. Martin Scorsese’s thriller “Shutter Island” was supposed to open today but several weeks ago got pushed back to February, and nobody bothered to swoop in and take its place on the calendar.

That leaves us with just “Couples Retreat” (review at Film.com), a mediocre but not unbearable comedy starring Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, and a bunch of other people. It was directed by Peter Billingsley — Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” — who for some reason is friends with Vaughn and Favreau. (He was an executive producer on “Four Christmases,” “Iron Man,” “The Break-Up,” etc.)

In better news, there’s the Coen brothers’ latest minor masterpiece, “A Serious Man,” playing in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, L.A., San Diego, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, and Minneapolis. It will expand in the coming weeks. It’s vintage Coens: sly, offbeat, funny, sad, profound, and thought-provoking. Seeing it a second time brought it all home for me. How often do you see a movie that even warrants a second viewing, let alone rewards it? How often do you see a movie that actually gives you something to think about afterward? I love it. [Misread the map. It’s in D.C., not Philly.]

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