Friday movie roundup – Sept. 22

You can expect the slump the box office has been in to end this weekend, thanks to a little arthouse film called “Jackass Number Two.” It’s a Paramount film (and how proud they must be), so I won’t have a review of it for you until later this afternoon. I strongly suspect that you already know whether you want to see it, though.

[EDIT: Sure enough, here’s the review.]

When I was last in Utah visiting my brother Jeff, our sainted mother was there, too, and while channel-surfing Jeff made the mistake of pausing on an episode of “Jackass” (or perhaps one of its spinoffs). We were just in time to see one of the idiots get his each of his butt cheeks pierced, and then fastened together with a thin metal rod. All viewers were traumatized.

Also opening today is what Jet Li says will be his last big-budget high-flyin’ action movie, “Fearless.” This one screened a few weeks ago, but only for a couple of specially invited critics. There was never any subsequent screening for general press, nor even a public promotional screening. Make of that what you will. I’ll try to get to it today or tomorrow.

Now for movies I DO have reviews of. “Flyboys,” starring James Franco as an American flying for France in the early days of World War I, is well-meaning but heavily generic. “All the King’s Men,” starring Sean Penn as a flawed Louisiana politician in the ’50s, is not well-meaning: It wants to win Oscars, and seems to have been made for no other purpose. Alas, its designs will fail, as it’s not very good.

Opening in a few markets today and going wider next week is “The Science of Sleep,” Michel Gondry’s follow-up to the wonderful “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” It stars Gael Garcia Bernal as a Mexican-born man living in France who has trouble separating his dreams from reality, and it’s just as whimsical and imaginative as can be. It was one of the highlights for me at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and I might just go see it now that it’s available.

“Feast,” a horror comedy made during Season 3 of “Project Greenlight,” is opening in select theaters today — and playing only tonight and tomorrow. Then it’s coming out on DVD on Oct. 17. Why bother with the theatrical release at all? Is it to avoid the stigma of going “direct-to-DVD”? All I know is, I’m not going to bother reviewing a film that a) is only staying in theaters for two days and b) I can watch on DVD in three weeks anyway if I want to.