Movie Meter: Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader Delight as Siblings in The Skeleton Twins


The Skeleton Twins: You might miss them on Saturday nights, but there’s a lot more to this film than a welcome reunion of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. The former Saturday Night Live mainstays play estranged siblings in Craig Johnson’s insightful dark comedy. Though a decade has passed since they last met, the brother and sister reunite when they discover they both attempted suicide on the same day. Hader and Wiig’s chemistry is flawless and a joy to behold. The film actually has a lot to say about our ability to lie to ourselves as adults in ways that kids never need to do. The ending is a tad conventional, but there’s still plenty to admire here. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

The Boxtrolls: Boxtrolls, it turns out, are amiable and silly creatures who live underground, where a group of them have raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs, voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright. When their little enclave is threatened by an evil villain, voiced by Sir Ben Kingsley, Eggs, er, hatches a plan to save his Boxtroll family with the aid of a comely human girl voiced by Elle Fanning. Though it sounds standard-issue, this winning family fare from the creative team behind Coraline is nonetheless amusing, and should placate the short-pants crowd. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%

Jimi: All Is By My Side: Guitar god Hendrix gets the bio-pic treatment courtesy of John Ridley, with Outkast’s André “3000” Benjamin in the title role. The film covers the year just before Hendrix’s life-changing performance at the Monterey Pop Festival turned him into an international superstar. Ridley avoids many common pratfalls of the genre, but in keeping his subject’s mystery intact, asks far more questions than he might have answered. Anyone expecting to see a thorough and clear-headed account of the legendary performer might want to look elsewhere. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%


The Equalizer: Denzel Washington has spent his career raising up subpar films by sheer force of will and his indomitable charisma. Here, Washington shrugs himself into a role made famous by Edward Woodward in the ‘80s, an intelligence agent who uses his moxie to extricate innocents from the clutches of nefarious gangsters. He comes out of retirement to protect a helpless young woman, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, from the Russian mafia. The film is really just an excuse for Washington and director Antoine Fuqua to bust some young punk ass, AARP style. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

The Notebook: This Hungarian film has absolutely no connection to the Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams weeper. In fact, those hoping to see more Nicholas Sparks fluff ‘n stuff would likely come away from this one suitably horrified. This János Szász-directed film concerns a pair of twins who are unceremoniously dumped onto their sadistic, alcoholic grandmother near the end of WWII. With no other method of survival, the twins are forced to completely desensitize themselves to the horror all around them, with devastating results. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%


Hector and the Search for Happiness: Generally speaking, films burdened with titles this winsome are almost always a disaster, but I take no pleasure in the vitriol with which critics are lambasting this Peter Chelsom film. Its stars, Simon Pegg and Christopher Plummer, most certainly deserve better. The story sounds hauntingly similar to North, Rob Reiner’s despised 1994 film about a disaffected young boy who travels the world “interviewing” prospective parents. After this fiasco of a film and Nick Frost’s equally tepid Cuban Fury, I would say it’s high time the best mates reunite for something worthy of their charm. Rotten Tomatoes Score: 27%