In this week’s issue, Andrea Gronvall awards a Critic’s Choice to the new Pixar animation, Up, about an old codger who sets off for South America by tying hundreds of helium balloons to his house. Sam Raimi takes a break from the Spider–Man movies to direct Drag Me to Hell, with Alison Lohman as a loan officer who forecloses on an old crone’s mortgage and discovers there’s hell to pay. And Jonathan Rosenbaum reviews Easy Virtue, an adaptation of the Noel Coward play by Australian director Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).
Andrea also recommends the Japanese drama Departures, which won the Oscar for best foreign-language film, and the Belgian road movie Eldorado, screening at Facets Cinematheque. In addition to the Raimi movie, my pick of the week is the rarely screened Italian black comedy Dillinger Is Dead, showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center. I also weigh in on Courting Condi, a comic documentary about one man’s need to get busy with Condoleezza Rice; Riffraff, a locally shot comedy about lifeguards on North Avenue Beach (see also Ed M. Koziarski’s “Our Town” story); and What Goes Up, a new indie starring Steve Coogan, Olivia Thirlby, and Hilary Duff.