Released this week: Apocalypto, Epic Movie, The Good German, The Italian, Venus.
Apocalypto: Mel Gibson serves up a heapin' helpin' of red meat in his story of peaceful 16th-century hunter-gatherers who are kidnapped and prepped for human sacrifice. The movie is exciting, cutting from one chase to another, but you have to wonder what purpose all the explicit gore serves other than to entertain audiences primed for a pre-Cortés Rambo.
Venus: In this funny/sad comedy, Peter O'Toole is a once-famous actor whose libido gets a final jump-start from the shallow young woman (Jodie Whittaker) assigned to take care of his best friend (Leslie Phillips). The dialogue is both sharp and poignant, and O'Toole helps us understand why someone who's spent his whole life in the pursuit of happiness might be reluctant to give it up just because he's about to die.