Straw Dogs

(R) ★☆☆☆☆

Rod Lurie’s vengeance-thriller remake still packs a visceral punch. It’s not all bad, but it is a pretty unpleasant wallow in the obvious. Lurie resets the tale of a bookish city dweller (Dustin Hoffman in the original, James Marsden here) bullied by locals, moving the setting from England to Mississippi. In the small town where his actress wife (Kate Bosworth) grew up, God, guns and goal posts are the measure of a man, and hiring some locals to fix a roof is a very bad idea.

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Hail Canada

Movies

Hail Canada

When fall begins, so does the new movie season, and it all happens at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival, a.k.a. TIFF. This is the biggest, friendliest, most organized film fete in the world, and a launching pad for both Oscar contenders and small low-budget independents, which in the downturn of today’s economic meltdown amounts to the same thing. The crowds seem larger than ever this year as 300,000 people beg, fight and grovel for tickets to see 336 movies in seven days made by everyone from Madonna to Francis Ford Coppola. Politely, of course. This is Canada, not Cannes.

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