This week's cinema releases include 'Waitress,' 'Civic Duty,' and 'The Flying Scotsman.'
New in theaters Civic Duty (R)
Director: Jeff Renfroe. With Peter Krause, Richard Schiff. (98 min.)
After losing his job, Terry Allen (Peter Krause) has plenty of time to watch TV, where a constant stream of reportage prods him to spy on an Arab neighbor and to share his suspicions with an FBI agent. When the government's response is less than satisfactory, Terry takes the law into his own hands with devastating results. The film's anti-Islamic tone, intended to show Terry's frame of mind, detracts from whatever helpful message the filmmakers may have hoped to impart. But Krause makes Terry's descent into paranoia believable. Grade: C+
– M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 3 scenes of innuendo and a sex scene. Violence: 7 scenes, including fights and a shooting. Profanity: 39 expressions, mostly strong. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 2 scenes with alcohol.
The Flying Scotsman (PG-13)
Director: Douglas McKinnon. With Jonny Lee Miller, Billy Boyd. (96 min.)
Out to break the one-hour distance record, cyclist Graeme Obree (Jonny Lee Miller) battled poverty, depression, and officialdom's disdain in 1993. In this dramatization, Obree overcomes obstacles through determination and the support of friends, as well as a patient wife (Laura Fraser). This modest mix of inspiration, humor, and near tragedy manages to be suspenseful, even though we pretty much know the outcome. Grade: B
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 6 scenes, including attempted suicide. Profanity: 13 expressions, mostly strong and one harsh expletive. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: 7 scenes with alcohol.
Director: Adrienne Shelly. With Keri Russell, Jeremy Sisto. (104 min.)
The late Adrienne Shelly wrote, directed, and costars in this melancholy comedy about a small-town waitress (Keri Russell) with a gift for making scrumptious pies. It's a talent that stands her in good stead, since almost everything else in her life is flavorless. When her lout husband (Jeremy Sisto) becomes a menace, she finds herself falling in love with the town's new OB-GYN (Nathan Fillion), who is in love with her. He's also married. The film is laced with lovely moments, from the leads and from Shelly as a waitress friend. Grade: A–
– Peter Rainer
Away From Her (PG-13)
Director: Sarah Polley. With Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent. (110 min.)
Based on an Alice Munro story, "Away From Her" is cause for celebration if only because it stars the great Julie Christie in her first lead role in many years. She plays a wife whose descent into dementia wrenches her marriage. Given the subject, the movie is too romanticized, and Christie's eyes remain too sharp here to convincingly convey someone whose memory is fast slipping away. Much of it is powerful anyway. Grade: B+