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Film Club of the Air: Changeling, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Happy-Go-Lucky, Synechdoche, New York

The new Clint Eastwood movie starring Angelina Jolie opens in theaters this weekend, as does a new Kevin Smith comedy. Mike Leigh creates a character who is endlessly happy and Charlie Kaufmann creat

Film Club of the Air: Changeling, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Happy-Go-Lucky, Synechdoche, New York

Tom Fudge:  The first movie we'll talk about is a new picture from Clint Eastwood. Changeling is based  is based on a true story that took place early in the last century in the city of Los Angeles. In it, the main character, played by Angelina Jolie, is a single mom who comes home from work one evening to find her young son gone. She's unable to find him, and the police are not much help at first. But soon, a police captain visits the mom at work and tells her that her boy has been found. He escorts her to the train station to be reunited with him. The press is in tow to cover the happy story. But when she sees the boy they've returned to her, it's not her son.  The main story behind the Changeling is the history of brutality and corruption of the Los Angeles police department. Later in the film we learn what likely happened to the woman's boy, and it is a grim story indeed. In the end, the mother sues the police department with the help of some local reformers. There's more to this story, of course, but at this point I'll leave it at that lest I spoil the suspense.

Changeling opens in area theaters this Friday.

Our next movie is Zack and Miri Make a Porno . Zack, a man, and Miri, a woman, are a pair of platonic roomates who live in Pittsburgh. They are always short of money, and it gets to the point where the are about to be evicted from their apartment unless they can make some cash. That's when they come up with the grand idea of producing a low-budget porn movie, which they hope to sell to make ends meet. In the course of making the movie, as you can imagine, they meet a host of odd and bizarre characters. But the tension in this off-color comedy focuses on the question of whether Zack amd Miri will actually "perform" together in their porn film. Now that's what I call romance!  The film stars the very hot comic actor Seth Rogen, as Zack. And it's directed by Kevin Smith of Clerks fame.

Zack and Miri Make A Porno opens this Friday in area theaters.

Our next movie is Happy- Go-Lucky. This is a film by director Mike Leigh, who you may know from his films Vera Drake and Naked . In this new one, the main character is Poppy, played by Sally Hawkins. Poppy is happy all the time. She really is. And her cheefulness gives her a unique and, at times, extraordinary way of dealing with life. Happy-Go-Lucky doesn't present a sugar-coated view of the world, and it doesn't present Poppy's life as one devoid of longing and disappointment. The film includes bad kids, angry men, and plenty of people who are dumbfounded by Poppy's irrepressible attitude. But the main character's happiness is presented as a genuine philosophy and a practical way of confronting the world, with its many ups and downs.

Happy-Go-Lucky is currently playing at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinemas

I didn't get to see this movie. I've read a couple of reviews of it, and I still have no idea what it's about. I will say that it's written and directed by Charlie Kauffman, who wrote the movie B eing John Malkovich , and it stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. So it's got some talent connected to it. But a lot of things happen in this movie that are hard to explain.

Synechdoche, New York opens on November 7th at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinema. 


  • Beth Accomando is the KPBS Film Critic.
  • Scott Marks is a film critic and author of the blog emulsion .  He joins us by phone from LA.