Feast of Love
Rated R; opens Sept. 28
Everyone is slightly touched--moved and deranged--by the force of love in this sweet, knowing film from director Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer). Morgan Freeman presides as a kind of benign deity observing these moonstruck creatures, especially a coffee-shop owner (Greg Kinnear) with a soft heart and rotten luck with beautiful women. Sexy, funny, sad and defiantly romantic, Feast of Love is the rare movie to cuddle up to.
By Philip Roth
Out Oct. 1
After 11 years away, elderly writer (and Roth crypto-alter ego) Nathan Zuckerman returns to Manhattan to leer at young ladies, pursue a literary mystery and get his leaky urethra looked at. This is minor Roth--fencing listlessly with the Reaper, Zuckerman is occasionally gruffly touching but mostly just embarrassing. Let him die already!
Rated R; opens Sept. 28
When terrorists kill hundreds of Americans in a Saudi Arabian compound, an élite team of fbi agents led by Jamie Foxx flies in to collar the perps. Director Peter Berg cannily hypes the tension and the sentiment in the only one of the current Middle East political movies designed to appeal to the action crowd. Hard truths are absorbed while stuff blows up.
Bruce Springsteen; out Oct. 2
After albums about 9/11 and the Southwest, it was fair to wonder if the Boss would ever abandon big themes and return to big tunes. Here he has both. Springsteen notes the greed and apathy subsuming America, but the ever tight E Street Band generates enough optimism and heat that you believe him when he sings, "We're livin' in the future and none of this has happened yet."
Aliens in America
The CWMondays, 8:30 p.m. E.T.
The fish-out-of-water concept has been abused by enough sitcoms to make you dread seafood. But this series, about Raja, a Pakistani Muslim exchange student (Adhir Kalyan) who befriends his suburban host family's nerdy son (Dan Byrd), is fresh, good-hearted and totally winning. Like Taxi's Latka Gravas and Alf's title alien, the earnest Raja is a foreign power you'll surrender to from sheer laughter.
Condemned to Repeat It
"This is the strangest sight I have ever seen," said the pilot of the spotter plane. It was Nov. 1, 1950, and he was looking at two divisions of Chinese infantry where none should have been, advancing under heavy shelling as if in a light rain. It was perhaps the first modern "mission accomplished" moment. The U.S. thought it had the Korean War sewn up, but it spent the next three years slugging it out with Mao's "volunteers." In The Coldest Winter (Hyperion; 736 pages), David Halberstam, who died in April, brings angry wisdom to a conflict that, after the moral clarity of WW II, seemed remote and incomprehensible. It was the miserable prototype for wars to come.