The Dead Girl posterA whole day late, sorry. Curse this day job.

Director Karen Moncrieff assembled a superb cast for The Dead Girl, a film about the impact of a murder on several different and unrelated groups of characters; told in five chapters. Featuring highly applauded performances from Toni Collette, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Beth Hurt and temporary Wellingtonian Giovanni Ribisi, plus James Franco and Mary Steenburgen. The Dead Girl is playing now at The Empire in Island Bay and Rialto.

I don’t think I’m giving too much away if I reveal that The Heartbreak Kid is only the third film I have failed to complete since I started reviewing for the Cap Times back in September last year. Ben Stiller reunites with the Farrelly Brothers for the first time since There’s Something About Mary in 1998 in a romantic comedy that is neither. Playing at Readings, Regent-on-Manners and Sky City Queensgate.

Nina’s Journey is a Holocaust drama from Sweden featuring present day reminiscences from the real Nina: Variety called it “low-key but powerful”. It screens at the Paramount, exclusively. The Penthouse gets two exclusives this week. Firstly, art-house drama Bella has been praised by Christian media for what they call a “pro-life” stance; Roger Ebert said, “It’s about lovable people having important conversations and is not pro-choice or pro-life but simply in favor of his feelings — and hers, if she felt free to feel them.”

Finally, also at the Penthouse and direct from the Festival, is The Secret Life of Words: a follow-up to Isabel Coixet’s lovely and sad film My Life Without Me from 2003. Words also stars Sarah Polley and features Tim Robbins who won’t look quite as tall as usual as he’s playing an oil rig worker being nursed by Polley after an accident.

All these films will be reviewed next week at Funerals & Snakes, and (space-permitting) in the Capital Times on Wednesday.