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By Michael Calleri

"One Day" has a nifty premise. Over a period of more than two decades, you get to spend one day each year in the lives of two potential lovers, nicely acted by Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.

Emma and Dexter meet after they graduate from the same university and spend the night together. A potential relationship shows promise. But life being what it is, the two don't quite merge.

The movie, set in London with some scenes in Paris, then looks in on them on the same day over the years -- July 15, to be precise.

Emma works in a Tex-Mex restaurant and meets a bumbling, not particularly attractive comedian (a good Rafe Spall, real-life son of actor Timothy), but they forge ahead as a couple. She eventually gets a job as a teacher.

Dexter has money and a mother dying of cancer (the always wonderful Patricia Clarkson), and he's very successful as a television host on programs aimed at the British MTV crowd.

The very good and very believable movie, based on a novel by David Nicholls, who also wrote the screenplay, is a romantic comedy that flows the way a romantic comedy should.

It's rooted in reality. People don't always spark together at the right time. Sometimes months or years go by. One person is ready, and the other is not. Emma and Dexter have strong feelings for each other. Will they finally click?

"One Day," smartly directed by Lone Scherfig, who also made "An Education," is neither crude, nor sappy. It's honest and endearing. Be prepared to laugh and cry.

I did notice something interesting in the film. Scherfig is a female, and she celebrates an often nearly nude Sturgess the way a heterosexual male director wouldn't.

She also isn't afraid to knock the audience for a loop. See it!

In Paris in 1942, more than 13,000 French Jews were rounded up -- not by the Nazis, but by Parisians themselves. It was one more dark day during the ugly saga of World War II.

Men, women and children were herded into the Velodrome d'Hiver, a bicycle-racing arena, and were kept under grotesque, debilitating conditions until they were removed to concentration camps.

A young girl named Sarah was one of the children, and "Sarah's Key" ("Elle s'appelait Sarah") is about her fate.

Strongly directed by Gilles Paquet Brenner and smartly written by Brenner and Serge Joncour, the film moves back and forth in time as a contemporary American journalist living in Paris with her French husband seeks to uncover the truth about what happened to the residents of an apartment in which her husband's family lived for decades.

The powerful and realistic movie -- the journalism and family scenes are filled with truths -- features an excellent Kristin Scott Thomas as the writer and a superb Melusine Mayance as Sarah.

The picture, based on Tatiana de Rosnay's popular novel, offers heartbreak and hope, and never strays from telling its gripping story with precise words and strong images that will stay with you.

There's a small secret room -- a closet, in fact -- and Sarah's desire to literally unlock its door packs an emotional punch rarely found in today's films.

The large cast is top-notch, and the sense of fear and dread is palpable.

In "Another Earth," a parallel planet Earth appears on the horizon, and it stays there, never affecting the gravity or the tides of the actual Earth on which our protagonists dwell.

Brit Marling -- who co-wrote the intelligent and idea-filled screenplay with the film's director, Mike Cahill -- also plays the female lead, a high school graduate who is a science genius.

Driving drunk, she kills a mother and her child, and spends four years in jail. Her college potential is shattered. Upon release, she seeks out the husband/father of the two victims. He's played by William Mapother.

The two connect in ways I won't reveal, but at some point she has to decide if she's going to tell the guy that she killed the loves of his life.

This a thought-provoking science fiction film, with very few special effects. What is happening on the parallel Earth? Is it the exact same things that we are watching, or the same people living lives different from what we are seeing based on decisions they made that altered events?

You may accept or hate the ending depending on what you think is going on.

The low-budget but visually interesting film is very well-acted by a talented cast. Cahill did his own beautiful cinematography and solid editing.

This is a movie about conscience and responsibility. Stay alert during the final minutes.

"Fright Night" is a ridiculously over-the-top remake of the 1985 movie. The new and gorier version is, except for the setting, a carbon copy of the original, but it lacks any genuine thrills. Even the main characters' names are the same. The remake is played for laughs, which ruins whatever jolts might be realized.

The first edition starred Roddy McDowall as a vampire hunter, and Chris Sarandon as his nighttime nemesis. It actually won awards from the Academy Of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, including best horror film, best supporting actor (McDowall) and best writing for Tom Holland, who also directed.

"Fright Night," 2011, sloppily directed by Craig Gillespie, takes place in mortgage-foreclosure heaven, the residential streets of suburban Las Vegas. I guess there's some kind of statement being made here about bloodsucking bankers, but it's too obvious.

Teenage Charley (Anton Yelchin) and his mom (Toni Colette) discover that their next-door neighbor, Colin Farrell, is a vampire. Farrell chews the scenery to the point where you're laughing over badly written dialogue from Marti Noxon. The vampire hunter is played by David Tennant.

There are all sorts of teen shenanigans, neck-biting, sexual innuendo -- but not much else. There's a 3-D version you can skip because it offers nothing except a higher ticket price.

Did Farrell, once a promising actor, and Colette, always an inviting screen presence, really need the money?

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Aug. 23, 2011