Arlington Road

Fear thy neighbor.

Arriving two years before 9/11, this crackling suspense thriller tracks Jeff Bridges as he tries to convince everyone suburbia hides a bomber planning to hit America where it hurts.

Suspect #1 is Tim Robbins, a good-time guy, who, along with wife Joan Cusack, projects friendliness, while leaving some troubling questions left unanswered.

At least for Bridges, who is angry over his wife’s death — she was an FBI agent lost in the line of duty — and increasingly comes off as the unhinged one.

Willing to go where a lot of films won’t, this one lands a roundhouse to the gut.

Grosse Pointe Blank

Reunions can be brutal.

Especially if you’re a world-weary assassin mixing business with pleasure, as John Cusack does in this often-hilarious dark comedy.

Back at his old school, which he fled on Prom night, our hit man is stalking a target, while also reconnecting with his former girlfriend, played with great charm by Minnie Driver.

Forced to question his battle-hardened worldview, shaped by stints with the CIA and as a freelance contract killer, Cusack dodges bullets and commitment with equal aplomb.

Backed by a killer supporting cast, the conflicted antihero is light on his feet and lethal with the one-liners.

 

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Hey, I can like light ‘n fluffy.

Not every film has to be a downbeat crime thriller, and this zippy tale of a woman who lives to shop (well beyond her means) is a delight.

Isla Fisher, an especially warm and bubbly presence on screen, captivates as an enterprising journalist looking for a way to ride the escalator to the top of the fashion industry.

There’s no deep meaning, no great lessons learned, just a fun romp through a land of color-coordinated hijinks – 104 minutes of bliss.

Fisher should be a huge star, and this is exhibit A in my argument.