Wristcutters: A Love Story, Incredible Hulk Trailer, The Kite Runner
What: Offbeat story of purgatory love.
Why: Who knew the afterlife looks like New Mexico? In this willfully eccentric movie, suicides journey to an ordinary-looking netherworld, where they lead everyday lives with boring jobs and nagging parents (as long as they've committed suicide too). Young Zia (Patrick Fugit) is soon torn between a new arrival, who claims she's there by mistake, and the girl he left behind, who follows a wacky cult leader (Tom Waits). The story gets disappointingly conventional, but the concept--and clever ending--signal a cult classic in the making.
What: Preview of summer action blockbuster.
Why: "There are aspects of my personality that I can't control," says intense control-freak Edward Norton, playing intense control-freak Bruce Banner, who lets it all hang out as the Incredible Hulk. Superhero movies are all dark psychodramas now, as if to atone for their cheesiness, and this one offers a field-day of metaphors. The roaring Hulk is a walking erection, a neurotic condition, a science experiment, an unstoppable physical urge, a government conspiracy and a tortured micromanager, all in one vivid portrait of repression.
What: Bestselling Afghani saga.
Why: It seemed like obvious Oscar bait--a beloved bestseller released in December, hyped by real-world controversy. Yet it disappeared quickly from theaters, and now it feels like a low-key DVD discovery: an old-fashioned drama, crossing countries, decades and generations, with a strong character arc and a memorable performance from Iranian actor Homayoun Ershadi (star of Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry) as the main character's haunted father. You can skip the vacuous commentary track, which is mostly director Marc Forster's shameless flattery of author Khaled Hosseini.