Seen and reviewed (Sept. 18)

New films in theaters this week:

— “Afghan Star” (not rated), a documentary about a Middle-Eastern reality-television competition. Persian with subtitles.
— “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs ” (rated PG), an animated feature based on the popular kid’s book.
— “Cold Souls” (rated PG-13), a surrealist comedy-fantasy starring Paul Giamatti.
— “The Informant!” (rated R), a comedy-drama starring Matt Damon as a real-life corporate whistle-blower.
— “Jennifer’s Body” (rated R), a horror-comedy, with Megan Fox playing a man-eating teen.
— “Lorna’s Silence” (rated R), a downbeat drama about illegal Belgian immigrants. French with subtitles.
— “Love Happens” (rated PG-13). Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston star in this romantic comedy/bereavement hybrid.
— “My One and Only” (rated PG-13), a comedy-drama about George Hamilton’s formative years. Renee Zellweger stars.

Poster art courtesy Columbia Pictures

Because of a previously scheduled, charitable obligation I was unable to see “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.” The early reviews have been mostly positive for the film, though.

However, the week’s art-house film releases are all worthwhile. “Aghan Star” sneaks in glimpses of everyday life in Afghanistan, the performances are good in the bleak “Lorna’s Silence,” and “Cold Souls” boasts yet another terrific turn by Giamatti. (The latter will appeal to fans of oddball screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.)

That’s a good thing, as it turns out. The bigger studio releases are, for the most part, pretty bad.

As “Jennifer’s” main character, negligibly talented actress Fox sounds ridiculous spouting Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody snarky dialogue. And neither of the likable stars can salvage the overly quirky, cliched “Love Happens.”

Luckily, the predictable “My One and Only” has Zellweger and co-stars Logan Lerman (who plays the teenage George Hamilton) and Kevin Bacon in its favor.

Poster art courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

And Damon’s goofy performance — he packed on some pounds and wears unflattering hair to play the character — is the selling point of “The Informant!” The film is overwritten and overdirected, though he does make it watchable.

Which, if any, of these movies fit into your weekend viewing plans?

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