Marking a welcome return to the breezy style of Thelma & Louise, Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men reminds us that the director of Gladiator is equally adept with quirky comedies and offbeat characters. Smoothly adapted from the novel by Eric Garcia and set amidst the sunlit, 1950s-style architecture of L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, this gently dramatic comedy centers on Roy (Nicolas Cage), a divorcée whose career as a con artist is complicated by: (1) his ongoing struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder, which manifests itself through various quirks and rituals; (2) a wily partner (Sam Rockwell) whose criminal ambitions are greater than Roy suspects; and (3) the arrival of 14-year-old Angela (Alison Lohman), claiming to be the daughter he's never known. Turns out she's got a knack for dad's profession, and that turns Matchstick Men into a multilayered comedy with unexpected twists and surprising revelations. To say more would spoil the fun; suffice it to say that Hans Zimmer's playful score and a Sinatra-laced soundtrack are perfect complements to Cage's engaging eccentricities. --Jeff Shannon
Look, Doc, I spent last Tuesday watching fibers on my carpet. And the whole time I was watching my carpet, I was worrying that I, I might vomit. And the whole time, I was thinking, "I'm a grown man. I should know what goes on my head." And the more I thought about it... the more I realized that I should just blow my brains out and end it all. But then I thought, well, if I thought more about blowing my brains out... I start worrying about what that was going to do to my goddamn carpet. Okay, so, ah-he, that was a GOOD day, Doc. And, and I just want you to give me some pills and let me get on with my life.