Clockwise from upper left: Splinterheads, Ghost World, An Education, House of the Devil.
Opening. Amiable and pleasant, Splinterheads revolves around a romance between Justin (Thomas Middleditch), an aimless small town dreamer, and Galaxy (Rachael Taylor), a gorgeous grifter who (literally) bumps into him at a gas station. She's more interested in separating him from his money than getting to know the lunkhead within, while he quickly decides that he's met the love of his life -- or, even better, a reason to leave his upstate New York world behind and start living for himself instead of his mother and grandfather.
Brent Sersen (Blackballed) is a better director than writer; the characters hold few surprises and the plot's trajectory threatens to die of old age before it reaches its pre-ordained conclusion. Still, he takes advantage of a visiting carnival and the grifter's obsession with geocaching, a variation on treasure hunting, to string together several lyrical interludes and enough laughs to deserve a recommendation. Dean Winters, Lea Thompson, and Christopher McDonald provide reliable support. Splinterheads opens in New York on Friday and expands to other cities the following week; check the official site for theaters and showtimes. Also opening in New York the same day: Collapse, Chris Smith's latest doc (more from last week and the exclusive poster debut).
On-Demand / Online Viewing. Terry Zwigoff's adaptation of Daniel Clowes' graphic novel Ghost World departs from the source material quite abruptly, but still remains faithful to the dark spirit of loneliness that haunts the characters. Thora Birch, Scarlett Johannson, and Steve Buscemi star. It's now available on FilmBuff, Cinetic's cable on-demand channel; check local listings to watch this essential indie at home.
After the jump: Who educated the devil?