Director-screenwriter Paul Weitz keeps the ball rolling and manages to toss in some other verbal nuggets when Quaid’s wife (Marg Helgenberger) announces she is pregnant. The guy’s still got the juices flowing, which provides further fodder for Weitz’s jaundiced look at life in both the boardroom and the bedroom. But then the movie wobbles. Seems that the married Duryea has marital problems and ends up starting a romance with Quaid’s daughter, played by Scarlett Johansson. The biting satire starts to sag. The movie becomes a hide-the-romance comedy, and the new subplot drags down the goings-on. One of the big problems is that Grace and Johansson have utterly no sparks between them. You watch wondering if she’s going to be a one-hit wonder (Lost In Translation being the hit). How does somebody with such on-screen presence in one film suddenly become a shadow in another? Weitz knows how to draw blood with words and deeds. Quaid and Grace develop a resigned understanding between each other at the office and the audience enjoys their interaction. It’s what goes on behind closed doors that might have done in the movie. Fortunately, there are enough strong points, namely Weitz’s eye and ear for drawing comic blood and the acting of Quaid and Grace. Helgenberger is also good, as is David Paymer as an executive. In Good Company overcomes its weaknesses.

White Noise is a supernatural horror thriller that is not horrific, not thrilling, and frankly, not very supernatural. The idea is that there’s a growing cult out there in which a lot of folks take tape recorders to cemeteries to record the voices of dead people. The whole thing is gathered together under the letters EVP and the movie is about this growing interest in EVP, but it never really takes us into the cult itself, choosing to concentrate on a widower who hears about EVP. Michael Keaton is a well-off architect whose wife dies. He’s visited by a loony sort of guy who says that Keaton’s wife can be heard on an audio tape reaching out to the living. Keaton occasionally sees his wife smack her hands and face against the television screen – from inside the television. Eventually the movie ends. Not much else goes on. There are few jolts and it all gets rather silly. White Noise may actually be a title that trades in self-mockery.

If you like your horror gruesome, and many of you do, then head to the University Plaza starting Saturday, January 29 for a five-week series of odd-ball features called Midnight Movie Madness At The Amherst Theatre. Some wonderfully surreal films, and some hilariously bloody, have been selected by the Amherst’s farsighted manager, Greg Lamberson. The movies begin at the stroke of twelve, so you buy your ticket late Saturday night and then enjoy a solid slate of adventures in weirdness.

One of my all-time favorite movies of the past decade, Donnie Darko, from 2001, will be shown January 29. This will be the never-before-seen-in-Buffalo Director’s Cut (released in 2004) of this brilliant cult movie. There are new scenes, new special effects, and new revelations.

On February 5, writer-producer Roy Frumkes himself will introduce the Director’s Cut of Street Trash. Lamberson’s series flyer promotes the movie as containing “sex, nudity, violence, gore, and buckets of slime,” which, of course, makes for a perfect night out. After the 1987 film, Frumkes will take questions from the audience.

A movie considered essential viewing for horror buffs follows on February 12; therefore, you can celebrate Lincoln’s birthday by relishing Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn from Sam Raimi. Starring cult hero Bruce Campbell, the 1987 feature arrives unrated so keeps the kiddies away from the violence and gore.

Before he was an Academy Award winner for his Lord Of The Rings series, director Peter Jackson was a strange puffy lad in New Zealand making horror films. He also made a whacked-out puppet feature Meet The Feebles, a movie I loathe. Anyway, Jackson’s Dead Alive (from 1992) is on the agenda for February 19. It also arrives unrated for violence and gore. This is one gruesome, albeit comic, movie, so be forewarned.

The series ends with a classic, The Exorcist from director William Friedkin, based on William Peter Blatty’s smash bestselling novel. This is the granddaddy of devil movies and it rocked and rolled back when it was released in 1973. How does it hold up? See for yourself on February 26.

Lamberson has high hopes that the series goes well. If it does, more midnight movies will follow. Tickets for the Midnight Movie Madness At The Amherst Theatre will be $8.00 for adults and $6.00 for Students and Seniors. The multi-talented Mr. Lamberson’s also got a novel coming out on Valentine’s Day, but it isn’t a love story. It’s a horror thriller entitled “Personal Demons.” Well, would you expect anything else? Look for it at a bookstore near you. By Michael Calleri ALT Movie Editor

There are some terrific things about In Good Company, a sharp-witted, hard-edged satire about corporate politics where youth beats out experience. Unfortunately, not everything in the picture reaches that level. A love story tossed into the mix causes the feature to falter. But for most of its running time, In Good Company has what it takes to hold your interest. Dennis Quaid is pitch-perfect as the head of advertising sales at Sports America magazine. He’s climbed the ladder of success with style and solid smarts and is good at what he does. Unfortunately, after a conglomerate buys out the company, Quaid is replaced – not fired, but demoted. Lots of fresh-faced young Turks are roaming the halls to slash budgets and save money. Quaid’s replacement is Carter Duryea, 26 and as callow an executive as you could possibly imagine. Topher Grace is the new head of Quaid’s department. At the relatively nimble corporate age of 51, Quaid is made to feel like an old horse put out to pasture. There’s superb interaction and engaging by-play between Quaid and Grace and the movie has some important things to say about the worth of an employee and the value of age and experience. Executives with gray hair better start reaching for the Just For Men.