Matthew McConaughey had the McConaissance.
So what do we call the ongoing rebirth of Scarlett Johansson’s career?
After bursting onto the scene in 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” the actress drifted a bit, aside from Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige” and a stint as Woody Allen’s muse in “Match Point” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”
But Johansson has been on a roll ever since joining the Marvel universe in “Iron Man 2.” She’s been balancing those blockbusters with terrific work in smaller films, such as “Don Jon” and “Her.”
And they don’t get much smaller than “Under the Skin.”
More people will see Johansson in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday than will see “Under the Skin” during its entire run.
Best described as “challenging,” Jonathan Glazer’s experimental sci-fi film finds an otherworldly Johansson driving around Scotland, asking male pedestrians for directions, and giving many of them a ride. The first bit of dialogue doesn’t arrive for a full 15 minutes. The first meaningful bit, anything beyond small talk, never does. “Under the Skin” is the “All Is Lost” of predatory alien movies.
With its old-school screechy string music, jarring, even eye-straining visuals and the way Glazer lets scenes linger 30 seconds to a minute longer than is practical, the exquisitely odd “Under the Skin” feels like a really ambitious student film. That has nothing to do with its quality. It’s mostly because movies like that — assuming there are any other movies like that — rarely get more than a modest theatrical release.
It’s also a good thing “Under the Skin” is playing only at the Suncoast and not one of the Galaxy theaters with their comfy recliners, or no one would see the end of it.
With wide, vacant eyes and an expressionless face that spring to life only whenever she’s in stalker mode, Johansson speaks only when absolutely necessary. When she’s done, it’s as though a switch has turned off. It’s a terrifically understated performance.
Johansson has carried “Her” with only her voice and “Under the Skin” with little more than her body language.
If she ever fully connects the two, watch out.
■ On the road: “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” (6 p.m. Sunday, CNN) comes to Las Vegas with stops including Huntridge Tavern and é by José Andrés, as well as visits with Penn Jillette and Oscar Goodman.
■ Special screening: For many of you, it wouldn’t be Easter without “The Ten Commandments.” See a digitally restored version at 2 p.m. Sunday or 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Orleans, Sam’s Town, Santa Fe, South Point and Suncoast.
Contact Christopher Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4567.