Zachary Quinto as Peter Sullivan and Penn Badgley as Seth...

Zachary Quinto as Peter Sullivan and Penn Badgley as Seth Bregman in " Margin Call" , written and directed by J.C. Chandor. In Theatres October 21st, 2011. Credit: Roadside Attractions

It's always exciting when Hollywood finds a way to tap into a zeitgeist. Watching a movie that reflects our collective mood can feel like a validation: Like the song says, there's something happening here.

What's happening is a groundswell of anger aimed at America's rich and powerful. It's a bipartisan anger, too, radiating from liberals, conservatives, tea partyers, occupiers. That means a potentially big audience for any movie willing to address the issues.

One is "Margin Call," which opened Friday at local theaters. It's a drama about the 2008 financial crisis, starring Kevin Spacey, JeremyIrons, Zachary Quinto and others. In this telling, an unnamed firm (Lehman? Goldman?) foolishly places too many bad bets, then saves itself by dumping its paper and dooming the economy. The credits roll before anyone starts mulling a bailout -- but we've already seen that ending.

"In Time," a sci-fi flick starring Justin Timberlake, was also released Friday. It takes place in a future where time is money and only the rich can live forever. But isn't that much like the present, in which the poor really do die younger than the wealthy? Like most dystopian movies, "In Time" offers some glib system-bucking rhetoric, but it also gives new urgency to the phrase "cost of living."

Then there's the release this Friday of "Tower Heist," in which Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy attempt to steal back money from a Madoff-like con-man (Alan Alda). It's a comedy directed by Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour"), which doesn't exactly suggest trenchant commentary. Nevertheless, a clear theme is developing. Perhaps we really are living in interesting times.

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