A dozen characters in search of connection collide in screenwriter Paul Haggis' ambitious feature-directing debut. Set in Los Angeles over the course of an unseasonably cold 36 hours, this sprawling ensemble drama suggests what Robert Altman's SHORT CUTS (1993) or P.T. Anderson's MAGNOLIA (1999) would be if they'd been built around bullet points and discussion topics. That sounds like a criticism, but it isn't: Haggis, whose writing credits include MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004), raises issues of race, economics and class so thorny that most movies swaddle them in layers of distraction. Ambitious white DA Rick (Brendan Fraser) and his high-strung wife, Jean (Sandra Bullo...