The Shaggy Dog
Tim Allen gains a whole new point of view on becoming a great dad when he's accidentally transformed into a great big dog in this update of the Disney family comedy classic. Workaholic D.A. Dave Douglas (Allen) takes on
his latest legal case, involving a criminal animal laboratory. It's yet another assignment that takes him away from his wife (Kristin Davis) and kids (Zena Grey and Spencer Breslin), who yearn for his attention. When Dave is accidentally infected with a top-secret
genetic-mutation serum, everything changes: he morphs into the body of the family's new pet Bearded Collie, and becomes the shaggy dog. With perked-up ears and a front row seat on the family carpet, Dave is able to gain an entirely different perspective into his
family's secrets and dreams. Inspired by what he discovers, Dave wants nothing more than to stop the evil genius (Robert Downey Jr.) behind the serum, and become man's -- and his family's -- best friend.
Vitals: Director: Brian Robbins. Stars: Tim Allen, Kristin Davis, Zena Grey, Spencer Breslin, Danny Glover, Robert Downey Jr., Jane Curtin, Philip Baker Hall. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 99
min., Comedy, Box office gross: $57.192 million,
V for Vendetta
Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, the film tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked man (Hugo Weaving)
known only as "V." Profoundly complex, V is at once literary, flamboyant, tender and intellectual, a man dedicated to freeing his fellow citizens from those who have terrorized them into compliance. He is also bitter, revenge-seeking, lonely and violent, driven by a
personal vendetta. In his quest to free the people of England from the corruption and cruelty that have poisoned their government, V condemns the tyrannical nature of their appointed leaders and invites his fellow citizens to join him in the shadows of Parliament on
November the 5th -- Guy Fawkes Day. On that day in 1605, Guy Fawkes was discovered in a tunnel beneath Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. He and his co-conspirators had engineered the treasonous 'Gunpowder Plot' in response to the tyranny of their
government under James I. Fawkes and his fellow saboteurs were hanged, drawn and quartered, and their plan to take down their government never came to pass. In the spirit of that rebellion, in remembrance of that day, V vows to carry out the plot that Fawkes was
executed for attempting on November 5th in 1605: he will blow up Parliament. As Evey uncovers the truth about V's mysterious past, she also discovers the truth about herself -- and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plan to ignite a revolution,
bringing freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.
Vitals: Director: James McTeigue. Stars: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rupert Graves, Roger Allam, Ben Miles, Sinead Cusack. 2006, CC,
MPAA rating: R, 132 min., Sci Fi, Box office gross: $70.511 million, Warner.
Denzel Washington stars as New York police detective Keith Miller, a tough, street-smart cop fighting for a promotion while trying to live down accusations of misconduct connected to his last case. When he and his partner are
dispatched to the scene of an in-progress bank robbery and hostage crisis, Miller must face off against a well-educated criminal (Clive Owen) masterminding a concisely plotted operation. As negotiations grow more strained, a powerful lawyer with mysterious ties (Jodie
Foster) becomes involved in the crisis... and Miller slowly begins to realize that in this ultimate game of cat and mouse, rules are arbitrary, all roles are up for grabs and the black-and-white of right an wrong has blurred to a shadowy landscape of gray.
Vitals: Director: Spike Lee. Stars: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 129 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $88.504
While taking its cues and its verbal style from the novels of Dashiell Hammett, this debit feature from Rian Johnson also honors the rich cinematic tradition of the hard-boiled noir mystery, here immersed in fresh territory -- a modern-day
Southern California neighborhood and high school. Student Brendan Frye's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) piercing intelligence spares no one. Brendan is not afraid to back up his words with actions, and knows all the angles; yet he prefers to stay an outsider, and does -- until
the day that his ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emilie de Ravin), reaches out to him unexpectedly and then vanishes. To find her, Brendan enlists the aid of his only true peer, The Brain (Matt O'Leary), while keeping the assistant vice principal (Richard Roundtree) only
occasionally informed of what quickly becomes a dangerous investigation. Brendan's single-minded unearthing of students' secrets thrusts him headlong into the colliding social orbits of rich-girl sophisticate Laura (Nora Zehetner), intimidating Tugger (Noah Fleiss),
substance-abusing Dode (Noah Segan), seductive Kara (Meagan Good), jock Brad (Brian White) and -- most ominously -- non-student The Pin (Lukas Haas). It's only by gaining acceptance into The Pin's closely guarded inner circle of crime and punishment that Brendan
will be able to uncover hard truths about himself, Emily and the suspects that he is getting closer to.
Vitals: Director: Rian Johnson. Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Noah Fleiss, Emilie de Ravin, Brian White. Meagan Good, Noah Segan, Matt O'Leary, Richard Roundtree.
2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 110 min., Drama, Box office gross: $2.060 million, Universal.
Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector
Larry the Cable Guy plays a big city health inspector who's happy with his usual beat of greasy spoon diners and low-rent ethnic restaurants. But his easygoing life is turned upside-down when he's
saddled with a straight-arrow rookie partner (Iris Bahr) and assigned the biggest case of his career: investigating an outbreak of mysterious food poisonings at the city's swankiest restaurants. Infuriating restaurateurs with his bad manners, Larry still manages to charm a
sweet, shy waitress (Megyn Price) into a budding romance. But when his unorthodox methods cost him his job, Larry has to go undercover to bring the conspirators to justice and 'Git-R-Done!'
Vitals: Director: Trent Cooper. Stars: Larry the Cable Guy, Iris Bahr, Megyn Price, David Koechner, Michael Papajohn, Phyllis Alexion, Brooke Dillman, Joanna Cassidy. 2006, CC, MPAA rating:
PG-13, 89 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $15.655 million, Paramount.
Don't Come Knocking
Sam Shepard stars as down-on-his-luck Western star Howard Spence who walks away from Hollywood in an effort to turn his life around. At the age of 60, Howard uses drugs, alcohol and young girls to avoid the
painful truth that there are only supporting roles left for him to play. After yet another night of debauchery in his trailer, Howard awakens in disgust to find that he is still alive, but that nobody in the world would have missed him if he had died. Howard gallops away
on his movie horse in full cowboy regalia, fleeing from the film and his life. His first stop is Elko Nevada, where his mother (Eva Marie Saint) informs him that he may have a grown son from a long-forgotten relationship. His next destination is Butte, Montana, the
location 25 years earlier where Howard shot the movie that made him a star. It was also where he had an affair with Doreen (Jessica Lange) who then, and now, is the waitress at the local coffee shop. She has a son, Earl (Gabriel Mann), a rock musician and singer living
in Butte with his girlfriend Amber (Fairuza Balk). Howard's meeting with Earl is violent and unsettling. Earl completely rejects this unknown father who appears too late in his life. Saddened by this encounter, Howard is ready to give up and leave Butte again, when out
of nowhere a young woman named Sky (Sarah Polley) appears. She is exactly the same age as Earl. She is, in fact, Howard's child, the product of another short fling that happened during the filming of the same movie: She's Earl's half-sister. These siblings do not know
about each other. That's when the real complications of this American family reunion begin. And things get more complicated by a private detective (Tim Roth) who has been sent by an insurance company for the film shoot to track Howard down.
Vitals: Director: Wim Wenders. Stars: Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth, Gabriel Mann, Sarah Polley, Fairuza Balk, Eva Marie Saint. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 122 min., Drama, Box office
gross: $.308 million, Sony.
Lost City, The
Havana in 1958 was a place of pleasure for many, but others were not happy under the rule of dictator Fulgencio Batista. As the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara prepared to move on the city,
Fico Fellove (Andy Garcia) -- owner of the city's classiest music nightclub, El Tropico -- struggled to hold together his family and the love of a woman (Ines Sastre). Observing all is the Comedian/Writer (Bill Murray), an ex-patriot American who sees his friend Fico
being drawn into events as the revolution changes everything. Though Fico watches a culture vanish and a people transformed, it is his love of Cuban music that keeps his memories alive.
Vitals: Director: Andy Garcia. Stars: Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, Dustin Hoffman, Ines Sastre. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 143 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.931 million, Magnolia Home
This is the strange, disturbing story of the Manderlay plantation. Manderlay lay on a lonely plain somewhere in the deep south of the USA. It was in the year of 1933 that Grace and her father had left the township of Dogville
behind them. Grace's father and his army of villains had spent the entire winter seeking out new hunting grounds in vain, and now they were heading south in one last attempt to find a favorable location in which to take up residence. By chance their cars stop in the state
of Alabama in front of a large iron gate bearing a thick chain and a padlock. Beside the gate, a dead oak tree towers over a heavy boulder with Manderlay hewn in monumental letters into the granite. Just as Grace, her father and his men are about to leave after a short
break and a quick lunch, a young black woman runs up to the car. She knocks on Grace's window. She hammers at the glass in despair. Ignoring her father's advice to leave others to their own affairs, Grace follows the girl through the gates of Manderlay and there, she
finds a group of people living as if slavery had not been abolished seventy years earlier, with white masters and black slaves. Grace believes that she has a duty to make it up to the slaves for injustices they have suffered at the hands of her kind: "We brought them here,
we abused them and made them what they are," as she argues to her father; and she decides that having liberated Manderlay, she will remain at the plantation until she has seen them through their first harvest. Her father grudgingly leaves her with four henchmen and a
lawyer, warning Grace that he won't be there to pick up the pieces when her plans for the resurrection of Manderlay fall apart. Third in Lars Von Trier's American trilogy (after "Dear Wendy" and "Dogville" with Nicole Kidman).
Vitals: Director: Lars Von Trier. Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe, Lauren Bacall, Isaach de Bankole. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 139 min., Drama, Box office gross:
$.078 million, Genius Products.
Scary Movie 4
Director David Zucker ("Airplane!," the "Naked Gun" franchise, "Scary Movie 3," and "Ruthless People") takes aim at some of the best fright films, the latest boxoffice hits, music, current events, pop culture, and your favorite
celebrities in this third sequel of sorts. Anna Faris and Regina Hall are back as the loveable, dim-witted Cindy Campbell and her self-serving, sex-crazed pal, Brenda, respectively -- joined this time around by Craig Bierko as the cute-but-utterly clueless Tom Ryan.
Together, they battle to save the world from a ruthless alien invasion. And, in true "Scary Movie" tradition, the outrageous celebrity cameos are non-stop. Those featured include: Carmen Electra, Shaquille O‚Neal, Dr. Phil, Bill Pullman, Chris Elliott, Molly Shannon,
Michael Madsen, rappers Chingy and Lil' John, Leslie Nielsen returning as our fearless Commander in Chief, plus many, many more.
Vitals: Director: David Zucker. Stars: Anthony Anderson, Craig Bierko, Chingy, Phil McGraw, Carmen Electra, Chris Elliott, Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Cloris Leachman, Michael Madsen, Bill
Pullman, Leslie Nielsen, Charlie Sheen, Molly Shannon, Shaquille O'Neal, Conchita Campbell, Youngbloodz. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 84 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $87.735 million, The Weinstein Co.
An overworked Bob Munro (Robin Williams), his wife Jamie (Cheryl Hines), their 15-year-old daughter Cassie (Joanna "JoJo" Levesque) and 12-year-old son Carl (Josh Hutcherson) are in desperate need of some quality time together. After
promising to take them on a family vacation in Hawaii, Bob abruptly changes plans without telling them. Instead of a week in a tropical paradise, they're going on a road trip to Colorado in a recreational vehicle. Dragging his wife and kids kicking and screaming into the
RV, Bob's togetherness plan (which is partly a ruse to keep him from losing his job) almost immediately hits a major speed bump. Everything that can go wrong, does. Bob's lame attempts to navigate the unwieldy, oversized vehicle are met with silence and scorn from
his resentful family. The RV life is a far cry from their comfortable life in Los Angeles, and every attempt Bob makes to get them into the spirit of the vacation threatens to tear them further apart. At an RV camp, the Munro family is befriended by the Gornicke family --
an irritatingly endearing happy-go-lucky clan of full-time RVers. The more they try to elude the Gornickes, the more their paths seem destined to cross. But adversity has a way of uniting even the most dysfunctional family members and each setback the Munros
experience inadvertently helps them become a true family again.
Vitals: Director: Barry Sonnenfeld. Stars: Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels, Cheryl Hines, Joanna "JoJo" Levesque, Kristin Chenoweth. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 102 min., Comedy, Box office gross:
$57.301 million, Sony.
Based on Carl Hiaasen's Newbery Award-winning book, "Hoot" revolves around a young boy who moves to Florida where he tries to solve an ecological mystery involving endangered owls, an assortment of other unusual creatures, and
group of eccentric adults. Roy Eberhardt (Logan Lerman) is constantly moving from state to state due to his father's job. After moving from Montana to the laid-back, tropical Coconut Cove, Florida, Roy has trouble fitting in and avoiding the curse of the new kid. After
befriending two other outcasts, he's informed about a disturbing threat to a local population of endangered owls taking place at the construction site for the new Mother Paula's All-American Pancake House. Determined to protect the creatures, Roy and his friends must
take on greedy land developers, corrupt politicians and clueless cops as they fight to prevent the destruction of the owls and their natural home.
Vitals: Director: Wil Shriner. Stars: Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, Cody Linley, Luke Wilson. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 91 min., Family adventure, Box office gross: $8.080 million, New
Based on the best-selling horror action game, "Silent Hill" stars Radha Mitchell as Rose, a desperate mother who takes her adopted daughter, Sharon, to the town of Silent Hill in an attempt to cure her of her ailment. After a violent
car crash, Sharon disappears and Rose begins her desperate search to get her back. She descends into a fog of smoldering ash and into the center of the twisted reality of a town's terrible secret. Pursued by grotesquely deformed creatures and a townspeople stuck in
permanent purgatory, Rose begins to uncover the truth behind the apocalyptic disaster that burned the town 30 years back.
Vitals: Director: Christophe Gans. Stars: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 127 min., Horror, Box
office gross: $46.309 million, Warner.
Remake of 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure." When a rogue wave capsizes a luxury cruise ship in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean on New Year's Eve, a small group of survivors find themselves unlikely allies in a battle for
their lives. Preferring to test the odds alone, career gambler John Dylan (Josh Lucas) ignores captain's orders (Andre Braugher) to wait below for possible rescue and sets out to find his own way to safety. What begins as a solo mission soon draws others as Dylan is
followed by a desperate father (Kurt Russell) searching for his daughter (Emmy Rossum) and her fiance. Along the way they are joined by a single mother (Jacinda Barrett) and her wise-beyond-his-years son, an anxious stowaway and a despondent fellow passenger
(Richard Dreyfuss) who boarded the ship not sure he wanted to live but now knows he doesn't want to die. Determined to fight their way to the surface, the group sets off through the disorienting maze of twisted steel in the upside-down wreckage. As the unstable vessel
rapidly fills with water each must draw on skills and strengths they didn't even know they possessed, fighting against time for their own survival and for each other.
Vitals: Director: Wolfgang Petersen. Stars: Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett, Emmy Rossum, Andre Braugher. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 98 min., Adventure, Box
office gross: $59.784 million, Warner.
Just My Luck
Ashley Albright (Lindsay Lohan) is the luckiest woman in the world, a person to whom all the good things in life have come far too easily. She can pick a lottery ticket at random and hit the jackpot. In New York, the world's
busiest city, Ashley never has to wait for a cab. And she has a terrific job as an account exec at a prestigious public relations firm. Everything goes Ashley's way. Now, she's been given a great opportunity to advance her career: she is to plan a masquerade ball in
downtown Manhattan for record mogul Damon Phillips (Faizon Love) and his company. Jake (Chris Pine), on the other hand, is a bad luck magnet. His skies are always raining; his pants are always on the verge of splitting at the seams. His job is cleaning toilets at a
bowling alley. But even a steady bombardment of catastrophes doesn't dim Jake's dreams. He thinks he may have his chance at the brass ring with his discovery of a rock band McFly. If Jake can keep his bad luck at bay for just one night, he'll sneak into a masquerade
ball and get McFly's CD into the hands of music titan Damon Phillips. On this night when dreams can be made or broken, fate brings Ashley and Jake together on the dance floor. Instantly taken with one another, they share an electrifyingly kiss -- and with that one
kiss, their luck switches places. Suddenly, Ashley's dress rips. Her heel breaks. Her good luck seems to have finally run out. Jake, in his rush to catch Phillips before he leaves, ends up saving the record mogul's life and earning with that one simple twist of fate, the
chance to make all his dreams come true. Now Ashley plots against Jake to reverse her newly jinxed existence -- until she finds herself falling for him. Vitals: Director: Donald Petrie. Stars: Lindsay Lohan,
Chris Pine, Faizon Love, Missi Pyle. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Teen Comedy, Box office gross: $17.105 million, Fox.
Comedy about frustrated plus-size women obsessed with their weight while struggling to find love and acceptance in a world full of "hot bodied" babes. Mo'Nique stars as Jazmin Biltmore, a smart-mouthed plus-sized aspiring fashion
designer who's tired of taking 'no' for an answer. She has big plans for large ladies -- she's designed a sexy line of clothes for curvaceous women like herself. But when she can't get funding for her designs or meet a man who appreciates her unique physique, her
patience starts running thin. Until she wins an all-expense-paid trip to Palm Springs, where she just might meet the man of her dreams. Vitals: Director: Nnegest Likke. Stars: Mo'Nique, Jimmy Jean-Louis,
Kendra C. Johnson, Joyful Drake, Dayo Ade, Jack Noseworthy, Felix Pire, Eric Roberts. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 98 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $6.963 million, Fox.
Sketches of Frank Gehry
Frank Gehry has been responsible for the design of some of the most stunning buildings in the world, including The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the Experience
Music Project in Seattle. As Gehry explains to director Sydney Pollack in this documentary, he begins each project by sketching the design. This love for the sketch motivated Pollack to try to capture that quality in his film by using a combination of film and Mini DV
(digital video). Spending countless hours in Gehry's studio, on building sites, and in his home, this quiet and unobtrusive shooting style has captured, for the first time, the essence of Gehry's unique architectural process, and his shy and elusive personality. As a
counterpoint, Pollack captures on film the grandeur of some of Gehry's most remarkable architectural accomplishments. In addition, Pollack interviewed many of Gehry's greatest admirers including actor Dennis Hopper, musician Bob Geldof and entertainment executives
Barry Diller, Michael Eisner and Michael Ovitz.
Vitals: Director: Sydney Pollack. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 84 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $.281 million, Sony.
When Do We Eat?
Story of the "world's fastest Passover seder" gone horribly awry. It's about an old school dad (Michael Lerner) who's as tough on his sons as his father (Jack Klugman) is on him. On this night, however, one of the boys
(Ben Feldman) slips Dad a dose of special, hallucinogenic Ecstasy in order "to give him a new perspective." Meanwhile, Mom (Lesley Ann Warren) brings a handsome stranger to dinner and the kids take sides. By the end of the night, however, Dad's visions turn him
into a modern day Moses intent on leading this hungry group to the promised land of family forgiveness. Of course they're all so stubborn, it would be easier to part the Red Sea.
Vitals: Director: Salvador Litvak. Stars: Michael Lerner, Lesley Ann Warren, Jack Klugman, Meredith Scott Lynn, Shiri Appleby, Mili Avital, Ben Feldman. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 86 min.,
Comedy, Box office gross: $.428 million, Hart Sharp Video.
Friends With Money
Examines the shifting relationships between four women who have been friends all of their adult lives. The three "friends with money," Frannie (Joan Cusack), Jane (Francis McDormand), and Christine (Catherine Keener),
share a concern for Olivia (Jennifer Aniston) who seems unable to make a living or sustain a relationship -- at least by their standards. Their group examination of her lack of options magnifies each of their own doubts and concerns about the marriages and careers to
which they have committed themselves. Olivia, meanwhile, drifts through each of her friends' lives, at times avoiding the issue of money altogether, and at other times accepting her friends' painful generosity. Ultimately, Olivia will find satisfaction and stability from an
unexpected place, but her own somewhat happy ending is muted by the harsh reality of the suddenly disassembled lives of her best friends.
Vitals: Director: Nicole Holofcener. Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Greg Germann, Simon McBurney, Jason Isaacs, Scott Caan. 2006, CC, MPAA rating:
R, 88 min., Drama, Box office gross: $12.464 million, Sony.
A suspense film based on the novel by former Secret Service agent Gerald Petievich. Special Agent Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) suspects that the neo-Nazi Aryan Disciples have positioned one of their own in the White House,
but his investigation is cut short by a blackmailer who knows of his affair with the First Lady Sarah Ballentine (Kim Basinger) and tries to frame him for murder. Though he is officially relieved of his duties, Garrison doesn't stop trying to prove his innocence and save
the president's life. He comes into a direct confrontation with his protege, hardheaded Agent Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland).
Vitals: Director: Clark Johnson. Stars: Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, Kim Basinger, Blair Brown, David Rasche. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 108 min., Thriller, Box office
gross: $35.249 million, Fox.
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
Comedian Albert Brooks gets summoned by politician-actor Fred Dalton Thompson to come to Washington to help in a new diplomatic effort. His job? Spend a month in India and Pakistan and write a
500-page report telling the U.S. government what makes 300 million Muslims in the region laugh. While Brooks isn't sure he's the man for the job, the possibility of a Medal of Freedom proves irresistible and he accepts. With the aid of two government agents, Stuart
(John Carrol Lynch), Mark (Jon Tenney), and a lovely assistant, Maya (Sheetal Sheth), Brooks starts the interviewing process, as soon as he lands in India, asking everyone, "What makes you laugh?" Since people aren't as forthcoming as he would like, and when he
discovers there are no comedy clubs in India or Pakistan that would help him observe, he decides to put on "The Big Show," the first comedy concert in New Delhi. He figures that by what the audience laughs at, he'll get what he needs for his important government
assignment. He figures wrong. Undaunted, Brooks continues his quest, doing everything from a clandestine meeting with a group of Pakistani comedians, to a business meeting with Al Jezeera, all in the hopes of achieving his goal. The film is an inspired and comedic
view of America's approach towards other cultures.
Vitals: Director: Albert Brooks. Stars: Albert Brooks, Fred Dalton Thompson, Penny Marshall, John Carrol Lynch, Jon Tenney, Sheetal Sheth. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 98 min., Comedy, Box
office gross: $.887 million, Warner.
"Water" tells the story of eight-year-old Chuyia, an Indian girl who is widowed following her arranged marriage and banished to an ashram to live out her days in poverty and exile. But the girl's feisty presence deeply affects the other
residents, forcing each to confront their faith and society's prejudices. "Water" was seven years in the making. The fierce political controversy the film stirred up made it impossible for director Deepa Mehta to make her film in India. With her sets burned to the ground
and constant death threats, she was forced to move production to Sri Lanka. In Hindi with English subtitles.
Vitals: Director: Deepa Mehta. Stars: Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Waheeda Rehman. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 117 min., Drama, Box office gross: $2.326 million,
Take the Lead
Antonio Banderas stars in this drama inspired by the true story of Pierre Dulaine, an inspirational Manhattan dance teacher and competitor who volunteers his time to teach ballroom dancing to a diverse group of New York
inner-city high school students serving detention. The students are initially skeptical of Dulaine, especially when they learn what he's there to teach them, but his unwavering commitment and dedication slowly inspire them to embrace his program. In fact, they even take
it one step further and combine Dulaine's classical dance with their unique hip-hop style and music to create a high-energy, unique fusion. As Dulaine becomes a mentor for his students, many of whom haven't had much to strive towards in their lives, he inspires them to
hone their craft for a prestigious city ballroom competition, and in return they share with each other valuable lessons about pride, respect and honor.
Vitals: Director: Liz Friedlander. Stars: Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta, Alfre Woodard. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 108 min., Drama, Box office gross: $34.703 million, New
#Akeelah and the Bee
An inspirational drama about Akeelah Anderson (Keke Palmer), a precocious 11-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of her mother Tanya (Angela Bassett), Akeelah enters various spelling contests, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne); her principal Mr. Welch (Curtis Armstrong) and the proud residents of her neighborhood. Akeelah's aptitude earns her an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and in turn unites her neighborhood, who witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing little girl. Vitals: Director: Doug Atchison. Stars: Keke Palmer, Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Jeff Marlow, Sara Niemietz, Eddie Steeples, Curtis Armstrong. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 112 min., Drama, Box office gross: $18.811 million, Lionsgate.
All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a
Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center),
and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.