Shot on location in Manhattan and Southern Africa, "The Interpreter" is the first motion picture in history to receive inside access to the United Nations headquarters (which is officially international territory) in New York. The
escalating events in this dramatic thriller begin when African-born U.N. translator Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman) alleges that she has overheard a death threat against an African head of state, spoken in a rare dialect few people other than Silvia can understand. With the
words "The Teacher will never leave this room alive," in an instant, Silvia's life is turned upside down as she becomes a hunted target of the killers. Placed under the protection of federal agent Tobin Keller (Sean Penn), Silvia's world only grows more nightmarish. As
Keller digs deeper into his eyewitness' past and her secretive world of global connections, the more suspicious he becomes that she herself might be involved in the conspiracy. With every step of the way, he finds more reasons to mistrust her. Is Sylvia a victim? A
suspect? Or something else entirely? And can Tobin, coping with his own personal heartache, keep her safe? Though they must depend on one another, Silvia and Tobin couldn't be more different. Silvia's strengths are words, diplomacy and the subtleties of meaning,
while Tobin is all about instinct, action and reading into the most primal human behaviors. Now, as the danger of a major assassination on U.S. soil grows and Silvia's life hangs in the balance, Silvia and Tobin play out a gripping dance of evasion and revelation that
keeps them both guessing as they race to stop a terrifying international crisis before it's too late.
Director: Sydney Pollack. Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Jesper Christensen, Yvan Attal, Earl Cameron, George Harris. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 128 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $73.000 million, Universal, $29.98 VHS
The Amityville Horror
On November 14, 1974, police received a
frantic phone call that led them to a grisly crime scene at the Defeo residence
in Amityville, Long Island -- an entire family had been slaughtered in their
beds. In the days that followed, Ronald Defeo confessed to methodically shooting
his parents and four siblings while they slept. He claimed "voices" in the house
drove him to commit the murders. One year later, George (Ryan Reynolds) and
Kathy Lutz (Melissa George) and their children moved into the house, thinking it
would be their dream home. But shortly after settling in, bizarre and
unexplainable events began to occur -- nightmarish visions and haunting voices
from an evil presence still lurking within the house. Confused and frightened by
her daughter Chelsea's cryptic interaction with an imaginary friend named Jodie,
Kathy struggles to hold her family together as George's increasingly strange
behavior finds him spending days and nights in the basement of the house, where
he soon discovers a passageway to a mysterious and gruesome "Red Room." With
lucid visions and evil voices swirling through George's head, the house comes
alive in a terrifying climax that finds him carrying out the spine-chilling
events that would become forever known as The Amityville Horror. Twenty-eight
days after moving in, the Lutzes abandoned the home, lucky to escape with their
lives. Now, 30 years after the shocking real-life events that inspired one of
the most popular horror stories of all time, director Andrew Douglas attempts
this remake. A good try that pushes all the right buttons ... but not all the
right scary doors open. Director: Andrew Douglas. Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa
George, Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett, Chloe Moretz, Rachel Nichols, Philip Baker
Hall. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Horror, Box office gross: $64.255
million, MGM/Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
A frumpy seamstress' life takes extraordinary turns after a series of tragic events befall her family, prompting her to become a fugitive. Japanese stage actress Naomi Fujiyama gives a tour-de-force performance as a virginal, socially
awkward woman who embarks on an oddly liberating odyssey through provincial Japan in which she encounters a gallery of memorable characters. International award-winning director Junji Sakamoto's darkly comic picaresque tale is a gripping portrait of an unexpected
heroine. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Director: Junji Sakamoto. Stars: Naomi Fujiyama, Michiyo Ookusu, Kankuro Nakamura, Hiroyuki Sato, Etsushi Toyokawa. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 123 min., Drama, Home Vision Entertainment. DVD only.
Inch by harrowing inch, "The Tunnel" tells the incredible true story of a massive underground escape attempt from East to West Berlin. Anti-communist East German swimming champion Harry Melchior (Heino Ferch) narrowly
escapes the Communist regime just after the Berlin Wall is completed, and is determined to rescue his beloved sister, whom he was forced to leave behind. This international award-winning drama is a gripping and suspenseful thriller. In German with English subtitles.
Director: Roland Suso Richter. Stars: Sebastian Koch, Alexandra Maria Lara, Mehmet Kurtulus, Nicolette Krebitz, Felix Eitner, Heino Ferch. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 167 min., Home Vision Entertainment. DVD only.
My Summer of Love
Mona (Nathalie Press) has just got hold of a brilliant moped that only cost a "tenner." No engine but still dirt-cheap. She lives with her brother, Phil, (Paddy Considine) who used to run a pub before he found God and
poured away all the booze. Tamsin (Emily Blunt) is rich, spoiled and trying to live a life of seductive decadence. They meet on the moors, above their quiet Yorkshire village and begin an intense, unlikely friendship. Tamsin is tragic and fantastical, Mona, rough and
witty. Tamsin is charmed and Mona is hooked. Tamsin and Mona want to escape their lives but Phil wants to save them and save everybody else. Mona wants the old, dangerous, Phil back; the brother that she loved. Tamsin wants to see what it takes to break him.
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski. Stars: Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine, Dean Andrews, Michelle Byrne. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 86 min., Comedy drama, Box office gross: $0.965 million, Universal, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Jiminy Glick in Lalawood
Jiminy Glick (Martin Short), an entertainment critic for a television station in Butte, Montana, arrives at the Toronto Film Festival, a complete unknown, intent on finding fame among the rich, famous and fabulous.
His dreams of becoming the most celebrated and renowned star interviewer are realized when he is granted an exclusive with elusive young megastar Ben DiCarlo (Corey Pearson). This catapults Jiminy from obscurity to being the most talked about guy in town.
Filmmakers and studio executives want to schmooze him and every actor wants to be interviewed by him, including fading Hollywood star Miranda Coolidge (Elizabeth Perkins). When Miranda is later found dead in Jiminy's bed, he thinks he is to blame and suddenly
gets embroiled in a murder mystery whodunit complete with sex, scandal, rappers and glamorous celebrities. Incredible flop.
Director: Vadim Jean. Stars: Martin Short, Jan Hooks, Linda Cardellini, Janeane Garofalo, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Perkins. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $0.025 million, MGM/Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for
Kicking and Screaming
Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall star in a lively comedy about the cutthroat,
hyper-competitive world of little league soccer. Ferrell stars as Phil Weston,
an average Joe who's had to put up all his life with his overly competitive
father, Buck (Duvall). When Phil decides to coach his 10-year-old son's soccer
team the Tigers, he goes head-to-head for the league championship against Buck,
who coaches his own young son on the preeminent team of the league. Phil truly
believes it's not whether you win or lose but if your soul gets nurtured, but a
lifetime of putting up with Buck's overbearing ways finally takes its toll.
Eventually, as Phil and Buck go head-to-head for the soccer league championship,
the pair's past and constant rivalry spins wildly out of control, forcing each
to stop at nothing to ensure a winning season. This includes a now-maniacal Phil
recruiting the world's best assistant coach, the legendary Mike Ditka (played by
none other than Mike Ditka), as well as two young Italian soccer prodigies who
become the Tigers' secret weapons. Can father and son put their rocky past
behind, do what's best for their own children (and grandchild!) and realize that
soccer is just a game? Not a chance! Funny outing will please the whole family.
Director: Jesse Dylan. Stars: Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Mike Ditka, Kate Walsh, Musetta Vander, Dylan McLaughlin, Josh Hutcherson. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 95 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $52.114 million, Universal, No VHS SRP, Priced for
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Based on Ann Brashares' best-selling novel, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is about a special summer in the lives of four lifelong friends who are separated for the first time. On a shopping trip,
the young women find a pair of thrift-shop jeans that fits each of them perfectly and decide to use these pants as a way of keeping in touch over the months ahead, each one wearing the jeans for a week to see what luck they bring her before sending them on to the next.
Though miles apart, the four friends still experience life, love and loss together in a summer they'll never forget.
Director: Ken Kwapis. Stars: Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Jenna Boyd, Bradley Whitford, Nancy Travis, Rachel Ticot, Mike Vogel. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 119 min., Warner, Box office gross: $37.476 million, Warner,
No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Unleashed (aka Danny the Dog)
Written and produced by Luc
Besson, the action drama headlines international martial arts superstar Jet Li.
On and beneath the meanest streets of Glasgow, fiery gangster Bart (Bob Hoskins)
is merciless with debtors, would-be rivals, and anyone else to whom he takes
even a passing dislike. How does Bart maintain his chokehold? Through his
unwitting enforcer Danny (Jet Li), who he has "raised" since boyhood. Danny has
been kept as a near-prisoner by his "Uncle" Bart; trained to attack and, if
necessary, kill. Danny knows little of life, except the brutal existence that
Bart has so crudely and cruelly fashioned for him. But when Danny has a chance
encounter with soft-spoken blind piano tuner Sam (Morgan Freeman), he senses
true kindness and compassion for the first time and experiences the transforming
power of music. When a sudden gangland coup separates Danny from Bart and his
mob, Danny is at last away from the underworld. He takes refuge with Sam and his
spunky teenaged stepdaughter Victoria (Kerry Condon). Sam and Victoria open
their home and hearts to Danny, who begins to envision a new future for himself.
However, the mob will not give up its prize pupil so easily, and Danny must soon
fight again, and fight back, to protect his new family and bury his troubled
Director: Louis Leterrier. Stars: Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry
Condon. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 102 min., Action, Box office gross:
$24.380 million, Universal, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Kingdom of Heaven
Director Ridley Scott turns to the Crusades --
that world-shaping 200-year collision between Europe and the East -- to frame
the tale of a young Frenchman who discovers his destiny as a knight, then lives
out what that glorious title really means. Orlando Bloom stars as Balian, a
blacksmith who has lost his family and nearly lost his faith. The religious wars
raging in the far-off Holy Land seem remote to him, yet he is pulled into that
immense drama. Amid the pageantry and intrigues of medieval Jerusalem he falls
in love, grows into a leader, and ultimately uses all his courage and skill to
defend the city against staggering odds. Destiny comes seeking Balian in the
form of a great knight, Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), a Crusader briefly home
to France from fighting in the East. Revealing himself as Balian's father,
Godfrey shows him the true meaning of knighthood and takes him on a journey
across continents to the fabled Holy City. In Jerusalem at that moment --
between the Second and Third Crusades -- a fragile peace prevails, through the
efforts of its enlightened Christian king, Baldwin IV, aided by his advisor
Tiberias (Jeremy Irons), and the military restraint of the legendary Muslim
leader Saladin (Ghassan Massoud). But Baldwin's days are numbered, and strains
of fanaticism, greed, and jealousy among the Crusaders threaten to shatter the
truce. King Baldwin's vision of peace -- a "kingdom of heaven" -- is shared by a
handful of knights, including Godfrey of Ibelin, who swear to uphold it with
their lives and honor. As Godfrey passes his sword to his son, he also passes on
that sacred oath: to protect the helpless, safeguard the peace, and work toward
harmony between religions and cultures, so that a kingdom of heaven can flourish
on earth. Balian takes the sword and steps into history.
Director: Ridley Scott. Stars: Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, Ghassan
Massoud, Nathalie Cox, Eriq Ebouaney. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 145 min.,
Historical drama, Box office gross: $47.000 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced for
Me and You and Everyone We Know
A poetic and penetrating look at how everyday people struggle to connect with one another in an isolating modern world. Christine Jesperson (writer-director Miranda July) is a struggling artist and cab
driver who uses her talents and imagination to draw her dreams and objects of desire. One such object is Richard Swersey (John Hawkes), a newly-single father of two boys who is hoping for amazing things, yet panics upon meeting the captivating Christine. But in a
world where the mundane is transcendent and people seek meaningful connections despite the risk, anything magical can -- and will -- happen.
Director: Miranda July. Stars: John Hawkes, Miranda July, Miles Thompson, Brandon Ratcliff, Carlie Westerman. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Comedy drama, Box office gross: $2.371 million, Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Marie and Alexia are schoolmates and best friends. Hoping to prepare for their college exams in peace and quiet, they decide to spend a weekend in the country at Alexia's parents' secluded farmhouse. But in the dead of night, a
stranger knocks on the front door. And with the first swing of his knife, the girls' idyllic weekend turns into an endless night of terror. It's a white-knuckle journey into the heart of fear as the two girls battle for survival at the hands of a sadistic psychopath, culminating
in a truly shocking climax. Rated and unrated versions.
Director: Alexandre Aja. Stars: Cecile De France, Maiwenn Le Besco, Philippe Nahon, Franck Khalfoun. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: NC-17, 89 min., Horror, Box office gross: $3.645 million, Lions Gate, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Peaceful, rustic Berkeley, Australia is a charming fishing community where life is sweet and the people friendly. All that is about to change. After losing her childhood farm to the bank, local beauty Rene decides to leave town and head
for the big city. Suddenly, an avalanche of meteorites races through the sky, bombarding the town and bringing an otherworldly infection. Departing is going to be much more difficult than she had planned. The living dead are awakened and Rene is now caught in a
nightmare of zombies hungry for human flesh. She manages to find salvation in a small isolated farm house owned by the town loony, Marion. There she is met with four other desperate survivors. Together they battle their way through a plague of walking dead and
discover that there is more transpiring than just an infection.
Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig. Stars: Felicity Mason, Mungo McKay, Rob Jenkins, Lisa Cunningham, Dirk Hunter, Emma Randall, Steve Grieg. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 104 min., Horror, Box office gross: $0.030 million, Lions Gate, No VHS
SRP, Priced for rental.
Unborn but Forgotten
Women who have no apparent relationship to one another begin inexplicably dying 15 days after visiting a mysterious Web site. Oddly, each woman appears to have given birth before her demise, although friends and
family members all deny that they were pregnant. While investigating the phenomenon, a female reporter begins a journey that leads to the discovery of the site known only as The White Room. Uncovering the secret has its price, leaving her fifteen days to solve the
mystery behind the cryptic portal and break the curse before its too late.
Director: Lim Chang-jae. Stars: Jeong Jun-ho, Lee Eun-ju. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Horror, Tartan Asia Extreme.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
"The Bridge of San Luis Rey" opens in
the aftermath of an inexplicable tragedy -- a tiny foot-bridge in Peru breaks,
and five people hurtle to their deaths. For Brother Juniper (Gabriel Byrne), a
humble monk who witnesses the catastrophe, the question in inescapable. Why
those five? Suddenly, Brother Juniper is committed to discover what manner of
lives they led -- and whether it was divine intervention or a capricious fate
that took their lives. Set in early 18th century Peru at the height of the
Spanish Inquisition, this timeless story chronicles the intertwined life stories
of the victims, taking us through worlds as diverse as the theatres, convents,
brothels and docks of Lima, Peru, to sea-faring explorations patronized by the
courts of Madrid, Spain.
Director: Mary McGuckian. Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne,
Geraldine Chaplin, Robert De Niro, Emilie Dequenne, Adriana Dominguez, Harvey
Keitel. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 120 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.042
million, New Line, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Bomb the System
Winner of multiple awards including Best Feature at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards, this film is the first in over 20 years to focus on the subject of graffiti
-- the only art form that can also be considered a crime in the same breath. A central idea of the film is the idea of "bombing" -- the art of "tagging" clean walls with your signature in spray paint -- also commonly known as graffiti. A subculture that began in New York
City more than 20 years ago, bombing has spread to cities nationwide and has spawned legends, like "Smith", an infamous bomber known for tagging the Brooklyn Bridge -- a national monument. The film focuses on one bomber, Anthony "Blest" (Mark Webber) -- one
of the most talented and notorious graffiti artists in New York City, known for his heavy partying and tagging prowess with his signature "Blest." Despite the tragic loss of his older brother during a nightly bombing foray with his graffiti crew, Anthony and the other
members of his crew -- Justin (Gano Grills) and Kevin (Jade Yorker) -- have an insatiable addiction to tagging. Although he does his best to avoid run-ins with cops and hostile rival crews, he can't avoid the pressures from his everyday life, including his mother who
wants him to go to college and his girl, who wants him to move away with her. When the cops begin to pose a physical threat, Anthony and his crew retaliate and intensify their bomb excursions, declaring an all out war on the city. A confrontation is inevitable and
when it happens, a tragedy results that pushes Anthony into making a decision that has even darker consequences. Filmed entirely in NYC, the film is a complex coming of age story set against the diverse background of New York -- from the dirtiest alley in Chinatown
to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, from the suburbs of Queens to the multi-million dollar lofts of Tribeca.
Director: Adam Bhala Lough. Stars: Mark Webber, Gano Grills, Jade Yorker. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 91 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.014 million, Palm Pictures, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Great new envisioning of the story of the Caped Crusader. How does one man change the world? It's a question that haunts Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) like the specter of his parents, gunned down before his eyes in the streets
of Gotham on a night that changed his life forever. Tormented by guilt and anger, battling the demons that feed his desire for revenge and his need to honor his parentsŐ altruistic legacy, the disillusioned industrial heir vanishes from Gotham and secretly travels the
world, seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful. In his quest to educate himself in the ways of the criminal mind, Bruce is mentored by a mysterious man called Ducard (Liam Neeson) in the mastery of the physical and mental
disciplines that will empower him to fight the evil he has vowed to destroy. He soon finds himself the target of recruiting efforts by the League of Shadows, a powerful, subversive vigilante group headed by enigmatic leader Ras al Ghul (Ken Watanabe). Bruce returns to
Gotham to find the city devoured by rampant crime and corruption. Wayne Enterprises, his family's former bastion of philanthropic business ideals, now rests in the hands of CEO Richard Earle (Rutger Hauer), a man more concerned with taking the company public than
serving the public good. Meanwhile, Bruce's close childhood friend Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes), now an Assistant District Attorney, can't secure a conviction of the city's most notorious criminals because the justice system has been so deeply polluted by scum like
crime boss Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson). It doesn't help that prominent Gotham psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy) bolsters insanity defenses for Falcone's thugs in exchange for nefarious favors that serve his own devious agenda. With the help of his
trusted butler Alfred (Michael Caine), detective Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) -- one of the few good cops on the Gotham police force -- and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), his ally at the Wayne Enterprises' Applied Sciences division, Bruce Wayne unleashes his
awe-inspiring alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses strength, intellect and an array of high tech weaponry to fight the sinister forces that threaten to destroy the city.
Director: Christopher Nolan. Stars: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 141 min., Action, Box office gross: $195.875
million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Land of the Dead
George A. Romero's "Land of the Dead" is the acclaimed director's long-awaited return to the genre he invented, beginning with the seminal "Night of the Living Dead" and continuing with "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of
the Dead." In Romero's harrowing newest vision, the world (as humankind has known it) is merely a memory. In its place is the never-ending nightmare existence of us -- the living -- versus them -- the "walkers." What's left of mankind is cordoned off behind the walls
of a fortified city while the walking dead roam the vast wasteland beyond. The few wealthy and powerful try to maintain an illusion of life as it was, dwelling high above the city in the exclusive towers of Fiddler's Green, the last bastion of the ruling class. On the streets
below, however, the remaining, less fortunate of the city's inhabitants -- the living dead -- eke out a hard-scrabble life, seeking what little solace they can in the vices available -- gambling, flesh trade, drugs -- anything that offers even a fleeting respite from the hell their
lives have become. Both the lofty heights of Fiddler's Green and the demoralizing lows of the city below are lorded over by a handful of ruthless opportunists, led by Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), who keeps his hands in everything, from real estate to less above-board
pursuits. To bring food and other essential supplies to the occupants of the city and to allow the Green's well-to-do to acquire the scarce luxury items to which they were once accustomed, a hardened group of mercenaries -- headed by Riley (Simon Baker) and his
second-in-command, Cholo (John Leguizamo) -- run retrieval missions outside the city, protected by their massive armored vehicle, Dead Reckoning. Riley and Cholo, like Kaufman, are in it for the money, which they hope to use for their own escapes. While Kaufman
and his employees concern themselves with commerce, life is changing both within and beyond the walls of the city. Unrest and anarchy are on the rise among the city's disenfranchised and outside, the army of the dead is changing, evolving, learning to organize and
communicate. When Cholo commandeers Dead Reckoning, intent on extorting millions out of Kaufman and his cronies, Riley and his ragtag group -- including Slack (Asia Argento) and Charlie (Robert Joy) -- are called into action to stop Cholo and, in the process,
protect the city and its population from the growing army of evolving zombies storming its weakening perimeter.
Director: George A. Romero. Stars: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Horror, Box office gross: $20.433 million, Universal, $29.98 VHS SRP.
Mad Hot Ballroom
Eleven-year-old New York City public school kids journey into the world of ballroom dancing and reveal pieces of themselves and their world along the way. Told from their candid, sometimes hilarious perspectives, these
kids are transformed, from reluctant participants to determined competitors, from typical urban kids to "ladies and gentlemen," on their way to try to compete in the final city-wide competition.
Director: Marilyn Agrelo. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 105 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $6.349 million, Paramount, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Black and White
The controversial case of Aboriginal Max Stuart (David Ngoombujarra) convicted of the rape and murder of a nine-year-old white girl pits a small-town legal aid defender (Robert Carlyle) and his partner (Kerry Fox) against the
Australian legal establishment. Craig Lahiff's award-winning courtroom drama does full justice to the momentous case that divided South Australia in the 1950s, and exposed the racism and brutality of the judicial system.
Director: Craig Lahiff. Stars: Robert Carlyle, Charles Dance, Kerry Fox, Colin Friels, Ben Mendelsohn, David Ngoombujarra. 2002, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 101 min., Drama, Home Vision Entertainment. DVD only.
A starkly realistic story of an illegal immigrant from Bolivia who lands a job with a greasy spoon on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, "Bolivia" poignantly depicts the world of poverty, racism and violence that characterize his newfound
reality. Much like in "Do the Right Thing," tempers flare as discontented working-class people barrel toward tragedy. Shot in a lyrical, neo-realistic style, this taut film is an urgent and timely drama of life in Argentina, a nation in crisis that in the last few years has
reached unprecedented poverty levels with vast unemployment, bankruptcy, and a shrinking economy. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Director: Adrian Caetano. Stars: Freddy Flores, Rosa Sanchez, Oscar Bertea. 2001, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 75 min., Drama, New Yorker, $24.95 VHS SRP.
Dot the I
This is the story of Carmen (Natalia Verbeke), a young Spanish flamenco dancer living in London, who meets Kit (Gael Garcia Bernal), a Brazilian actor, the night before her wedding (to James D'Arcy) and ends up kissing him. What
ensues is a plot of subterfuge to cover up their newfound affair.
Director: Matthew Parkhill. Stars: Gael Garcia Bernal, Natalia Verbeke, James D'Arcy, Tom Hardy, Charlie Cox. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 92 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $0.297 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
When a young woman's pregnant, unmarried mother moves into her apartment, she does what any dutiful child with an expectant widow on her hands would do: she sets her up with every bachelor in town. In Chinese with English
Director: Alice Wu. Stars: Michelle Krusiec, Joan Chen, Lynn Chen, Jin Wang, Guang Lan Koh. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $1.062 million, Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Movie version of one of TV's most memorable and beloved shows. Out in California's San Fernando Valley, Isabel (Nicole Kidman) is trying to reinvent herself. A naive, good-natured witch, she is determined to disavow her
supernatural powers and lead a "normal" life. At the same time, across town, Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell), a tall, charming actor, is trying to get his career back on track. He sets his sights on an updated version of the 1960s situation comedy "Bewitched," reconceived as a
starring vehicle for himself in the role of the mere-mortal Darrin. Fate steps in when Jack accidentally runs into Isabel. He is immediately attracted to her and her nose, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the nose of Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha in
the original TV version of "Bewitched." He becomes convinced she could play the witch Samantha in his new series. Isabel is also taken with Jack, seeing him as the quintessential mortal man with whom she can settle down and lead the normal life she so desires. It turns
out they're both right -- but in ways neither of them ever imagined.
Director: Nora Ephron. Stars: Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristin Chenoweth. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $60.717 million, Sony, No VHS SRP, Priced for
Herbie: Fully Loaded
In 1969, the Walt Disney classic "Herbie the Love Bug" introduced the world to the whimsical wonders of #53, the little white VW Beetle with a mind and feelings all his own -- not to mention an exuberant spirit that
seemed to redefine the word "free-wheeling." Herbie went on to become the star of numerous movies and television films in the '70s, '80s and '90s. But since then, Herbie has been missing in action, awaiting demolition in a downtrodden junkyard. Now, just when it
looks like his number is up, Herbie is rescued and has a chance to win over a whole new generation of fans. Herbie's rescuer is Maggie Peyton (Lindsay Lohan), a third-generation member of a legendary NASCAR family. Racing is deep in Maggie's blood, but she has
been forbidden from pursuing her dreams by her overprotective father and NASCAR champ Ray Peyton Sr. (Michael Keaton) and, instead, is about to begin a career at ESPN. Ray does offer to buy Maggie a car for college graduation, and takes her to the junkyard to
pick out her gift. Maggie has her eye on something sporty, yet a certain rusty, banged-up, '60s-era white Volkswagen Beetle keeps vying for her attention, revealing that whatever he lacks in the engine compartment, he makes up for with personality. Much to her
surprise, Maggie leaves the lot with a smoke-spewing Herbie -- who she soon discovers is no ordinary auto, but a charmed car who will literally help her shift the course of her life. Soon, with a little help from his new friends, Herbie is stronger, faster and Herbie-er
than ever, as he and Maggie become partners in a hilarious quest to make the world believe in them.
Director: Angela Robinson. Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton, Matt Dillon, Breckin Meyer, Justin Long, Cheryl. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: G, 101 min., Family comedy, Box office gross: $62.658 million, Buena Vista, No VHS SRP, Priced for
Melinda and Melinda
Woody Allen's latest combines romantic comedy and drama, dealing with the fragility of love, marital infidelity, sophisticated romance, the inability to communicate, personal struggles with morality, identity, intimacy,
jealousy and the vagaries of romantic love. The twist in the film is introduced in the film's opening scene, in which four sophisticated New Yorkers enjoy a dinner out on a rainy night. An anecdote provokes a discussion between writers Max (Larry Pine) and Sy (Wallace
Shawn) about the dual nature of human drama, symbolized by the comedy/tragedy mask of theater. Ultimately a comic tale unfolds, pitted against a more dramatic version of itself -- both centered around a somewhat enigmatic woman named Melinda (Radha Mitchell).
Director: Woody Allen. Stars: Will Ferrell, Jonny Lee Miller, Radha Mitchell, Amanda Peet, Chloe Sevigny, Wallace Shawn, Larry Pine. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min., Comedy drama, Box office gross: $3.825 million, Fox, No VHS SRP, Priced
House of Wax
What begins as a weekend getaway for six friends becomes a terrifying fight for their lives in this re-imagining of the 1953 horror classic. A road trip to one of the biggest college football games of the year takes a turn for the
worse for Carly (Elisha Cuthbert), Paige (Paris Hilton) and their friends when they decide to camp out for the night before heading to the game. A confrontation with a mysterious trucker at the camp site leaves everyone unsettled, and Carly has her hands full trying to
keep the peace between her boyfriend Wade (Jared Padalecki) and her hot-headed brother Nick (Chad Michael Murray). They wake up the next morning to find that their car has been deliberately tampered with. At the risk of being stranded, they accept a local's
invitation for a ride into Ambrose, the only town for miles. Once there, they are drawn to Ambrose's main attraction -- Trudy's House of Wax, which is filled with remarkably life-like wax sculptures. But as they soon discover, there is a shocking reason the exhibits look
so real. As the friends uncover the town's dark secrets, they are stalked by a demented killer and find themselves in a bloody battle for survival. The group must find a way out of Ambrose -- or become permanent additions to the House of Wax.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra. Stars: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 113 min., Horror thriller, Box office gross: $32.000 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced
Gus Van Sant's Last Days
"Last Days" is filmmaker Gus Van Sant's meditation on the inner turmoil that engulfs a brilliant, but troubled, musician in the final hours of his life. Michael Pitt stars as Blake, an introspective artist who is buckling
under the weight of fame, professional obligations, and a mounting feeling of isolation. The film follows Blake through a handful of the last hours he spends in and near his wooded home, a fugitive from his own life. It is a period of random moments and fractured
consciousness, fused by spontaneous bursts of rock & roll. Expanding on the elliptical style forged in his two previous films, "Gerry" and the Palme d'Or-winning "Elephant," Van Sant layers images and sounds to articulate an emotional landscape, creating a dynamic
work about a soul in transition. Inspired by the last days of Kurt Cobain.
Director: Gus Van Sant. Stars: Michael Pitt, Lukas Haas, Asia Argento, Scott Green, Nicole Vicius, Ricky Jay. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Drama, Box office gross: $0.184 million, HBO Video, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist
Paul Schrader was originally brought in to direct the prequel to "The Exorcist," "Exorcist: The Beginning," but was pulled and the reins given to Renny Harlin when the producers were unhappy with
Schrader's version -- Harlin reshot the film entirely. The movie took in about $41 million at the boxoffice (a bomb when one takes its budget -- $30,000,000 for the Paul Schrader version and $50,000,000 for the Renny Harlin version -- into consideration). In 1944,
Father Lankester Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard), a parish priest in Holland, was forced by retreating Nazi soldiers to pass life-and-death judgment upon his parishioners. The experience left him with a broken spirit, his faith destroyed. It is three years later, and Merrin has
since abandoned the priesthood. Now working as an archeologist, he has unearthed a startling discovery in the Turkana district of British East Africa: an ancient Byzantine church, preserved in pristine condition -- as if it had been buried on the day it was completed. This
remarkable discovery attracts the attention of the archdiocese in Nairobi, who dispatches a young priest, Father Francis (Gabriel Mann), to Derati to watch over Merrin's work and make sure that the religious aspects of the dig are given the proper consideration.
Although he is shocked and troubled by Merrin's lack of faith, Francis quickly devotes himself to setting up a church school for the children of the village. As the dig continues, Merrin discovers that the imposing statues within the church are guarding a secret. Buried
beneath the church is an ancient crypt that contains the remnants of Satanic ritual and brutal sacrifice. The church was never meant to be used for worship -- it was built atop the crypt to contain the evil within it, then immediately buried. The Derati natives are convinced
that uncovering the church has unleashed a demon, and begin to violently clash with the hostile British military troops that have been sent by the government to guard the site. And all hell is set loose.
Director: Paul Schrader. Stars: Stellan Skarsgard, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford, Ralph Brown. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 117 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $0.138 million, Warner, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
"Rize" reveals a groundbreaking dance phenomenon that's exploding on the streets of South Central Los Angeles. The aggressive and visually stunning dance modernizes moves indigenous to African tribal rituals and features
mind-blowing, athletic movement sped up to impossible speeds. "Rize" tracks the fascinating evolution of the dance: we meet Tommy Johnson (Tommy the Clown), who first created the style as a response to the 1992 Rodney King riots and named it "Clowning," as well
as the kids who developed the movement into what they now call Krumping. The kids use dance as an alternative to gangs and hustling: they form their own troupes and paint their faces like warriors, meeting to outperform rival gangs of dancers or just to hone their
skills. For the dancers, Krumping becomes a way of life -- and, because it's authentic expression (in complete opposition to the bling-bling hip-hop culture), the dance becomes a vital part of who they are.
Director: David LaChapelle. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 86 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $3.278 million, Lions Gate, No VHS SRP, Priced for rental.
Deep in the forest, a man and woman have been brutally attacked in a cabin and left to die. Arriving too late, Kang (Gam Woo-sung) chases the killer only to be hit by a speeding car. Barely surviving surgery, he now finds
himself a prime suspect in the double murder case. He cannot shake the feeling that there are strange gaps in his memory regarding the night in question and the killer's identity. While a police investigation sets out to confirm his story, he begins his own quest to
remember the truth about the murder and himself.
Director: Song Il-gon. Stars: Kam Woo-seong, Kang Kyeong-heon. 2004, CC,
MPAA rating: NR, 120 min., Thriller, Tartan Asia Extreme.
Follows the life of a young couple, Gilles and Marion, in their 30's, filmed in five crucial parts of their life. In French with English subtitles.
Director: Francois Ozon. Stars: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Stephane Freiss, Geraldine Pailhas, Francoise Fabian, Michael Lonsdale. 2005, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Romantic drama, Box office gross: $0.114 million, ThinkFilm, No VHS SRP, Priced for
All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a
Rotel RDV-1060 DVD Audio/Video Player, a
Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center),
and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.