Suffering from a breakup, Josh Hartnett vows to remain celibate for 40 days, but during that time discovers the love of his life and is therefore, unable to bone her. And that's the complete plot. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
All About the Benjamins
Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter in Miami, who repeatedly chases down a small-time crook played by Mike Epps. They stumble upon a 20 million dollar diamond heist and team up to get the loot. The action-comedy genre is perfect for Cube, whose raps have largely been action-comedies, and Mike Epps has some really funny lines. The funniest thing, though, is the variety of ethnicities assigned to each character: The heroes are black American, the bad guy is Scottish, his underling is Mexican, the super bad lady is Chinese but negotiates the diamond deal in French with the Scot's white American girlfriend. Cube's boss is Cuban, Epps' girlfriend is Puerto Rican, and while he's a small time crook, Epps' accomplices are old Jewish ladies. Something for the whole family. (Brian Goedde )
Blade II: Bloodhunt
Unfortunately, Blade II sucks so much ass, even Wesley's hottie six-pack won't distract you. Picking up where Blade left off, Blade the Daywalker must save his old sidekick, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson), from the big pod of blood in which the vampires have kept him captive for years. He does that in the first ten minutes of the movie so, the real plot is that there is a maniacal, vampire-eating monster on the loose, whose mandible comes apart to expose a tongue that resembles a large piece of fried calamari. The tongue carries a virus that turns vampires into vampire eating monsters, which look like a cross between Nosferatu and Batboy from the Weekly World News. (Julianne Shepherd)
* Broadcast Video Fest
Show up with your own videos and screen them. Arrive early if you want to participate, and hey, egomaniacs, no four hour examinations of your breakup, okay?
* The Brother From Another Planet
Joe Morton is an alien and a slave on another planet, and he escapes and lands in Harlem. The locals think he's just another "brother,"--get it? He's literally a brother from another planet.
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Brotherhood of the Wolf is a special French fusion of the pretentious and the inane. Were it not so long, this would be camp fun. But it is long. So very long. So very, very, very long. (Bret Fetzer)
It's the end of the Cold War and North Dakota is losing its last commodity--their stockpile of Minutemen 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Burn Baby Burn
A documentary about Burning Man, the hippie festival somewhere in the desert. Starring, dirty hippies.
* Burnt Money
The only thing better than a movie about homosexual, coke-addicted, Argentinean bank robbers working through their relationship troubles is one that's based on a true story. See review this issue
A scientist invents a gun that makes time stand still for whomever it hits. The normal cliche science-movie things happen after that. If you can't get into this movie, just rent Flubber instead. You'll never know the difference.
Death to Smoochy
Edward Norton is a large, purple, hairy children's character (not unlike Barney or Big Bird), who gets stalked by a former children's character, Robin Williams.
This film is BULLSHIT. And I'm not talking about the blatant manipulation Spielberg uses to turn your brain to mush! I'm saying this film is bullshit on the deepest level--and probably caused irreparable harm to the United States of America. Let's take the plot: A bunch of tortoise-headed motherfuckers visit our planet. Why? To share superior technology? NO. To wipe out famine and disease? NO. They want to pick flowers. And then leave with them! But put that aside for now. One tortoise-headed motherfucker gets left behind, and is discovered by this kid Elliott--and does Elliott do the right thing and contact the authorities? NO. He hides him in the closet, where they spend the rest of the film jerking around eating Reese's Pieces, which almost kills E.T. dead! (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
Be an extra in this indie movie about German concert pianist Christian Jordorski. See Southgate Theater film times.
Pleasant and funny, it is littered with enough sophisticated jokes to entertain the adults, but is really nothing more than a fast-paced, shimmering toy for kids. Which is just the way it should be. (Bradley Steinbacher)
* The Independent
Morty Fineman's lifelong work consists of making 427 movies with cheesy T&A, explosives, and titles like "Tora! Tora! Toga!" and "Twelve Angry Men and a Baby." Jerry Stiller and Janeane Garafalo portray a fairly believable father-daughter business team, who only barely manage to keep Fineman Films afloat, even after being offered the insulting $6/lb. for Morty's entire catalogue. Filled with cameos by filmmakers (Ron Howard) and pop icons (Johnny Rotten, perfectly cast as a snotty film director for the town of Chapparal, NV), "The Independent" is an entertaining B-movie mockumentary. Some of the jokes were trite, and the acting was ehhh, but regardless, you'll laugh out loud more than once. The complete Fineman filmography listed during the ending credits alone is worth the price of admission. (Kate Mercier)
The brilliant British writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch (Judi Dench, Kate Winslet), a woman who lives most decidedly in the world of ideas, succumbs to the dementia of Alzheimer's, "sailing into darkness" as she so rightly puts it. The story, as constructed by director Richard Eyre (who wrote the screenplay with Charles Wood, based on two memoirs by Murdoch's husband, John Bayley, played by Jim Broadbent), flips back and forth between past and present, evidently mimicking the erratic thread that memory becomes in the hands of the disease. Watching it is not without its comforts; it's exactly the kind of thing I love to stumble across on Sunday nights on public television, a guilty pleasure somewhat elevated by the British accents and quaint diction. What turns this film into something more suited to the small screen is relentless sentimentalization and lack of ambition, in a story about an ambitious woman without a sentimental bone in her body. (Emily Hall)
* Italian for Beginners
The characters of Italian for Beginners begin in a state of despair. This being a romantic comedy, their lives begin to intersect through a series of coincidences--coincidences that could feel contrived, but due to the rough integrity of the script, performances, and direction (shaped in part by the monastic rigors of the Dogme 95 ethic), they feel like the organic waywardness of life. (Bret Fetzer)
* Kissing Jessica Stein
With the dumb title and no name actors, you wouldn't think this would be a good film, but it is. Sex fiend Helen places an ad in the paper, because she wants to try getting her lesbian freak on, and uptight girl Jessica is so taken by the ad that she decides to give it a chance. The gals end up trying it out together for a while, and Jessica overcomes a lot of issues, including, whether she's gay or not. (Katie Shimer)
The talents of six of the finest British actors alive (Tom Courtenay, Bob Hoskins, David Hemmings, Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, and Ray Winstone) are squandered by this moist little movie about a journey to deliver a dead man's ashes to the seaside. (Sean Nelson)
John Sayles' film about a sheriff who gets curious about his dead father. In his exploration, he figures out that his death has a lot to do with racial tension in Texas.
* Lord of the Rings
Remarkably true to the epic book by J.R.R. Tolkien. Though enhanced by computer animation, and certainly made in the post-Xena/Beastmaster era, this first installment promises to launch Lord of the Rings into the Star Wars strata. (Julianne Shepherd)
In 1920 in Matewan, West Virginia, some union-busters had a shoot out with some coal miners who were trying to unionize. John Sayles recreates the story.
Metropolis is a beautiful and stylish hybrid--one of those future worlds imagined from the distant past, where above ground looks like an Ayn Rand dream, below ground is pure Blade Runner, and the characters are retro in the style of Hergé's Tintin. Mostly, yes, it's eye candy, but everyone's eyes should be so lucky. (Emily Hall )
* Monsoon Wedding
At first, it seems like Mira Nair is just doing family drama. The film is stylish, brisk, witty, and beautifully filmed (marigolds are so vibrant they would leave bright orange dust on your fingers if you touched them). But within the patchwork of marriage melodrama, Monsoon Wedding presents a subversive argument about the insidiousness of progress, and its fluid relationship with tradition. Of course, it all comes out right in the end, but in getting to its satisfying resolution, it passes through so many uncomfortable revelations and unthinkable confrontations that it almost feels like watching history unfold. (Sean Nelson)
Monstrous Balls is more like it. Hank is a racist prison guard (Thornton, perfect), son of a retired racist prison guard (Peter Boyle, who doesn't even try an accent), and father of a young, non-racist prison guard (Heath Ledger, who tries his hardest) in a Georgia State Penitentiary death row. Hank falls into a desperate affair with Leticia (Halle Berry, semi-plausible), a black woman, after both of their sons die. Also, Hank executed her husband (Sean Combs, Puffy). Hank's dad says "nigger" and "porch monkey," and Hank fires a shotgun at some black kids, so we know that the film is about breaking the cycle of bigotry. A few nice notes are struck, but too many coincidences motorize this melodrama; its morality is tinny and safe. Via their affair, Hank is cured of racism, and Leticia is cured of grief. She even gets a truck! "I thank we're gone be all right," Hank says at the end. I thank I'm gone puke. (Sean Nelson)
* No Man's Land
Set during the Bosnian-Herzogovnian war, No Man's Land is a good-but-not-great movie with three statements. 1) War is mad! This point is Illustrated by reducing down the abstract idea of war to the strained interactions between a pair of opposing soldiers. 2) The press covering wars is sensationalist! 3) The UN is an ineffectual mess of bureaucracy! The film's comments on society grows thin at times, but all the holes are adequately filled with a putty of effective humor. Aw, heck, just go see it--it's good. (Aaron Beam)
* Oceans 11
In a feat more remarkable than the movie's $160 million bank heist, Soderbergh manages to keep the egos of the blockbuster actors under their hats and lets the plot tell its own story. (Phil Busse)
Jodie Foster looks hot, the camera work is slightly cool, and the movie is neither cohesive or scary. One might try getting really stoned before going, so that 1) They cannot find the plot holes and 2) See review this issue.
A soap opera star living in NYC gets in a car accident and is paralyzed from the waist down--then she tries to drink herself to death. John Sayles directs.
* Resident Evil
If you're going to be foolish enough to make a movie out of a video game, this here is the way to do it. Of course, it helps that unlike Tomb Raider, Mortal Combat, etc., Resident Evil the game is excessively cinematic--slow, plotting, and more often than not, completely engaging. And while Resident Evil the movie may not live up to its gaming origins, it nonetheless does exactly what it's supposed to do: entertain, disgust, and turn 13-year-old-boys on-hence Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. Plus, it has zombies, a genre that has been woefully overlooked for far too long now. If you're a fan of the game, go see it. If you find yourself ridiculously baked, go see it. (Bradley Steinbacher)
Return to Neverland
After a dynamic sequence in which a flying pirate ship sails through the bomb-torn skies of WWII London, Return to Neverland settles into bland formula. The filmmakers apparently wanted to subvert the girl=mother dynamic of the original Peter Pan, but they were too chicken-hearted to make Jane, the pre-pubescent heroine, as assertive and feral as most of the 10-yr-old girls I know. The result is compromised and not a little creepy, as never-gonna-grow-up baby-boomer-idol Peter gazes erotically into the eyes of the daughter of his former love-interest, Wendy. (Bret Fetzer)
Dennis Quaid's hopes of being a major league baseball player were dashed by shoulder injuries and now, he's a high school baseball coach. After the heal up of his final shoulder surgery, however, he realizes he can pitch better than ever before. He makes a bargain with his team that if they'll try and win the next two games, he'll try out for the majors again. Yipee!
* Royal Tenenbaums
This movie is great, go see it. A family of geniuses reunite from their separate, but equally fucked up lives. Once they get under the same roof, their individual and combined issues resurface--and they do their best to work them out. Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson are amazing, the story is depressing with moments of hilarity, and the pace of the film is similar to Rushmore--slow moving, but worth every minute. (Katie Shimer)
Eddie Murphy and Robert DeNiro star in this unlikely-buddy-cop film that satirizes reality cop shows on TV. Also featuring Rene Russo, William Shatner, and Kadeem "Dwayne Wayne" Hardison. Ker-snooze.
To save money three frat boys go undercover in drag at a sorority, Delta Omicron Gamma (that's D.O.G.), and discover their sensitive side as they walk unsteadily in high heels and struggle with falsetto speaking voices. It's Bosom Buddies with nudity featuring the heartthrob without a pulse from Seventh Heaven.
* The Late, Great Chuck Jones
The late (as of February 22nd), great animator receives a fitting sendoff to that great easel in the sky, with this program culled from the archives of Dennis Nyback. Whether your tastes run to the humbled hubris of Daffy Duck as "Duck Dodgers in the 24-1/2th Century," the sadistic Sisyphean slapstick of Wile E. Coyote, or the Wagnerian weirdness of the Oscar-winning "What's Opera, Doc?," there's something here for everyone. Rarities unearthed include a wartime Private Snafu cartoon written by Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) and a snippet from the 1962 animated feature "Gay Purr-ee," featuring the voice of Judy Garland. (Marc Mohan)
* The Son's Room
Family dramas tend to strip actors bare of any pretense. Since there are usually no big explosions, no chase scenes, and no glam, then all you have left is acting ability. That's why most family dramas are such cheese-fests, especially when they include Michelle Pfeiffer as a widowed mother or some crap like that. Anyway, The Son's Room is excellent, because the acting is great. It's about a normal Italian family--a father, a mother, two well-adjusted kids--with normal problems, until one of the kids up and dies. This film is a study of how a given family deals with problems, in particular, enormous tragedies. And, due to the great acting in this movie, you become really attached to the son before he dies and feel the pain of the family, rather than simply enduring the emotional cop-outs of other family dramas. Plus, since you actually care about the actors, it's enthralling. Be forewarned, however: it's sad. Very, very, very sad. (Katia Dunn)
The Time Machine
In this remake of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) has is a science geek and tremendously unsatisfied with his lot in life. However, when his fiancée meets an untimely death, he builds a machine designed to take him back and set things right. That doesn't work. So he travels to the future to answer the age-old question, "Why can't we change the past?" Naturally, when he arrives--800,000 years later--he learns what any grumpy sci-fi author could have told him: humans have fucked everything up and the world is a big shithole. But what makes this particular world a shithole are the "Morlocks," who are a race of well, I don't know what they are, but they look like a cross between Jack Palance and the monsters from The Dark Crystal. Anyway, they're kicking the crap out of peaceful surface dwellers, and Hartdegen must decide to either stay and help, or return to a time when they didn't have indoor toilets. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
Under the Sun
This film is about Farmers in Love, with all the requisite cows, hay, and Swedish people. Olof is looking for love when a beautiful farm-hand, Ellen, surfaces. It would be hard for these two to not fall in love.
We Were Soldiers
Scrawny little bastard Mel Gibson stars in this jingoistic turd of a Vietnam War film about 400 American soldiers in an elite combast division who get blasted to bits by the Viet Cong. They try and save themselves and each other, their heroism is unparalleled, blah blah blah.
* The Wide Blue Road
A fisherman is broke and screwed, so he starts using illegal techniques to survive. See review this issue.