8 Women

We swear, it's not just for women. See review this issue.

The Adventures of Lucy Fur & Natalia

A sultry 3-D slideshow featuring pictures of the adventures of sexy Lucy Fur and, of course, Natalia.

Ballistic: Ecks v. Sever

Seeing as how only ten people appear to have seen this flick opening weekend, this here review will be necessarily brief: Lucy Liu is, of course, hot. Antonio Banderas appears to be asleep throughout the film. And the director, "KAOS," appears to be harboring a substantial grudge against train boxcars, since at least twenty are incinerated during the film's finale. In short, yes, it's pretty bad. (Bradley Steinbacher)

The Banger Sisters

After her daughter's eye-catching turn as a young groupie in Almost Famous, Goldie Hawn plays an aging one in this cloying, aggravating piece of false, middlebrow claptrap. One thing in Hawn's favor is the accuracy of her portrayal: her Suzette is a skanky, surgically enhanced sub-hippie with no redeeming qualities except, in most circumstances, the willingness to fuck strangers. After being fired from her bartending job (for drinking on the job! Whatta buncha fascists!) she road trips to Phoenix, where her former partner in fashionably random sex with musicians, Lavinia (Susan Sarandon, squandered), has sold out to become a rich, anal-retentive soccer mom. Along the way, Suzette encounters an obsessive compulsive plot contrivance named Harry (Geoffrey Rush), who falls in love with her untamed spirit (and her handjobs). Soon, Suzette and Vinnie are reliving their youths by smoking 20-year-old joints, wearing tight pants, and otherwise "living out loud" the way only movie women can. Not all of this movie sucks, just 2/3 or so. The main problem is the script's rank substitution of groupiedom for actual liberation, which makes any potential insights about friendship, growing old, or even sexual freedom, pale next to the unshakable image of writer/director Bob Dolman jerking off as he wrote.

Barbershop

Starring two popular rappers, Ice Cube and Eve, Barbershop is about a young man (Ice Cube) who reluctantly runs a barbershop he inherited from his recently departed father. He has big ambitions and so does not recognize the social importance of the small business. The best parts of the movie take place in the barbershop-the locus of laughter and general idiocy. Cedric the Entertainer, who plays the patriarch of the barbershop, is the primary generator of this humor, which is often mixed with comments on the state of things in black America. None of his assessments of past or current events are thought through clearly; in fact, the most complete or sophisticated argument in the movie concerns the scientific difference between good booty and bad booty. (Charles Mudede)

The Conversation

Gene Hackman is a surveillance guy who delves too deep into a case. He is obsessive, demented, and yet detached. A Frances Ford Coppola film heralded as a must-see.

Das Experiment

The good news is, this movie's about a journalist who takes part in an interesting scientific study of power dynamics. In the study, half of the volunteers play guards and the other half play prisoners. The bad news is, this study was done in real life, and they had to stop the experiment because the "guards" got too violent. If you believe that humans have a core of decency within them, you may want to skip this one.

Elling

The success of this comedy in its native country, Norway, offers conclusive evidence that the closer one gets to the Arctic Circle the stranger the sense of humor becomes. Nothing in the world would convince anyone who lives near the equator that this film about two madmen attempting to reenter regular society as roommates is in the least bit funny. To its credit, Elling does have a few remarkable shots of Oslo.

The Four Feathers

After turning tail at the brink of war, a branded Brit coward goes deep undercover in the Sudan hoping to save his friends and regain his honor. Premises don't come much more crackerjack, but this initially ambitious version of an oft-told tale unfortunately seems to have undergone severe trimming late in the game, scattering both character motivation and important plot points to the desert winds. (As it stands, the only clear marker of time's passage lies in star Heath Ledger's amazing Chia hair.) An intermittently engaging study in derring-do, nudged along by director Shekhar Kapur's sense of grandiose scale and some indecently lovely camerawork, this may have not been a great movie at epic length, but it would surely have resonated better than this plucked, wandering concoction. Kate Hudson glows, as always. (Andrew Wright )

Frontier Life

A feature-length documentary that tries to deconstruct the idea that Tijuana is nothing but a hotbed of sin and debauchery. Word of mouth from evil sources like the media have always prevented Tijuana from having a personal identity outside of that place where you horked/porked on the beach three consecutive nights during Spring Break. Thank God then, for this film directed by the appropriately-named Tijuana expert, Hans Fjellestad. Fjellestad explores the city from the inside out, providing a historical and cultural context free from the constraints of outside interpretations.

Gangster No. 1

Malcolm McDowell has packed on some weight and lost a significant mass of hair since A Clockwork Orange. Though he allegedly stars as a sadistic gangster in Gangster, the film spares us the pain of seeing too much of his flabby countenance by taking place largely in memories of the late '60s London crime underworld. Paul Bettany plays the younger version of McDowell's unnamed character. Bettany does his best young-Malcolm-a-la-Clockwork glower--a petulant, hollow stare. Not half bad, actually, and pretty hot. MARJORIE SKINNER

The Good Girl

Justine Last (Jennifer Aniston) works at the Retail Rodeo. She has worked there for many, many years, her husband and his buddy paint houses for a living and smoke a lot of pot. Justine is sad, bored, and unhappy, until... a weird young guy calling himself Holden (Jake Gyllenhall) befriends her. From there, it's all down hill. I had heard tons of hype about this film before screening it: "Jennifer Aniston plays against type... " and all that. Well, Jennifer does play against type, but isn't that what acting is all about? Given the directing and writing credits of director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White, who brought us the deliciously uncomfortable Chuck and Buck, I guess I expected a more ominous and darker tone, but The Good Girl seems more screwball than drama. This works on some levels, but overall it just feels melodramatic. (Brian Brait)

Group

The film shadows nine women in twenty one weeks of queer friendly therapy. The script is improvised and actors include Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Nomy Lamm, and others. The characters are very different--from a hypochondriac, a born-again Christian, a tramp, and a bigot.

I am Trying to Break Your Heart

Wilco gets richer and richer while you get sleepier and sleepier. See review this issue.

Igby Goes Down

A melancholic comedy that captures the privileged heartbreak of Salinger far better than The Royal Tenenbaums ever could. Igby, a preppie with a punk streak, gets kicked out of his last boarding school, and takes to Manhattan, where he squats purposelessly, has sex with junkies and JAPs, and basically seethes until life more or less insists that he make a move. A sharply observed film down to the upturned collars and half-Windsor knots, Igby gets to the heart of its characters without either indicting or apologizing for its cultural framework. (Sean Nelson)

In Memoriam

All three films deal primarily in mortality. From staring into the gaping maw of a nearly dead elderly woman for eight minutes, to actual footage of a dead man contorted on a bed, these are not films for the happy-go-lucky set. If you have ever been in a hospital waiting room, and chanced to look into one of the other cubicles around you, and seen someone on the edge of life, and felt the desire to stare, but because of tact or time, been unable to, then these films will light your rockets. Also on display is a costumed dancing elephant, a bird choosing tarot cards, and children building snowmen in a snowstorm of scratchy film. None of it is to be missed. (Zefrey Throwell)

Ivan

In 1932, after nearly killing himself in the wake of the cool acceptance of his masterpiece, Earth, Soviet director Alexander Dovzhenko made this follow-up, his first experience with sound cinema. The film tells the story of a country lad's progress from a peasant hut to a worker's school. Like Earth, it concerns itself with the natural rhythms of country life disrupted by the beat of looming industrialization.

Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie

The computer-animated version of the pamphlets you find at bus stops. Those backwards-assed Christian fundamentalists are spreading their demon-seed again, this time using produce as their minions. Oh, those devotion-drunk fools--don't they know that any reasonable child is never, ever, going to listen a vegetable? Never trust a five-year-old that heeds the teachings of a cucumber.

The Last Dance

One of the more unique collaborations in dance history occurred recently when author/illustrator, Maurice Sendak, got together with the crazily hilarious dance troupe, Pilobolus to transform a story from the holocaust into a dance piece. This film documents that union and the work of art it resulted in.

Lovely and Amazing

This follow-up to the similarly graceful Walking and Talking is a shrewdly respectful character study of a fractured family of women trying to ride herd on their raging neuroses. Fantastic acting and sensitive writing underscore the simple DV directorial approach. (Sean Nelson)

Moonlight Mile

See review this issue.

Mostly Martha

When her sister dies, workaholic chef Martha must step out of the kitchen and into the real world to care for her surviving niece. She's a fish out of water with real family, but feels like she's swimming with sharks at the restaurant, where the chef that's been hired to help during this rough period has charmed her entire staff. Beautiful food shots, clever montages, and the sparks that fly between chefs counterbalance a hurried conclusion. (Sarah Sternau )

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

A frumpy diamond in the rough (Nia Vardalos) goes against the wishes of her lovingly oppressive family and falls for a hunky WASP (John Corbett, coasting on his Sex & The City vibe) in this intermittently amusing Grecian yarn. The refreshingly unconventional Vardalos adapted from her one-woman play, and the best material springs from her sporadic narration, goofing gently on such eccentricities as her dad's Windex fetish and the many permutations of cousins named Nick. Unfortunately, her presence and a sharp supporting cast (including the ever-prickly Andrea Martin) can't wholly mitigate the myriad of memorexed gags, well-trod life lessons, and director Joel Zwick's flat, sitcomish presentation. There's precious little here that hasn't been seen a gazillion times before, but Vardalos' earthy charisma and a few stray bits of off-kilter wit make for an amiable saunter into the matrimonial breech. N'Syncher Joey Fatone cameos as a bearded guy. (Andrew Wright)

One Hour Photo

One Hour Photo is an armchair psychologist's wet dream. And, like most pop psych and self-help programs, it's sorta clichè, sorta predictable, and not exactly snooze-inducing--but not riveting or illuminating either. The premise: Robin Williams plays Sy the Photo Guy, a balding control freak who manages a one-hour photo shop. Sy's longtime customers, The Yorkins--Will, Nina, and little Jake--are this picture-perfect, hottie yuppie family. He is utterly obsessed with the Yorkins; Nina and Jake in particular. Through processing their photos, he's followed their seemingly happy lives; and, because he's so lonely, he also pasted copies of nine years' worth of their photos to his wall in unabashed stalker fashion. Creepy. Like any stalker story, the film's fate lies in the hands of the director. And Mark Romanek does a good job setting up and unfolding the story. Unfortunately, as Romanek is also the scriptwriter, he only has himself to blame for the slow pace of the dialogue. (Julianne Shepherd)

The Pinochet Case

Everyone knows that Augusto Pinochet is responsible for the "disappearing" of thousands of Chileans between 1973 and 1990. Ace documentarian Guzman examines the 1998 London arrest of the former dictator, and the subsequent international hubbub.

Possession

No director in the universe (with the possible exception of John Waters) could save a bad novel like Possession, which was authored by A. S. Byatt. It's the one novel Hollywood should have left in its original condition: a bad book. Now it has a second life as a bad movie. (Charles Mudede)

Red Dragon

This film is based on the novel that came before Silence of the Lambs, and which was scarier than Silence of the Lambs, and has already been filmed before, as Manhunter, which, despite what people tell you, was not as good as Silence of the Lambs, because Michael Mann is among the worst directors in history. Red Dragon looks really good, because director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) has no imagination or artistic intentions. He had the sense to hire great actors (Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, and Anthony Hopkins as the Beaver) and probably just shot the book. I, for one, can't wait. (Sean Nelson)

Sex and Lucia

After reading local writer Lorenzo Alvarez's novel, Lucia shows up at a bar where he drinks, pledges her love to him, and says that they should move in together immediately. He accepts, and so their intensely sexual and loving relationship begins. When complications arise, their relationship hits a breaking point and tragedy strikes. Lucia then flees in order to uncover Lorenzo's past. The scenery in the film is beautiful, the acting is great, and Lucia (played by Paz Vega) is reason enough to drop the six bucks, considering she's one of the most beautiful women ever. Ultimately, the film is motivating--it posits that destiny exists, but you have to go out and find it.

Signs

In M. Night Shyamalan's most recent masterpieces, his obsessions with Philadelphia and the presence of God shine through, making the movie not only a thriller about crop circles and ohhh aliens, but also an interesting meditation on some deep stuff. (Charles Mudede)

Stealing Harvard

Completely unnecessary. The plot: Usually funny Jason Lee, and perpetually unfunny Tom Green, turn to criminal endeavors in an attempt to send Lee's niece to Harvard. Hilarity is nowhere near this debacle, which is a shocking achievement considering Kids in the Hall alum Bruce McCullough is behind the lens. I'd try harder to convince you to stay away, but chances are this flick won't be in theaters long enough for you to see it.

Sweet Home Alabama

If you're thinking about watching Sweet Home Alabama-and I assume the thought crossed your mind if you're reading this review--I'd like to suggest some alternative uses of your time. Sharpen all the pencils in your collection and stick them through your eyes. Pull out every last nose hair with a pair of fingernail clippers. Use an electric drill to impale your eardrums. Any of one of these activities would be a better use of two hours than this shit-on-a-stick waste of a lesson that's already been taught in one hackneyed comedy after another--namely, that poor white Southern folk are fat, dumb, and wear Jaclyn Smith, but the boys are hot and they ain't as stupid as city folk think, 'cause they have heart. (Jennifer Maerz )

Swimfan

A teenage Fatal Attraction, where doggy Erika Christenesen seduces cutie Jesse Bradford into humping her, even though he's got the best girlfriend in the whole world. When he doesn't want to hump anymore, she inexplicably sets out to kill him and everyone he knows.

The Tuxedo

As everyone knows, what makes a kung fu film great is that sooner rather than later they get to the point: the dazzling dance of attack and defense. The Tuxedo is a bad kung fu film because it spends too much time and energy developing its sorry plot (a spy spoof), and the fight scenes are worth shit. The Tuxedo sucks like nobody's business. (Charles Mudede)

Wit

Mike Nichols directs and Emma Thompson stars as Vivian Bearing, a successful literature professor who emulates the brilliance and ironic "wit" of the 17th--century metaphysical poet, John Donne. When Vivian gets diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, she finds that wit can no longer meet her deepest needs. Naturally, an emotional journey ensues.

XXX

Just how bad is XXX? Worse than you've imagined. Seriously. I would rather be catheterized by a Parkinson's-afflicted nurse than sit through it again. It's that bad. Don't believe me? Then go see it. Flop down the $10 at your neighborhood multiplex and slouch your way through the picture. You'll see--and afterward you'll say, "Shit, man, I wish I'd listened to that chump from the Mercury." (Bradley Steinbacher)

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

D.A. Pennebaker's classic gets a digital makeover to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The film chronicles David Bowie at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1973, in his final performance as the infamous gender-bending Ziggy Stardust. For Bowie fans, 90 minutes of the man at the peak of his outrageous, sparkly, stiletto-heeled, glam-rock androgyny is not to be missed.