Bread and Tulips
If your idea of Italian food is the Olive Garden, this is probably not a movie for you. Slightly pudgy and in her mid-40s, Licia Maglietta is no sexpot; but she does have a sensuality that builds an alluring center to this well-paced and subtly funny fairytale. After being accidentally ditched by her obnoxious and disinterested family, Maglietta impulsively hitchhikes to Venice. There, her personality--ong sublimated to family chores and a cheating husband--begins to slowly emerge as a coy, robust, and hard-headed woman. Sort of like a menopause wet dream.
Directed by Charlie Chaplin, City Lights is a sad/ poignant film where his character silently tries to restore the sight of a cute young woman who sells flowers.
An accountant at a condom factory realizes he's about to be fired. Divorced, alienated from his 17-year-old son, he contemplates suicide, but is instead given some rather odd advice from his neighbor, a retired psychiatrist: Announce that you are gay at work, and the powers that be will be too frightened to fire you, lest they get slapped with a nasty lawsuit. The accountant takes his neighbor's advice, and, well, hilarity ensues. Or, if not hilarity, at least a few laughs here and there. Actually, how well you like The Closet may in fact depend on just how high Three's Company ranked on your laugh-o-meter. If the answer is 10, then by all means, rush out and see it. If, on the other hand, the number is five (or four, or three), you might want to stay home. (Bradley Steinbacher)
* The Deep End
Though it comes dressed in the icy blue clothes of a suspense thriller, The Deep End is a far more interesting creature. Using its intricate plot as shrewd camouflage, the film serves as an examination of the evolving relationship between a lonely mother and her gifted teenage son, whose sexuality (homo) is such an impenetrable subject that Mom (the ineffable Tilda Swinton) would rather navigate a murder cover-up, blackmail, and death threats than talk to the lad directly. (Sean Nelson)
Desi's Looking for a New Girl
Latina dyke Desi is in the dumps after getting dumped. Everyone is trying to set her up with new gals and shit is going all wrong, but hey, it's funny for us.
Don't Say A Word
Michael Douglas plays a New York shrink whose daughter is kidnapped by evil men who want only one thing: the six-number code locked away in the fashionably distressed head of Brittany Murphy, who is one of Douglas' patients. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be a number in Brittany Murphy's head.
Filmed in 1980 and 81, this film was "lost" due to a "lost" budget and some "lost" footage. Jean Michel Basquait wanders the streets of NY trying to sell a painting and runs into all sorts of underground art peeps and musicians. Lacking plot, but big on the name drop.
Ryan leaves his loving boyfriend Joel for an aspiring novelist who he has a deep conversation with at a party. Ryan leaves Joel's apartment post breakup and drifts into three dreamy love triangle possibilies. Shot entirely on digital video.
DUDE! FOUR TOTALLY EXTREME FRIENDS DISCOVER THEIR EXTREMELY DEEP INNER FEELINGS BY DOING TOTALLY RIGHTEOUS X-TREME SPORTS ON THE X-TREME WEST COAST.
* Ghost World
Fans of Daniel Clowes' epochal comic novel about the listless inner teen life have been awaiting this adaptation by Crumb director Terry Zwigoff for years now, and the film delivers, though not in the direct way you might have anticipated. Clowes' super-detached geek queens Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) have graduated from high school, and, bored, they answer a personals ad placed by über-dork vinyl junkie Seymour (an R. Crumb surrogate played brilliantly by Steve Buscemi) responds. As an experiment, Enid decides to educate Seymour in the ways of love, and her world begins to crumble. (Sean Nelson)
Ruby Baker gets delt a serious shit sandwich when her parents die and she goes to live with some family friends that turn out to be raving psychos.
Going to see Mariah's movie, Glitter, is like being invited to a crazy booby rainbow train wreck. Set in early '80s NYC, this movie rips off heavily from Purple Rain, A Star is Born, and many other rags to riches movies. If anything, it should have been a campy romp with bubble gum music, but instead, Miss Thing tries to act and (big surprise) fails miserably. Sorry Mariah, but leave the acting to J-Lo, and honey, prepare your frail mental state for the onslaught of much meaner reviews than this! (M. Lon Free)
Brad Anderson made a fairly charming romantic comedy called Next Stop Wonderland a few years back, a movie that was vastly overrated due to the unusual presence of a smidgen of intelligence. Now he's back with this unwieldy attempt to meld romance with time travel. Marisa Tomei is your typical hot, successful New Yorker who can't find a mate, just like all her hot, successful friends. Whatever. She meets Vincent D'Onofrio, who starts looking more and more embarrassed to be there as the film goes on. He's from the future, you see, or so he says, and he's come back in time to save her life. But maybe he's just nuts. But if he's nuts, at least it's in a cute, relatively harmless way, right? Whatever. (Marc Mohan)
Although Steve Buscemi would have made this version of Black News Bears particularly poignant, news flash: Keanu Reeves can actually act! Although he doesn't sustain the edgy character of a hard-on-his-luck gambling loser in every scene, he does manage a rather heart-tugging job as the coach for a little league team of foul mouthed (but, of course, delightfully loveable) housing project babies. In spite of an awkward, abrupt, and predictable ending, like the main character, the movie has some redeemable qualities--a believable underdog baseball team, thumping rap soundtrack, and stylized ebonics.
Hearts in Atlantis
Stephen King needs to return to the stuff that made him great, like Christine and Maximum Overdrive. Here, it's Anthony Hopkins who comes to live in a boarding house with 11-year-old Bobby Garfield. The old guy teaches the kid about life, love, and being a psychic when he should be giving acting lessons (I know it's mean, but child actor Anton Yelchin is awful!).
* Hedwig and the Angry Inch
John Cameron Mitchell wrote, directed, and starred in this Rocky Horror-cum-Velvet Goldmine-esque opus about a big-haired megalomaniac singing his/her way across the US. With 40-plus costume changes and songs that you will be singing for days, this is pure rock and roll candy which should be see on a big screen with big audio. (Michael Svoboda )
It's like the gay Bad News Bears. This time however, insetead of overcoming suckage, this group of gay men must overcome discrimination on their way to the national volleyball championships.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Kevin Smith is the cinematic equivalent to the Comic Book Store Guy on The Simpsons (or vice versa). He's managed to take his own particular brand of juvenile, dick-and-fart humor (mixed with a dose of ironic self-awareness and a dollop of grandiose delusions) and become an actual auteur of sorts. His movies never look like much, and they're not consistently funny, but when they hit the spot they're goddamn hilarious. This latest (and reportedly last) entry in the Jersey-based Jay and Bob mythos finds our pot-dealing, Quick Stop-loitering, Laurel-and-Hardy-esque duo on a trip across the continent to stop a movie based on the comic book based on their (fictional) selves.(Marc Mohan)
A girl and her brother are road tripping home from college when shit... they encounter an indestructible force that desperately wants to chomp them. Unfortunately this is about a girl and her brother, so we can't expect those great scenes where coitus is interrupted by the indestructible force, or ewww, maybe we can.
15-year-old Howie's mom dies in a car accident and his dad sucks at taking care of him. So, Howie first gets involved with a schoolmates robbery ring, but when the friend dumps him, Howie gets 'involved' with an older man. For some reason the older lech doesn't immediately ask for a blow job, and you're left to wonder why.
Two men in love with the same woman must fight against each other over the fate of the world.
A well-executed, gothic, horror film in a Jamesian vein, starring Nicole Kidman as a post-war mom on a tiny British isle desperate not to let the new servants (including the great Fionnula Flanagan) expose her "photosensitive" children to daylight. The claustrophobic tension of the incredible house (the film's only set, and its true star) mounts through the eerie film as the truth, like the characters' lives, unfurls methodically in this truly frightening endeavor from Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar.
Our Lady of the Assassins
A bedraggled, soul-sick writer proves that you can go home again, but that if your home is murderous Medellin, you better expect some heavy existential catharsis... especially if you have a torrid affair with a young cartel soldier while you're seeking your redemption.
* Perfect Son
Perfect Son follows a recovering drug-addict through the trials of having to deal with actual human interaction and the problems that arisefrom it. Theo's dad dies and he is forced to get back in touch with his older brother, who he knows virtually nothing about. Likewise, he discovers that his brother is not only gay and a serious gigalo, but also dying of AIDS. This sends him back into a substance binge, but eventually helps him become a sober, capable person. The relationship between the two brothers is so fucked up and charming, you just might shed a tear. (Katie Shimer)
* The Princess and the Warrior
The second collaboration between director Tom Twyker and the stunningly beautiful German actress Franka Potente. This time around, though, the pair has replaced the frenetic Nintendo plot of Run Lola Run with a carefully paced romance. No, we're not talking about a fawning Julia Roberts running around with her estrogen hanging out, but an eerie and tragic fairytale where castles are replaced by an insane asylum, and Prince Charming by a stoic street punk.
A DIY stoner flick about a bunch of dorks trying to buy the same guitar. Includes almost no women.
Whoa. It'a like a dream come true. Marky Mark is in a cover band, and omigod, then gets to be the singer for the band he's covering. Gawd. I hope that happens to Helles Belles.
Rush Hour 2
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan reteam as a black cop and a Chinese cop, their racially charged antics infuriate multiculturalists on two continents. This sequel to the occasionally funny original (beware: the trailer offers exactly zero laughs) features the very attractive Zhang Ziyi, from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
* The Score
This is a fully functional, if-perfunctory heist film that benefits greatly from its attention to the procedure of safecracking and breaking and entering, to say nothing of the utterly relaxed brilliance of its three lead actors, Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton, and best of all, Marlon Brando. It feels like these three pros took one look at the script and threw it away, realizing it was derivative trash (DeNiro plays a master thief who agrees to "one last job"--it's kind of like Ronin lite--in cahoots with fence Brando, and young buck Norton), but then realizing they could pull it off with the improvisational ease of a master acting class exercise.
* Sexy Beast
Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) is a retired gangster, living high on a hill in the Costa del Sol, enjoying a lethargic existence. But he is as out of place here as the heart-shaped ceramic tiles on the floor of his pool. Bad news arrives in the shape of Don Logan (Ben Kingsley, so great), there to coax Gal back to England for a job. Gal resists, but Don won't take no for an answer, setting in motion a verbal boxing match so artful and intense, it turns the sprawling Spanish vista into a pressure cooker, in which Gal is forced to reckon for his ill-had comforts.
Sing-a-long Sound of Music
One of the greatest American musicals of all time. Especially relevant to a nation beseiged with grief. The film will delight and enlighten--especially when you're singing along.
A teen survives a car accident, AHHHHH, only to be plagued by nightmares that destroy her dating life. Entertainment Weekly quotes the star, Melissa Sagemiller, saying about the film, "The story is really sad, so there was a lot of crying every day." Be warned, don't wear mascara.
The Adventures of Felix
An awesome flick about a gay man on a trip to find his estranged father. He meets a bunch of cool people on the way, and eventually, reaches an epiphany. (Katie Shimer)
The Best of Dance on Camera I
A collection of nine to 42 minute films that include dance. In Rest in Peace, four syblings start to go wacko while carrying their parents coffins to the buriel plot. Crazy behavior continues when the kids are back at home, and then they figure out, by going through their parents stuff, that they might have been crazy too.
The Best of Dance on Camera II
Two nearly hour-long films. Bomba: Dancing the Drum charts the evolution of Bomba/ Afro-Latino dance through a family called the Cepedas. Swing, Bop, and Hard Dance documents the black roots of swing dance across the U.S.
* The Charles Bukowski Tapes
A splicing of four minute monologues of crazy genius Charles Bukowski as he tours around seedy Hollywood neighborhoods and gets shitfaced. Directed by Barbet Schroeder.
The Legend of the Holy Drinker
A drunk living under a bridge in Paris is given a gift of 200 francs by a stranger. The stranger tells him that someday he must repay the francs to a certain church. This is the first and not the last miracle the "holy drinker" encounters on his difficult quest for redemption.
* The Outsiders
Ralph Macchio and Rob Lowe make a sex video together, but it turns out Ralph is under age and Rob has to go to jail for statutory rape.
An old guy and a young guy comb the slopes of the Dolomites for salvage metal left over from the war. Sometimes they find undetonated bombs, and eventually they become obsessed with fnding El Dorado, a buried armored car. Directed by Ermanno Olmi, the film is a commentary on the absurdity of the daily grind.
* The Tree of Wooden Clogs
This film has won tons of awards and made critics go butt crazy with it's 'return to humanism.' A story about economic oppression of peasants, it doesn't sound exciting, but I guess it is.
Throne of Blood
A dramatic, high energy interpretation of Shakespeare's Macbeth using a 16th Century warlord as the protaganist.
Hippie family learns to stop bitching and work together.
* Vertical Ray of the Sun
Tran Anh Hung shows a serene dream life for three sisters painted against a difficult and undiscussed real life of infidelity and in one sister's case, a near incestuous relationship with her brother. See review this issue.
You don't want to watch Webcam Boys, but just like the amputee mom episode of Jerry Springer, you can't stop. The documentary looks at the lives of models who live on camera 24 hours a day. Some love it, some hate it, some have sex three hours a day, some reveal their sordid pasts, and horrifyingly, one on-cam fetish-crazed duo is a couple of fornicating brothers. AHHHHH!!!!
Ben Stiller plays a supermodel in what looks like an Austin Powers knockoff. If it were anyone other than Stiller (and his brilliant co-star, Owen Wilson), this would seem like very bad news. Since it is Stiller, it shall--no, must--be funny. Please, someone, be funny. See review this issue.