Breakfast at Tiffany's
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 15.
Breakfast on Pluto
As Patrick "Kitten" Brady, Cillian Murphy cross-dresses as the disarmingly beautiful and magnetic transvestite protagonist. Set in a tumultuous Ireland during the '60s and '70s, Kitten is an orphan literally left on the doorstep of the local priest (Liam Neeson); as he grows up, his inclinations become more cemented, and he gradually, and for all intents and purposes, becomes a she. Murphy's complete mastery of this incredibly complex character—along with the general eye candy of setting and wardrobes—is the reason to see Pluto. Though it clocks in at almost two and a half hours, Kitten's style and wit could have propelled it for another hour with nary a complaint from me. (Marjorie Skinner)
Itinerant cowboys Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis (Heath Ledger), after too much whiskey and solitude, engage in a bout of rough but passionate sex, each of them insisting afterward that they're not "queer." What follows is a lifetime of secret excursions and double lives. Much has been written about Ledger's performance here, and none of it does justice to the complexities of his portrayal of a lonely, self-loathing man who grows old, denying himself the only thing that he wants in life. It's to director Ang Lee's highest credit that even a performance as strong as Ledger's can neither steal nor dominate this nearly perfect film. (Chas Bowie)
See review this issue.
Cheaper by the Dozen 2
Almost as unnecessary a sequel as Baby Geniuses 2—but not nearly as funny—Cheaper by the Dozen 2 follows the gaggle to their old summertime getaway where the age-old rivalry between Tom (Steve Martin) and Jimmy (Eugene Levy, on par here with his pedophilic turn in the Olsen Twins' 2004 classic New York Minute) drags on. As expected, Steve Martin says things like "It's all good" and a dog humps Carmen Electra's leg. CBTD2 does hold a pleasant surprise, however—Hilary Duff now looks like a 35-year-old anorexic slut. (Will Gardner)
Christmas in the Clouds
Billed as "the first Native American screwball comedy," Christmas in the Clouds makes one hope it's the last. Focusing on the staff and guests of a Native American resort, it's not that there's nary a single funny joke in its entire running time that dooms Clouds, but rather that it's so listlessly content to be bland, meandering, and corny. The story: Resort manager Ray Clouds on Fire (Timothy Vahle) finds out a guidebook writer is coming, and throws out all the stops to get a good review. Only problem? He thinks the critic is a hot chick (Mariana Tosca), when the critic's really a cantankerous old man (M. Emmet Walsh)! (Insert laughs here.) Romance and supposed wackiness follow, as do weird tangents about the resort's allegedly eccentric staff and enough painfully manipulative melodrama to fill a hundred Lifetime Channel TV movies. (Erik Henriksen)
The Family Stone
Shenanigans follow when beloved son Everett (Dermot Mulroney) brings home his new girlfriend, Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker). Said shenanigans involve Everett's gay brother Thad (Tyrone Giordano), his other brother Ben (Luke Wilson), who's on hand with some weed (apparently to remind us of an important holiday lesson, and one I learn every year—Christmas is way more fun if you're fucked up), Meredith's sister (Claire Danes), and Diane Keaton, who stares at the hole where her boob used to be and avoids telling her family that the cancer is back. Needless to say, there's just a bit too much going on here, and it's impossible to suspend disbelief with such an exhaustive assortment of clichés and stereotypes. (Alison Hallett)
Fun with Dick and Jane
The good news? It's only 85 minutes long! In the era of Kong-length masturbatory cinema, it's damn near refreshing to escape a movie theater with blood still circulating in one's buns. The even better news? It's not terrible! As the star of Fun with Dick and Jane, Jim Carrey tones down his maniacal style a smidge (but just a smidge) to make this remake of the 1977 not-so-classic pretty tolerable. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
Gay Sex in the '70s
Ever wonder what that one shining decade of true sexual freedom for gay men was like? Before AIDS, those horrible freedom rings, and baggy pants? Well—in New York, at least, and according to Gay Sex in the '70s—it was all about sex. Fucking in the park, blowjobs on the docks, doin' it in bathhouses, bars, wherever, whenever. Fool around with somebody sketchy? Just go get a shot—now get out there and have some more sex! Interspersing photos, porn clips, and grainy archival footage with interviews from a few men lucky enough to live through the AIDS aftermath, this film still left me wanting a bit more substance. Maybe what's missing are the stories of those who weren't lucky enough to survive. (Brad Buckner)
There's this one part when Kong fights three T-rexes! HOW FUCKING RAD IS THAT?! (Erik Henriksen)
Memoirs of a Geisha
Zzzzzzzzzzzz... ah? Snort! Wha? Who—where?—ah, yes. Sorry, I must've nodded off there for a moment. We were going to discuss Memoirs of a Geisha, yes? Well then, let's get started! Memoirs of a Geisha is about a Japanese girl who... who... who becomes a gei... a geish... gei—zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. (Erik Henriksen)
The creepily organic Munich deals with the terrorist attacks of the 1972 Olympics, when 11 Israeli athletes were killed, and its aftermath, in which an Israel-sanctioned group carried out vengeance against the perceived perpetrators. Needless to say, the film has some pretty twitchy subject matter, but thankfully, Steven Spielberg handles it nearly perfectly—offering a deft, straightforward re-enactment that focuses on the people caught up in the rigid ideology of a fluid war. With a subtlety and determination he hasn't shown for years, Spielberg buckles down and makes Munich a powerful, disturbing, and emotional examination of violence, politics, and self. (Erik Henriksen)
It's fitting, really, that The Producers' storyline centers around a theatrical flop, since the film version—with the same director as the Tony Award-winning Broadway version (which was, in turn, based on Mel Brooks' 1968 film), and much of the same cast—is, similarly, an offputting, overwrought, overacted groan-fest. (Amy Jenniges)
Protocols of Zion
See review this issue.
Watching The Ringer produced the exact effect that the organizers of the Special Olympics must have intended when they collaborated with the Farrelly Brothers: I now have zero desire to make fun of retarded people. Which is a shame, because now I have nothing left to say in this review. Okay, fine: Johnny Knoxville plays Steve, who poses as a 'tard to win big bucks at the Special Olympics. But since the Special Olympics were fully on board with this movie, it feels like the Farrellys relinquished all creative control to the Special Olympics board (who are not retarded, by the way). This isn't the total kiss of death; it's just that instead of being a sick, twisted comedy, The Ringer's merely an uplifting comedy with a few good laughs. (Chas Bowie)
Rumor Has It...
While not fantastic, Rumor far exceeded my expectations, particularly with the crass presence of Shirley MacLaine, and in spite of the presences of Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner. The premise is meta-strange—positing that The Graduate was inspired by a true story, that Mrs. Robinson is actually Aniston's grandmother (MacLaine), and that Dustin Hoffman's character (Costner) may or may not be Aniston's real father. It's a lot of convolution for a romantic comedy, which is actually somewhat relieving. It's far from perfect, but more than tolerable—who'd a thought? (Marjorie Skinner)
Three Stooges Mini-Marathon
See My, What a Busy Week! on page 15.
After the abominable blitz of sissy Japanese horror remakes (The Ring, The Grudge), a blood-soaked wake-up call is just the thing Hollywood needs to remind them that horror's pointless if you can't put yourself in the slicee's shoes—and Wolf Creek ties those shoes on too tight for comfort. The film's gruesome, gut-churning plot unfolds in a manner that's grotesquely voyeuristic, and when you leave the theater, you'll probably be wishing the theater had covered their seats in plastic. (Jenna Roadman)
See review this issue.