Almost Famous
Cameron Crowe's film about groupies, Lester Bangs, and learning to ROCK in the '70s. Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, Lake Twin Cinema, Washington Square Center

Jamie Foxx stars as another black man under surveillance by White America. Koin Center

On her way to participate in the Miss American Miss pageant, a young woman is forced to reevalute her decision. Starring Minnie Driver and directed by The Flying Nun (Sally Fields). Koin Center

Brendan Fraser makes faustian deals with the devil (all tits and ass and Elizabeth Hurley)! Century Eastport 16, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

* Best In Show
Christopher Guest's latest with Eugene Levy follows several dog owners on their quest for the blue ribbon at the 2000 Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show. A well-executed, ridiculous little film lovingly mining ridiculous little people's ridiculous little lives. Century Eastport 16, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Mall, Tigard Cinemas

Billy Elliot
An ADORABLE film about a SWEET boy who wants to DANCE instead of mine coal. Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Mall, Moreland Theater, Movies on TV

Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows
Here are a few things you might consider doing instead of seeing the Blair Witch sequel: bleaching your nose hair, shaving your feet, experimenting with RU-486, or watching Alf reruns. Trust me: This film is so bad, no amount of high-priced marketing tools--glitzy trailers, live webcasts, star-studded soundtrack CDs--can save it. And the motivation behind this dreck is all too clear: pure and simple greed. 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

The Blair Witch Project
In 1994, while shooting a documentary on the myth of "The Blair Witch," three film students mysteriously disappeared in the woods. The missing trio included director Heather Donahue, sound engineer Michael Williams, and cameraman Joshua Leonard. A year later, their video and film cameras, along with the footage, are found in the basement of an abandoned home. Though a fictional film, The Blair Witch Project is effective because it seems real. Too real, even. (Charles Mudede) St. John's Theater

Broken Hearts Club
Broken Hearts Club = Your typical Romantic Comedy + lots of gay men - hetero sex scenes. Fox Tower 10

* But I'm a Cheerleader
Director Jamie Babbitt's feature debut may be a bit forced, but Natasha Lyonne, as a cheerleader thought to be lesbian, is both believable and charming. Lyonne is sent to a homosexual rehabilitation camp run by RuPaul and Cathy Moriarty, and learns the valuable lesson that sexual orientation isn't as cut-and-dried as one might think. (Wm. Steven Humprey) Laurelhurst Theater

* The Cell
Viewed conceptually, this film is remarkable: an acutley visual journey through a serial killer's mind that is both deranged and ethereal. To achieve this, director Tarsem Duamdwar uses special effects in a unique way, one that relies not only on sophisticated, expensive technology, but also preys on your worst fears of sex, violence, and insanity--all presented in surprisingly beautiful aesthetics; Even when Killer D'Onofrio is slowly twirling out the intestines of Vince Vaughn, he does so with delicate scissors in a celestial room adorned with garish, golden decadence. The whole movie smacks of Alice in Wonderland, yet relies on the founding images of Catholicism; at one point Jennifer Lopez appears as Virgin Mary, ready to kill the evil beast with her enormous sword. Unfortunately, Lopez and her co-star Vince Vaughn remain true to the same, paper-thin characters they always play; beautiful, compassionate, out to save the world, blah, blah, blah. But the movie is undoubtedly worth seeing anyway--just think of them as background. (Katia Dunn) Laurelhurst Theater

* Charlie's Angels
I swore it could never be done, but somehow they've taken one of the worst shows in TV history, put in two of the worst actors in Hollywood (Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz), and come up with a comedic gem--and dare I say it?--one of the most hilarious films of the year. In this updated version of the TV show, director McG tips his hat to the classic T&A detective show of the '70s and then has a field day tearing each of its conventions down. The cast is uniformly terrific, especially Cameron Diaz, who plays her role like a giggly, girlish sociopath. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza

The Contender
Liberals have won the culture wars, and it's embarrassing. In this Hollywood version of the Lewinsky affair (with the Clinton character recast as a woman), the Democrats make all the great speeches you wish they'd made during the 104th Congress and the Republicans are as simply evil and as plainly hypocritical as you wish they were. The Contender plays like it was funded by the DNC and scripted by a college sophomore taking her first Intro to Women's Studies class. The first hour of the movie--featuring murders, behind-the-scenes White House meetings, strong arm politicking, and secret memos--is actually a blast, but once the the trite sermonizing kicks in (Democrats are pro-choice!) you'll start wishing they'd just cut to more footage of the sex scandal. (It seems Senator Laine Hanson, played by Joan Allen, got drunk and fucked a whole crew of boys one night in her past.) A B-movie about a B-rate episode in American history. One plus, though: Allen is fetching. (Josh Feit) Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Washington Square Center

The Crew
Four retired gangsters plan one last heist to raise money for a new colostomy bag. Edgefield Powerstation

(1949) Burt Lancaster plays an armored truck driver who, through a series of elaborate lies involving his ex-wife and lover, becomes embroiled in a dangerous heist. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

* Dancer in the Dark
Lars von Trier's new film may be an self-absorbed intellectual trainwreck, but Bjork is fucking awesome! City Center 12, Fox Tower 10

The Exorcist
Perhaps one of the greatest and grossest (with the largest amount of vomit per square foot of film ever) movies in recent decades, this 1973 thriller sparked in-theatre hysteria and a new genre of psychological thrillers. The well-known premise mimics every parent's nightmare: That one's child is literally possessed by the devil. Sure, there are the indelible scenes as an adorable, vomit-splattered Linda Blair turns her head 360 degrees and violently masturbates with a crucifix. And, yes, there are the crowd-pleasing insults (to the exorcising priest from the adorable Blair: "your mother sucks cocks in hell"). But, there are also many light touches--such as the bumbling detective desperately trying to score a date, the thieving priest who steals whiskey from confessing sinners and the chain-smoking doctor who gives Blair a spinal tap--that earned the movie nine Academy Award nominations (but only one award) and four Golden Globes. Eastgate

* Girl on the Bridge
Patrice Leconte (Ridicule) has recently been outshined by the directors of the so-called "new new wave," which is unfortunate, as he is certainly one of the best directors working in France. Girl on the Bridge offers further evidence. A ravishing, breezily paced tale of amour fou, Girl on the Bridge stars Daniel Auteuil as a Svengali-like knife-thrower who meets his perfect foil in Vanessa Paradis' Adele. What makes the film great, though, is Leconte's feel for the effect of place on people: The roads are beckoning, Monte Carlo is impulsive, and Istanbul is confusion itself. Auteuil is never less than his dour self, and Paradis--a gap-toothed woman, it's worth noting--is stunning throughout. Cinemagic

In Brooklyn's Red Hook district, Punchy Diana wants nothing more than to kick some ass in the ring, but nasty Daddy poo-poos the idea. It's an interesting, moving story with a bunch of crappy sub-plots seeping in to ruin the whole thing. Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater

Go, Johnny Go!
(1959) A rock promoter molds a young orphan into a rock star. Crazy, man! Crazy! Includes Ritchie Valens' only film performance, and toe-tappin' rock for all the chicks and Charleys! Hollywood Theatre

* Goodfellas
It's a goombah-rama when Marty Scorsese directs this fast-moving, hilarious tale of mob life. Laurelhurst Theater

The Great Dance
A documentary about the unique hunting ritual of the San people. Tracing back 30,000 years in an unbroken link with their ancestors, the San are accepted as the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa. The San hunters enter the mind of the animal, thus becoming both the hunter and hunted. If this doesn't convince you, Great Dance is the only film ever to have won three Panda awards. Clinton Street Theatre

* Human Resources
A stinky title for a swell, smart film about parallels between unions and bosses, fathers and sons. University student Frank takes a management position at the small-town factory where his father has worked for 30 years. He discovers that the bosses are exploitative scum and winds up leading a strike, while realizing that since childhood his father has infused him with shame for being working class. Terrific performances from the leads and cameo actors. (Stacey Levine) Fox Tower 10

I'm the One that I Want
Margaret Cho made a terrible sitcom a while back--All-American Girl--and this straightforward record of her recent standup act recounts her struggles with weight, alcohol, and pernicious self-doubt that resulted from its failure. Cho isn't a particularly insightful comic, but she sure knows how to go after a laugh. What's funny here is gleefully, howlingly funny. Her personal emancipation, however, doesn't quite flow freely from the rest of her material; the show strains whenever she stops to hit a nail on the head. As a result, it's the scruffy, playful stuff that fares much better, including priceless takes on her mother, a testy Karl Lagerfeld behind bars, and a fag hag navigating her pals through the Underground Railroad. (Steve Wiecking) Fox Tower 10

The Legend of Bagger Vance
Bagger Vance opens with Jack Lemmon having a heart attack on a golf course, which sets the tone for the whole movie. Lying in the rough, Lemmon starts to narrate a story about how, when he was 10 years old, he and a mystical caddy named Bagger Vance (Will Smith) helped keep local golfer Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon) from embarrassing himself in an exhibition match against the two greatest golfers in America. You see, Junuh "lost his swing" when he saw his buddies die in WWI, and he needs the love of a pretty good woman (Charlize Theron), the faith of a child, and some Zen-like advice from a mystical caddy to get it back. Unlike Space Cowboys, Clint Eastwood's practical take on old age and death, Redford's film about death and dying is chock full of nostalgia but not mortality. Maybe he needs a little more experience before he takes on his next project. (Andy Spletzer) Broadway Metroplex, Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lake Twin Cinema, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza

Legend of the Drunken Master
Miramax attempts to make a little more money by dubbing Jackie Chan's Drunken Master II into English, and then re-releasing it. Meanwhile, fans of the Crow series have demanded a boycott of the film, in a harebrained attempt to convince Miramax to release The Crow: Salvation. Angry Jackie Chan fans responded by arguing that a boycott of Legend of the Drunken Master only really hurts Jackie Chan. Blood is gonna fly! Mark our words! 82nd Avenue, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, St. John's Theater

Little Nicky
Adam Sandler stars as the son of Satan in the 35th Devil-themed film of the year. Could it be that the true millennium is really scheduled for New Years Eve, 2001--like the Quakers said? God help us! 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate

The Little Vampire
The Little Vampire is a magical and funny movie but I wouldn't recommend it to children under seven because it is pretty scary. The movie is about a kid that finds vampires and helps them find a certain stone so they can turn into humans. The only thing stopping them is the vampire killer. He is a pretty freaky guy and his truck is freaky, too. It has lights all over it because the vampires are scared of light. It also has a cross on it and a coffin on the side. The vampires do all they can to defeat the vampire killer and get the stone before he does. (Sam Lachow, age 9) 82nd Avenue, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Movies on TV, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza

* Live Free or Die
Dr. Wayne Goldner is an OB-GYN in a small, New England town who chooses to provide legal abortions. This documentary is about the persecution he receives not only at the hands of anti-abortion activists, but by townsfolk who agree with what he's doing, yet refuse to get involved. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

* Lucky Numbers
The simmering misanthropic narcissism that has curdled Nora Ephron's every attempt at romantic comedy is finally brought full boil, and the result is far and away her best film as a director. It probably helped that she had nothing to do with the screenplay, whose very funny twists and turns can be credited to Adam Resnick, late of Get a Life! and Cabin Boy. To be sure, the smarmy self-absorbed presence of Chris Elliott would have helped enormously, but John Travolta is just fine as the low-rent Harrisburg weatherman who decides to fix the state lottery, while the fine supporting cast (including Tim Roth as the closest thing the movie has to a mastermind, and Bill Pullman as the closest it has to a hero) are all up to his level. An unrelieved blast of bilious, mean-spirited, utterly hateful disgust; I enjoyed it immensely. (Bruce Reid) City Center 12, Division Street, Milwaukie 3 Theater, Vancouver Plaza , Washington Square Center

* Meet the Parents
Jewish complications ensue when Ben Stiller meets the pop of his new g-friend, Robert DeNiro. Century Eastport 16, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate

Men Of Honor
Why are you even thinking of seeing this movie (A biopic about the first black underwater salvage expert that soaks Robert De Niro, sinks China Gooding, and drowns the audience with every cliche of the military movie genre, never mind that they all contradict each other) when you haven't seen Bamboozled, the Spike Lee about the TV show with the guys in blackface? Bamboozled is a lead balloon, but interesting leaden. Bamboozled gives Damon Wayans an unlikable, peculiar role that he inhabits fully. Bamboozled has a few minor characters that aren't pure clichè, most notably Paul Mooney as Wayans's father. Bamboozled has Savion Glover in a hideously underwritten role, but he dances--Lawsamighty, do he dance! Bamboozled ... oh, it hasn't opened here? Well, whose fault is that? (Barley Blair) Broadway Metroplex, City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza, Westgate

Nurse Betty
Betty (Renèe Zellweger), a diner waitress, settles comfortably into a thick confusion after accidentally witnessing her sleazy drug-dealer husband's murder. She instantly blocks out reality, and drives to Los Angeles in pursuit of her favorite soap-opera character, whom she believes is her long-lost true love. On paper, this sounds great--onscreen, it's surprisingly disappointing. After watching these relentless caricatures strut around for 112 minutes, it's difficult to keep caring, and to keep rooting for Betty in earnest. (Min Liao) Avalon Theatre, Bagdad Theater, Hollywood Theatre, Koin Center, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater

* Of Mice and Men
The Steinbeck classic about the friendship between two ranch hands during the great Depression. Music by Aaron Copeland. Northwest Film Center at Whitsell Auditorium

The Original Kings of Comedy
Another of Spike Lee's so-called "jointz," this one being a documentary which shows stand-up comics Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and Bernie Mac in action. Kennedy School Theatre, Koin Center

Pay it Forward
After having been instructed by his social studies teacher to make the world a more benevolent place, Haley Joel Osment starts at the bottom, where the bums live amid burning oil cans, of course. About five minutes into his effort, Osment thinks he's failed and that the world is, in fact, shit. It's a performance that'll probably earn somebody an Oscar, but it just made me feel like kicking a kid in the teeth. (Kathleen Wilson) 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas

Peggy Sue Got Married
Kathleen Turner wakes up in her teenage body, only she still looks thirty-eight. Nick Cage, her boyfriend now and then, is no spring chicken either. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

A Perfect Storm
Plot: Fishermen fight storm in hopes of getting home to some pussy. Protagonists: Marky Mark, Dr. Ross, Happy's competitor in Happy Gilmore, a few guys who are in every other movie, some no-names. Villains: Hurricane Grace, backed by two other vengeful storms. The money-grubbing boat owner. Perks: Awesome special effects: 50-foot sea swells, water rescues, hurricane clouds etc. Downers: Canned dialogue, excessive machismo, totally stupid ending. Recommendation: If you're looking for a marijuana freak-out, smoke some and head to this flick. If you're looking for an Academy Award Nominee, forget it. (Katie Shimer) Avalon Theatre, Kennedy School Theatre, Koin Center, Laurelhurst Theater, Mission Theater, Movie House

Pressure Point
Protests of international finance meetings have been making headlines around the world. This video documents the Montreal Blockade and a group of activists who decide to take part. PCC Cascade Campus

Red Planet
Humankind seems to be absolutely screwed for this one reason: When in trouble, we send Val Kilmer to save us. Even if you can grin-and-bear that we would we send a half-dozen nitwits and a malfunctioning robot to colonize Mars, the action never really kicks in. Kilmer is like watching Forest Gump in space: Sent in tincan spaceships circa 1975, Kilmer and his peas-and-carrots soulmate Carrie-Anne Moss crash their primitive moon-lander and afterwards scramble around a mostly barren planet. For intrigue and human chemistry, the NASA channel puts this movie to shame. The only really valuable piece of information this movie delivers is: Never travel anywhere with Val Kilmer. City Center 12, Clackamas Town Center, Division Street, Eastgate, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Mall, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate

Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington coaches a bi-racial high school football team. Will they win the big game? Or more importantly, will they have any nudie locker room scenes? 82nd Avenue, City Center 12, Division Street, Evergreen Parkway, Hilltop, Lloyd Cinemas, Movies on TV, Oak Grove 8 Theater, St. John's Theater, Tigard Cinemas, Vancouver Plaza , Westgate

* Requiem for a Dream
The yuks keep flying in this Disney-produced user's manual for heroin addiction. See review this issue. Fox Tower 10

Rock, Rock, Rock
(1956) A young chicky has to work to buy her prom dress after daddy closes her charge account. Man, that's like squaresville! At least there are performances by Chuck Berry and Fats Domino! Cool, daddy, cool! Hollywood Theatre

Scary Movie
Though I can't say Scary Movie was particularly witty, or even clever, the cast performs their over-the-top slapstick with such good-natured intentions, it's hard not to be swept up in the fun. Sure, there are the requisite off-color jokes directed at gays, potheads, teen sex, and the mentally challenged, but unlike the Farrelly brothers (Something About Mary, Kingpin), Wayans delivers punchlines as a nudge in the ribs rather than a slap across the face. (Wm. Steven Humprey) Avalon Theatre, Koin Center

A multidisciplinary extravaganza which combines live theater, film, dance, music, and literature, this epic promises to help re-define the experience of watching movies. Inspired by Delmore Schwarz's "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities," and incorporating elements of Chekov's Three Sisters, Silence! is a highly ambitious production. Mission Theater

Smiling Fish & Goat on Fire
If you liked Party of Five, you'll love this film! Two real-life brothers play cinematic siblings in an ain't life-challenging movie. Somewhat more sophisticated than an afterschool special, the plot is textured with jokes smarter than your average frat boy. The real treat: the art of the film-making itself. Tutored by Martin Scorsese, the Martini brothers (yes, their real names) are sharp filmmakers. If you can sit through the boy-meets-girl, must-learn-to-share-with-brother plot, it is worth the price to watch two rising directors. Fox Tower 10

Space Cowboys
Three old retired Air Force pilots want one last ride into outer space. Christ! Isn't it bad enough that these old farts always get the beautiful young chicks in the movies? And now they want to go into space, too? Forget it, Grandpa! It's off to the nursing home for you! Milwaukie 3 Theater

* sUPER8UNDERGROUND presents "Dreams"
sUPER8UNDERGROUND, also known as the tiny picture club, consists of animators, artists, and other creative folk around town, who adore the grainy, coagulate aesthetic of Super8 film. Employing costumes and live "dreamy" musicians (including saw, synthesizer, and cello players), they'll show this collection of their interpretations of dreams. Ranging from literal interpretations ("Shuushifi Dougi Akumu," by Eric Kilkenny, about "eating a really rotten corn dog and drinking too much schnapps" ) to the visceral and abstract ("Dark Chamber" by Ben Adams; "Dream #2600" by Kevin T. Allen), it's sure to be a clever jab in the side of stodgy old Freud. See review this issue. (Julianne Shepherd) Medicine Hat Gallery

The Tao of Steve
The Tao of Steve: 101 ways to bag a babe and keep her coming back for more. Dex, a fat intellectual slob, formulates and follows his plan for sexual success, insisting to his friends that the number one way to attract women is to ignore them. Through the magic of make-believe, this tactic works. The pot smoking jelly-belly has a harem of women sending him the booty call. What is his secret? What is the attraction? Could it be the charming afterglow from his morning bong hit? Is it the crushing weight of his huge gut? No one knows or cares, because in real life Dex is just one of the many loser pot-heads that move about in packs, not as couples. (Karrin Ellertson) Laurelhurst Theater

Time Regained
Time Regained is Chilean director Raul Ruiz' brillliant adaptation of the final volume of Proust's In Search of Time Lost. It is also arguably the best adaptation of Proust to date. While Ruiz has been known to be maddeningly esoteric at times, Time Regained is a surprisingly accessible work, despite Ruiz's trademark stylistic flourishes and labyrinthine narrative structures. Ruiz is one of the most important filmmakers working today, and this film is the perfect introduction to his work. See review this issue. Cinema 21

Tokyo Story
Yasujiro Ozu's sad tale about an older couple's visit to their children, where they are treated with indifference. Northwest Film Center at The Guild Theater

Twilight Man
Not quite a narrative piece, this 55-minute feature by local filmmaker Brent Heise is about a man whose delusional, semi-comical business ethic is challenged when he meets a religious leader on a roof. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

Two Family House
In the Bronx, a small-time dreamer gets his buzz shackled by family and friends. Fox Tower 10

Urban Legends: Final Cut
While working on her film thesis (a documentary about "urban legends"), a student becomes deeply annoyed when a murderer begins systematically killing her entire crew. Koin Center

* Waiting for Guffman
Christopher Guest is Corky St. Clair, a (way, way off) Broadway Director, in this "funny because it's true" mockfest about the big-city aspirations of small-town theater. With Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, and Eugene Levy as the soon-to-be-famous players of Blaine, Missouri. Hollywood Theatre

Peter Cohen's debut movie goes something like this: Beavis and Butthead have grown out of their acne stage, taken swank jobs in New York, picked out Banana Republic wardrobes and are now dating. The starting point for the skimpy narrative of the film is a Saturday morning coffeehouse meeting where four male buddies compare notes about their latest escapades. Anyone hear the distant echoes of Friends, Seinfield and Sex in the City? Inevitably, they fall for the same perfect woman. The build-up to the finale--who will she chose? Will we see her breasts?--is about as satisfying as a clumsy and dull lover. Koin Center

The Wizard of Oz
From the Internet: "A young girl wakes up in a strange land and kills the first woman she sees." Kennedy School Theatre

This movie is all fine and dandy, but there's one area where I got beef: Where the Hell is Psylocke? You know, Betsy Braddock, super-tuff ninja lady, psychic knife. What, were her extrasensory powers too ambiguous for the special F/X dudes to translate to the big screen? Yeah? Well, I got one thing to say: SYNERGY! If fucking Hasbro could animate the life of Jem (complete with holograms and flashing earrings) back in the '80s, surely the creators of X-Men could've put a piddly ole psychic knife in a computer and churned out something cool. I'll stick to the video game, thanks. Avalon Theatre, Bagdad Theater, Edgefield Powerstation, Laurelhurst Theater

* X-Ray Vision
A world premiere documentary about one of Portland's favorite night-spots, the late, great X-Ray Cafe. See review this issue. Clinton Street Theatre

The Yards
Leo Handler (Mark Wahlberg) is a street kid freshly released from prison after taking the fall for his friend Willie Gutierrez (Joaquin Phoenix). He wants to get his life back on track, and appeals to his influential Uncle Frank (James Caan) for work at his train repair company, then finds himself drawn into a downward spiral of corruption, violence, and familial betrayal. The return of the prodigal son is far from a fresh theme, but director James Gray has assembled an outstanding cast and had the good sense to stay out of their way. It is only in the last few minutes of the film that Gray's minimalist instinct derails, as each plot point is rushed ruthlessly toward completion. Characters dash about brandishing guns and plummet willy-nilly over balconies at the cost of the delicate, melancholy truth the rest of this worthwhile film so elegantly evokes. (Tamara Paris) Century Eastport 16