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A CORRUPT COP WHO'S ADDICTED TO DRUGS AND SEX? HAVEN'T WE MET THIS GUY BEFORE? SURE WE HAVE. THE QUESTION IS, CAN NICOLAS CAGE BE NASTIER THAN HARVEY KEITEL?

BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS

Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Brad Dourif, Jennifer Coolidge, Fairuza Balk, Shawn Hatosy, Shea Whigham, Xzibit, Denzel Whitaker, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Tom Bower, Brandi Coleman, Irma P. Hall

Directed by Werner Herzog
Written by William M. Finkelstein
Nu Image Films

If you had the warped pleasure of observing scruples-deprived cop Harvey Keitel chisel, cheat, screw, masturbate, sniff, swill, kill and sob (particularly over the rape of a gorgeous young nun by a gang of inglourious New York basterds) in Abel Ferrara’s 1992 dark, overheated “Bad Lieutenant,” why would you bother to see this remake?

Maybe because the setting on this occasion is not hopelessly decadent New York, but moderately decadent New Orleans. And the auteur x-raying this infected turf is not Abel Ferrara, notorious for his bad taste, but Germany’s legendarily uncompromising Werner Herzog, director of “Even Dwarfs Started Small,” “Aguirre, The Wrath of God,” “Stroszek,” “Woyzeck” and “Fitzcarraldo.” Also, there is no nunsense on display here, only the plight of Eva Mendes as a severely put-upon prostitute.

In place of Keitel, who played the conspicuously nameless Bad Lieutenant, we get Nicolas Cage, an actor who never said no when invited to go over the top. He plays Terence McDonagh, a homicide detective who’s promoted to the rank of lieutenant after performing an uncharacteristic act of heroism during Hurricane Katrina—an act that leaves him with chronic backache. Showing symptoms of being rotten to the core, McDonagh feels his badge is a free pass to seek release from his pain in illegal drugs, and he is not above feeding his hunger for cocaine and Vicodin by means that are beastly at best.  For those who stand in his way, you can bet there will be blood aplenty.

Dope, alas, is not McDonagh’s only weakness. The lieutenant is also insatiably hooked on sex, which means hard times for the ladies of the Big Easy night. Among those assisting or hindering this hugely flawed man of the law on what could be a journey to the depths of hell or to spiritual salvation are Val Kilmer, Brad Dourif, Jennifer Coolidge, Fairuza Balk, Shawn Hatosy, Xzibit, Denzel Whitaker, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Irma P. Hall.
Opening date to be announced


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Alex Kaluzhsky (Directed by Tony Scott; Written by David Koepp; Columbia) One of the most entertaining and terrifying thrillers of 1974 was Joseph Sargent’s “The Taking of Pelham 123,” which was adapted by Peter Stone from John Godey’s novel. Here’s how New York Times critic Nora Sayre described the story line in her rave review: “Four highly efficient hoods hijack an IRT subway car and hold eighteen people hostage for a million dollars; if the city doesn't pay within an hour, one hostage will be shot a minute. The Transit Authority, the Police Department, the Mayor and his colleagues all go into frenzied but coordinated action, while the film cuts most expertly between the stalled car and its passengers, the T.A. Command Center, Gracie Mansion, and the city streets.” With director Tony Scott and screenwriter David Koepp in charge, we will once again be hurried along on a harrowing trip through the jangly streets and dark tunnels of the Big Apple. Denzel Washington will try on the role of the cool transit cop played by Walter Matthau in the original, John Travolta inherits Robert Shaw’s role of a lethal hijacker, and James Gandolfini--on leave from Jersey--is the panicky Mayor of New York. To read Guy Flatley's 1976 New York Time interview with John Travolta, click here. Now Playing

ALL THE KING'S MEN: Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, Anthony Hopkins,Talia Balsam, Jackie Earle Haley, Kevin Dunn (Written and directed by Steven Zaillian; Columbia) Could there be another Academy Award on the horizon for Sean Penn, who nabbed an Oscar for his high-voltage performance in 2003’s "Mystic River"? The answer is yes, if history repeats itself. That would be because the Oscar for Best Actor of 1949 went to Broderick Crawford, who played Willie Stark in "All the King’s Men," the Robert Rossen adaptation of Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize novel about a Southern governor closely resembling Louisiana’s Huey Long. In the 2005 version, Penn is the unscrupulous candidate determined to occupy the governor’s mansion—a part Mel Gibson campaigned to play. (That Mel is such a loser!) The role of Stark's tough aide, Sadie Burke, which brought Mercedes McCambridge a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, has been entrusted to Patricia Clarkson, the shameless scene-stealer from "Far From Home," "The Station Agent" and "Pieces of April." As for Jack Burden, the cynical journalist who discovers a few of Willie Stark's darker secrets, he'll be played by Jude Law--following in the footsteps of John Ireland, who won a Best Supporting Actor of 1949 nomination for his performance in the original "All the King's Men." Kate Winslet--playing Anne Stanton, the bright and beautiful young thing who should (but doesn't) know better than to get romantically involved with Willie Stark--follows in the footsteps of Joanne Dru, who did not receive an Oscar nomination for her performance. But she sure was a looker. Now Playing

BROTHERS: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman (Directed by Jim Sheridan; Written by David Benioff; Relativity Media) There was a time when some moviegoers had difficulty telling the difference between Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. Finally, we got the picture: Tobey was a climber of skyscrapers; Jake was a herder of sheep. More than ever, it will be important to tell the stars of “Spider-Man” and “Brokeback Mountain” apart in “Brothers,” a drama in which a dutiful young man goes off to combat in Afghanistan, leaving his wife and child in the care of a younger brother not known for his dependability. The four-square sibling is played by Maguire, and Gyllenhaal plays the rebel without a conspicuous cause. The role of the woman responsible for expanding their fraternal relationship into a love triangle has gone to Natalie Portman. “Brothers” is a remake, so if you’re eager for more details, check out Susanne Bier’s 2004 Danish-language film starring Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Connie Nielsen. Opening date to be announced

BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING: Reese Witherspoon (Type A Films) Carol Lynley, a distinctive, all-but-forgotten actress who seemed on the verge of major stardom in the sixties, was great to watch as the stressed mother of a missing child in Otto Preminger’s classy 1965 thriller, “Bunny Lake Is Missing.” And who can doubt that Reese Witherspoon will work similar wonders in this remake? Now the question is, who will play the roles performed so persuasively in the original by Laurence Olivier, Keir Dullea, Noel Coward, Martita Hunt, Anna Massey and Clive Revill? Opening date to be announced

CAROUSEL: Hugh Jackman (Fox 2000) “The Sound of Music” made a big, big noise at the 1963 box office. Despite Julie Andrews’ ravishing voice and perky spirit, however, the movie was basically a bore. That, alas, was also true of numerous other screen adaptations of Rodgers & Hammerstein hit musicals, including “Oklahoma!,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I” and “Flower Drum Song.” And it was certainly true of “Carousel,” the 1956 Cinemascope snooze starring Gordon MacRae as Billy Bigelow, the macho, carnival barker and thief who is given a one-day pass from purgatory in order to straighten out the lives of the wife and daughter he left behind. The good news here is that the handsome, boastful lug singing “If I Loved You” and “Soliloquy” will be Hugh Jackman, who triumphed in a 2000 Carnegie Hall concert version of “Carousel” honoring Rodgers & Hammerstein. Opening date to be announced

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Kathy Bates, John Cleese, Jaden Smith, Aaron Douglas (Directed by Scott Derrickson; Written by David Scarpa; Fox) Sometimes an alien’s best friend on earth is the robot he brought along for the ride from outer space, a fact that was impressively illustrated in “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” Robert Wise’s stylish 1951 sci-fi flick. Now Keanu Reeves takes on Michael Rennie’s role of a gentle visitor from another planet who strives to make the world a safe place for Jennifer Connelly, who follows in Patricia Neal’s footsteps as a frantic young mom. Now Playing

THE DEPARTED: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone, Gerard McSorley, Vera Farmiga, Todd Peterson (Directed by Martin Scorsese; Written by William Monahan; Warner Bros.) Leo as a Chinese undercover cop who’s infiltrated a sinister Hong Kong gang, and Matt as a ruthless member of that gang passing himself off as a gung-ho Hong Kong police recruit? Am I making this up? Only a little. These Hollywood baby-icons are in fact starring in an American rehash of “Wu Jian Dao” (“Infernal Affairs”), a big 2002 Hong Kong action hit. This time, the tricky thrills and spills are played out in the streets and back rooms of Boston, and the gang at the center of the mischief is Irish, not Chinese. And, as anyone who tuned in to the 2006 Oscars knows, the change of locale worked out just fine. To read Guy Flatley's 1973 interview with Scorsese, click here; for Guy's 1974 interview with Jack Nicholson, click here. Now Playing

EVERYBODY’S FINE: Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell (Written and directed by Kirk Jones; Miramax) A lonely, no-longer-young widower just doesn’t know what to do with himself. Then, one day, it strikes him that what he really needs to make his life meaningful is to hook up with each of his geographically scattered kids again. He could be dead wrong about that. De Niro is the wandering dad in this remake of "Stanno Tuti Bene," Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1990 Italian comedy-tearjerker starring Marcello Mastroianni. Barrymore, Beckinsale and Rockwell play his grown-up brats. Click here for Vincent Canby's 1991 review of the original "Everybody's Fine" in The New York Times; to read Guy Flatley's 1973 New York Times interview with Robert De Niro, click here. Opening date to be announced

A GOOD WOMAN: Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Campbell Moore, Giorgia Massetti, Mark Umbers (Directed by Michael Barker; Buskin Films) Too bad Oscar Wilde's not around anymore. He would have taken a keen interest in this film about a woman (Helen Hunt) who toys with the husband of a much younger woman (Scarlett Johansson), since it is based upon his play, "Lady Windermere's Fan." We're sure he'd want director Michael Barker to have more fun with the story than Otto Preminger did in his version, a 1949 turkey which was called "The Fan" and starred Madeleine Carroll, Jeanne Crain, Richard Greene and George Sanders. Now Playing

HAIRSPRAY: John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky, Amanda Bynes, Zac Efron (Directed by Adam Shankman; Written by Leslie Dixon; New Line) There is nothing like a dame, especially when she’s played by John Travolta. The dude who once made women quiver when he went into his dance in “Saturday Night Fever” is sure to swivel and even sing as he takes on the role of Edna Turnblad in this adaptation of the hit musical based on John Waters’ 1988 cult film. Edna, played by the fabulously cross-dressing Divine in the original movie and by Harvey Fierstein in the Broadway show, is an ambitious 1960s mom trying to ease Tracy, her plump, perky daughter, through her troubled teens. The kid is played by newcomer Nikki Blonsky; Queen Latifah will strut her stuff as Motormouth Maybelle; and, believe it or not, Michelle Pfeiffer, who proved she could really sing in “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” will belt out a hot number or two as Velma Von Tussle, the menacing producer of a TV dance show on which Tracy is dying to perform. For Guy Flatley's 1976 interview with John Travolta, click here; to see what else Travolta is up to these days, click here and browse the T page of STAR TURNS; for Queen Latifah's upcoming movies, click here and browse the L page of STAR TURNS. Now Playing

I AM LEGEND: Will Smith, Salli Richardson, Dash Mihok, Paradox Pollack, Alice Braga, Sterling Wolfe, Charlie Tahan (Directed by Francis Lawrence; Written by Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman; Warner Bros) A lethal virus has attacked our planet, and the only visible survivor is a mystified super-scientist who roams the streets of what may be the last city on earth, tapping out daily radio messages to what he hopes are fellow survivors. The city, of course, is New York, and the strangely immune scientist is Will Smith. Can Will find peace on earth (not to mention a few good, honest-to-god men and women, as opposed to the mutant, possibly blood-sucking, weirdoes who keep popping up in his path and quickly retreating into the shadows)? For clues, browse through the 1954 novel that is this film’s chief source--Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend,” in which an apocalypse is triggered by what appears to be the reckless behavior of a gang of vampires. Or you might check out these previous cinematic versions of the Matheson story: 1964’s “The Last Man on Earth,” an Italian flick starring Vincent Price, and 1971’s “The Omega Man,” in which Charlton Heston was the man who seemed to be facing the world all by himself. Our hunch is that where there's a Will there's a Way. Now Playing

LAST HOLIDAY: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Gerard Depardieu, Alicia Witt, Giancarlo Esposito (Directed by Wayne Wang; Written by Peter Seaman and Jeffrey Price; Paramount) A couple of years ago, in “The Ladykillers,” Tom Hanks played the wannabe master robber first played by Alec Guinness in the 1955 film bearing the same title. This year, the role that the incomparable Guinness played in 1950’s “Last Holiday” is being played by the incomparable Queen Latifah. What’s the role? A dutiful, hard-working American sales clerk who decides to take a European vacation when she’s diagnosed as terminally ill. Naturally, she knocks the socks off those Euroslugs with her wit, courage and determination to have fun, fun, fun. To read Diane Baroni's 1991 interview with Gerard Depardieu, click here. Now Playing

LONELY HEARTS: John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Laura Dern, Scott Caan, Alice Krige, Marc Macaulay, Dagmara Dmincyzk, Michael Gaston, Jay Amor (Written and directed by Todd Robinson; Lonely Hearts Productions) This tale sounds repulsive enough to be true. And it is true. Based on actual grotesque characters and events (and “The Honeymoon Killers,” Leonard Kastle’s 1970 cult movie starring Shirley Stoler and Tony Lo Bianco), it tracks sickos Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez on a serial-killing journey through the U.S. during the late forties. The film also follows the two crazed cops who are hot--but not always hot enough--on the crackpots’ trail. Fernandez--who began his shameful scam by writing to war widows, boasting of the steamy sex he can supply them, and then visiting and murdering them for their money--will be played by Jared Leto. Martha Beck was targeted as his victim but instead became his sexually voracious partner in slaughter and was making goo-goo eyes at him right up to the day in 1951 when they were electrocuted at Sing Sing. John Travolta and James Gandolfini, who have done their most striking film work as remorseless hit men in “Pulp Fiction” and “The Mexican,” respectively, play the tunnel-visioned lawmen. For more new murderpix, click here; to see what else James Gandolfini is up to, click here. Now Playing

MARIE ANTOINETTE: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, Asia Argento, Marianne Faithfull, Aurore Clement, Molly Shannon, Shirley Henderson (Written and directed by Sofia Coppola; Columbia) Kirsten Dunst, who made director Sofia Coppola proud in “The Virgin Suicides,” will try to do the same thing in this fresh take on the royal who lost her head during the French Revolution. In a move that some might brand as nepotism, Coppola cast cousin Jason Schwartzman auis XVI. Anyone who saw “Rushmore,” however, knows Schwartzman--nephew of Francis Ford Coppola, son of Talia Shire--is as talented as he is well-connected, so obviously the kid should stay in the picture). Now Playing

NO RESERVATIONS: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin, Patricia Clarkson, Jenny Wade, Lily Rabe (Directed by Scott Hicks; Written by Carol Fuchs and Sandra Nettelbeck; Warner Bros.) What’s cooking with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart? Plenty--from culinary rivalry to competition for the affection of an eccentric kid to the budding of something like love in this remake of the successful German romantic comedy, “Mostly Martha.” Zeta-Jones plays an obsessive, temperamental chef who draws drooling crowds to a posh restaurant. Her career is hobbled, however, when her sister is killed in a car crash and she is suddenly forced to sub as mom to her niece (the wonderful Abigail Breslin, from “Little Miss Sunshine.” Adding to the frustrated chef’s misery, her boss (Patricia Clarkson) hires an ambitious, charming sous-chef (Eckhart) to pitch in at the restaurant when she’s home minding Little Miss Orphan. Co-scripter Sandra Nettelbeck was the writer-director of “Mostly Martha,” but the director of the remake is Scott Hicks, who really hasn’t been all that visible since winning an Oscar nomination for 1996’s “Shine.” Now Playing

THE PAINTED VEIL: Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Diana Rigg, Toby Jones, Anthony Wong (Directed by John Curran; Written by Ron Nyswaner; Warner Independent Pictures) Can you ever forget Garbo as the long-suffering wife of Herbert Marshall in the film version of Somerset Maugham's “The Painted Veil”? Of course you can’t, because you surely didn’t see it. Not many moviegoers did catch this MGM tearjerker, which was perhaps the dreariest MGM film of 1934. But we’re living in a whole new century now, so Naomi Watts, an especially game actress, will tackle the role of the weary woman whose punishment for cheating on her doctor-hubby (Edward Norton) is the chore of tagging along with him to a remote region of China that has been hit hard by a plague. Naturally, she becomes so bored that she falls in love with the good doctor all over again. Now Playing

THE PINK PANTHER: Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Beyonce Knowles, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Kristin Chenoweth, Roger Rees, Henry Czerny, Boris McGiver, Stephen Rowe (Directed by Shawn Levy and Ivan Reitman; MGM/UA) After starring in a remake of Spencer Tracy's 1950 "Father of the Bride" and a sequel to the remake, and then starring in a remake of Clifton Webb's 1950 "Cheaper By the Dozen" and a sequel to that remake, Steve Martin now steps forward and attempts something truly innovative: he's playing Inspector Clouseau, the bumbling sleuth created by Peter Sellers 42 years ago in "The Pink Panther." More of a prequel than a remake, the plot revolves around the murder of a soccer coach and the theft of a precious diamond. I may wait for the sequel. Now Playing

POSEIDON: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett, Jimmy Bennett, Emmy Rossum, Mark Vogel, Kevin Dillon, Freddy Rodriguez, Mia Maestro (Directed by Wolfgang Petersen; Written by Mark Protosevich; Warner Bros.) We feared it might never happen, but here, at last, is Wolfgang Petersen, the splashy auteur of “Das Boot” and “The Perfect Storm,” producing and directing a remake of "The Poseidon Adventure," the 1972 camp classic about an ocean liner that flip-flops, forcing its passengers--including Gene Hackman, Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine and Red Buttons--to engage in a crazed climb up to the bottom of the boat. (The poster above deftly manages to capture the film's spirit.) Although the story has been dragged into this century (Dreyfuss plays an openly gay man who's feeling blue because his boyfriend has dumped him), the troublemaker is still a titanic-sized tidal wave. But the troublemaker that could sink this potential blockbuster at the box office is the Hallmark Channel remake of "The Poseidon Adventure" that NBC shrewdly purchased and aired to a huge audience late in 2005. As for "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure," the misguided sequel that boldly set sail seven years after the original, nobody seems to remember it--least of all its mortified leading lady, Sally Field. Now Playing

SLEUTH: Michael Caine, Jude Law (Directed by Kenneth Branagh; Written by Harold Pinter; Sony Pictures Classics) A distinguished, conniving, sexually possessive playwright discovers that his lovely wife is having a red-hot fling with a brazen young actor. So, while his wife is away, he invites the handsome adulterer to spend the weekend with him at his secluded manor. Just a couple of buddies amusing--and possibly even murdering--one another. If this all sounds more than a little familiar to you, that may be because you saw Anthony Shaffer’s thriller on stage, as well as the 1972 movie version starring Laurence Olivier as the wordsmith and Michael Caine as the thespian. This time, Caine is playing the cuckold and the role of the sneaky lover has been entrusted to Jude Law (who, as you no doubt know, played the shameless womanizer in the remake of “Alfie,” a role brought memorably to life by Michael Caine in the original). Now Playing

3:10 TO YUMA: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Gretchen Mol, Peter Fonda, Vinessa Shaw, Alan Tudyk, Logan Lerman, Kevin Durand, Johnny Whitworth, Dallas Roberts (Directed by James Mangold; Written by Stuart Beattie, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas; Lionsgate) In 1957, Delmer Daves turned out a nifty psychological western-thriller that was based on an Elmore Leonard story and contained echoes of 1952’s “High Noon” and 1953’s “Shane.” Now “3:10 to Yuma” is being given a new spin by James Mangold, director of “Walk the Line.” This time the lethal stagecoach robber played by Glenn Ford in the original will be played by Russell Crowe, who, as we all know, is so good at playing so bad. The poor, desperate rancher who helps capture the villain and is then paid to take him to trial on the 3:10 train has been changed to a lawman who’s a bit of a loser in the remake. He’ll be played by Christian Bale, who has his work cut out for him in trying to top the performance of the great Van Heflin in the 1957 flick. Now Playing

THE WOMEN: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, Candice Bergen, Carrie Fisher, Cloris Leachman, Debi Mazar (Written and directed by Diane English; Picturehouse) Women--when they bond with one another and struggle to make the world a better place in which to live and love and wage peace--are adorable creatures. But at least one of the women in Clare Boothe Luce’s 1936 Broadway hit shrugged her shoulder at sisterhood and coolly sized up every available--and unavailable--male who crossed her path. Her name was Crystal, she was a gold-digging shopgirl, and she was played with predatory precision by Joan Crawford in George Cukor’s 1939 film adaptation. Sixty-nine years later, in an update by writer-director Diane Enlish, the blissfully cruel Crystal is being played by Eva Mendes, a Cuban-American seductress who may finally have landed her breakout role. Meg Ryan, an actress in urgent need of a comeback role, plays the achingly noble Mary Haines, a lady whose wealthy husband is the besotted victim of Crystal’s wiles. If Diane English is true to Clare Boothe Luce, Mary’s hubby--and all of the other men who figure prominently in the lives of these Manhattan “Women”--will be present in spirit only. Now Playing