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APRIL 2004

HELLBOY: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeffrey Tambor, Karel Roden, Rupert Evans, John Hurt, Corey Johnson, Doug Jones, Brian Caspe, James Babson (Directed by Guillermo del Toro; Columbia) The nazis would stop at nothing, as demonstrated by their attempt to win World War II with the help of a demon of their own making. At least, that's what we're led to believe in this horror flick that is based on a comic book with which we're sure you are familiar. As it turns out, some devils are less evil than others, even going so far as to join forces with the allies. Now Playing

HOME ON THE RANGE: The voices of Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, Jennifer Tilly, Cuba Gooding Jr., Randy Quaid, Steve Buscemi and Ann Richards (Directed by Will Finn and John Sanford; Disney/Buena Vista) Maggie the Cow, who sounds an awful lot like one-time sitcom queen Roseanne, is put out to pasture on a dairy farm. The question is, does she have to sing The Star Spangled Banner for her supper? Now Playing

THE PRINCE AND ME: Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Ben Miller, James Fox, Miranda Richardson, Eliza Bennett, Alberta Watson, John Bourgeois (Directed by Martha Coolidge; Paramount) A charming, skirt-chasing Danish prince with an impeccable British accent pretends to be a commoner when he enrolls at a Wisconsin college. Before he's been at school long enough to play hookey, he goes bonkers over a barmaid who also happens to be a classmate. At first, she thinks he's a jerk, but soon she changes her mind. Guess what happens when the down-to-earth gal discovers the guy is royalty--does she faint or does she fume? Now Playing

THE UNITED STATES OF LELAND: Don Cheadle, Ryan Gosling, Chris Klein, Jena Malone, Lena Olin, Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams, Martin Donovan, Ann Magnuson, Kerry Washington, Sherilyn Fenn (Directed by Matthew Ryan Hoge; Paramount Classics) Ryan Gosling, so chillingly persuasive as a Jewish anti-semite in "The Believer," plays a sullen youth who cold-bloodedly murders a retarded boy who happens to be the brother of the young and pretty dope addict who has given Ryan the gate. Can Ryan be rehabilitated in prison, where Don Cheadle, a teacher with literary ambitions, tries to provide inspiration? And will Ryan’s father, a narcissistic novelist played by Kevin Spacey (who is also one of the film’s producers) finally exhibit some paternal smarts? Stay tuned. Now Playing

WALKING TALL: Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough, Kristen Wilson, Ashley Scott, Khleo Thomas, John Beasley, Barbara Tarbuck, Michael Bowen, Kevin Durand (Directed by Kevin Bray; MGM) When a Special Forces hero returns to civilian life, he finds his hometown has been turned into a total den of iniquity. So, with the help of a recovered junkie and his own former sweetheart (who has been living a life of big-time sin), he gets himself elected sheriff and starts kicking butt. If this sounds familiar, that's because the story, based loosely on the life of Tennessee lawman Buford Pusser, was told in the hugely popular 1973 film of the same title, starring Joe Don Baker. Now Playing

JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION: Cedric the Entertainer, Lil' Bow Wow, Shannon Elizabeth, Steve Harvey, Vanessa L. Williams, Solange Knowles, Gabby Soleil, Chris Hardwick, Lorna Scott (Directed by Christopher Erskin; Written by Todd R. Jones and Earl Richey Jones; Fox Searchlight) The Johnsons, some of whom do not have a strong sense of family, are on their way to Caruthersville, Missouri for a reunion of the clan. But not one Johnson--especially Dad (Cedric the Entertainer), the designated driver--seems to have a sense of direction. So where they'll end up (and in what condition) is anybody's guess. Now Playing

THE ALAMO: Billy Bob Thornton, Dennis Quaid, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson, Jordi Molla, Emilio Echevarria, Matthew O’Leary, (Directed by John Lee Hancock; Disney/Buena Vista/Touchstone) Holed up in a San Antonio fort in 1836, a couple hundred or so stouthearted Americans--among them Davy Crockett (Billy Bob Thornton), Jim Bowie (Jason Patric) and Sam Houston (Dennis Quaid)—do brave battle against the Mexican Army. The question is, can Billy Bob be as brave as John Wayne proved to be as Colonel Crockett in the 1960 version of the Alamo conflict? And can John Lee Hancock, the man who gave us "The Rookie," surpass the directorial bravado exhibited by The Duke on one of his rare turns behind the camera? For comments from the critics, click here. Now Playing

ELLA ENCHANTED: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Minnie Driver, Vivica A. Fox, Joanna Lumley, Patrick Bergin (Directed by Tommy O'Haver; Written by Laurie Craig; Miramax) Thanks to a spell she's under, Ella is forced to be eternally obedient. But if she doesn't keep the spell a secret from her new step-family, the prince of the kingdom (a royal sweetheart) will be in big trouble. Got that? The novel by Gail Carson Levine upon which Laurie Craig based her screenplay is said to be a favorite among the kiddies, particularly the girl kiddies. Now Playing

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR: Emile Hirsch, Elisha Cuthbert, Timothy Olyphant, James Remar, Chris Marquette, Royal Dano, Timothy Bottoms, Donna Bullock, Jacob Young (Directed by Luke Greenfield; Fox) A red-blooded (read horny) high school student peers into the window of the house next door, only to discover that a luscious babe has moved in—and she’s stark naked. What’s a boy to do? Can he restrain himself, especially after learning his new neighbor is a sometimes porn star? Sounds like risky business to me. Now Playing

I'M NOT SCARED: Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Dino Abbrescia, Giuseppe Cristiano, Mattia Di Pierro, Diego Abatantuono (Directed by Gabriele Salvatores; Written by Niccolo Ammaniti; Miramax) Michele, a sensitive Sicilian lad comes across something wild and scary at the bottom of a dark pit. The creature, as it turns out, is a boy his own age, one who apparently has been kidnapped and held prisoner by people who are no strangers to Michele. In his enthusiastic New Yorker review, David Denby says the film "is a lyrical throwback to such movies as Rene Clement's 'Forbidden Games' and other works of the humanist European cinema of a half centruy ago." And that's good enough for me. Now Playing

TWENTYNINE PALMS: Yekaterina Golubeva, David Wissak (Written and Directed by Bruno Dumont; Wellspring Media) A young American and his lovely Eastern European companion find themselves more or less stranded in the U.S. desert. He doesn't speak her language, and she doesn't speak his. So they opt for communicating through the extraordinarily explicit and varied language of sex. Their "conversation" caused audiences at Lincoln Center's Rendez-Vous With French Cinema to gasp. Now Playing

THE WHOLE TEN YARDS: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Natasha Henstridge, Amanda Peet, Kevin Pollak, Frank Collison, Carl Ciarfalio, Johnny Messner, Ward Shrake (Directed by Howard Deutch; Warner Bros.) Audiences who loved Bruce Willis as hit man Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski and Matthew Perry as his neighbor the dentist in "The Whole Nine Yards" are counting the days until this sequel surfaces. Given the option, I’d opt for root canal. Now Playing

CONNIE AND CARLA: Nia Vardalos, Toni Collette, Stephen Spinella, Dash Mihok, David Duchovny (Directed by Michael Lembeck; Written by Nia Vardalos; Universal) Menaced by the mob, two resourceful women hide out by going in drag and knocking everyone dead with their quickly improvised song-and-dance routines. If you thought "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was hilarious and heartwarmy, you may think the same of "Connie and Carla," since it was perpetrated by the same actress/writer--the incorrigible Nia Vardalos. Now Playing

KILL BILL: VOL. 2: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Samuel L. Jackson, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Bo Svenson, Michael Parks, LaTanya Richardson, Caitlin Keats, Sonny Chiba (Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino; Miramax) "The bride is back for the final cut" is what Miramax is promising/threatening, and we don't doubt it for a second. She's out slash the man who did her wrong down to size. Are you listening, Bill? Now Playing

 

THE PUNISHER: Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Roy Scheider, Laura Harring, Will Patton, Samantha Mathis, James Carpinello, Marco St. John (Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh; Written by Michael France and Jonathan Hensleigh; Lions Gate) Special agent Frank Castle (Thomas Jane)--a tough guy familiar to legions of Marvel Comics addicts--is in a rage because his family has been wiped out by a baddie and his henchpeople. Naturally, Frank demands justice, even if it's vigilante justice. To read Guy Flatley's interview with newcomer Travolta just before he got hot with "Saturday Night Fever," click here. Now Playing

YOUNG ADAM: Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Peter Mullan, Emily Mortimer, Therese Bradley, Ewan Stewart, Stuart McQuarrie, Pauline Turner, Alan Cooke, Rory McCann (Directed by David Mackenzie; Three Lines Pictures) A drifter takes a job with a married couple who run a barge between Glasgow and Edinburgh and strikes erotic sparks with his woman boss. One morning the body of a nearly nude woman surfaces in the canal, and, as it turns out, that woman was not unknown to the drifter. To read Guy Flatley's review, click here. Now Playing

 

MAN ON FIRE: Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell, Mickey Rourke, Giancarlo Giannini, Rachel Ticotin, Marc Anthony (Directed by Tony Scott; Written by Brian Helgeland; Fox) An American living in Mexico City hires a tough, complicated ex-marine to prevent something horrific from happening to his wife and daughter. And then something horrific happens. Naturally, the bitter bodyguard seeks revenge at any cost. For a hint of just how bloody that revenge might be, click here to read A. O. Scott's description in The New York Times. Now Playing

THE AGRONOMIST: (Directed by Jonathan Demme; THINKFilm) Jonathan Demme has been justly acclaimed for his direction of such diverse fictional fare as "Handle With Care," "Melvin and Howard," "Something Wild," "Married to the Mob," "Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia." But he has been equally successful in the documentary field, most notably with "Stop Making Sense," "Swimming to Cambodia," "Cousin Bobby" and "Haiti: Dreams of Democracy." In this real-life drama—a festival favorite at Venice, Toronto and Deauville—Demme returns to Haiti and the gripping story of Jean Dominique, the eloquently outspoken journalist and social activist who was assassinated, possibly by order of a former colleague, in April of 2000. To read a New York Times report on "The Agronomist," click here. For comments from the critics, click here. Now Playing

CLOSE YOUR EYES: Goran Visnjic, Paddy Considine, Shirley Henderson, Miranda Otto, Fiona Shaw, Corin Redgrave (Directed by Nick Willing; First Look Pictures) A London doctor with telepathic skill becomes obsessed with finding a ritualistic serial killer, and his pursuit takes him to dark, extraordinarily scary places. Now Playing

RHINOCEROS EYES: Michael Pitt, Paige Turco, Gale Harold, Matt Servitto, James Allodi, Jackie Borroughs, Nadia Litz, Victor Ertmanis (Written and directed by Aaron Woodley) When a seductive movie production designer (Paige Turco) orders an impressionable, conspicuously smitten prop man (Michael Pitt, last seen very much in the buff in Bertolucci's "The Dreamers") to fetch her a prosthestic arm, a severed human finger and some rhinoceros eyes, he gets right on it. Does this sound like something out of a David Cronenberg horror flick? Maybe that's because Aaron Woodley, the film's first-time writer/director, is Cronenberg's nephew. Now Playing

13 GOING ON 30: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis, Christa B. Allen, Sean Marquette (Directed by Gary Winick; Written by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa; Columbia) A maladjusted adolescent blossoms into a teenager one day in 1987, a milestone marked by a truly rotten birthday party…up until the lucky minute she ingests a magic potion that rockets her all the way to the wonderful world of adulthood in 2004. And you thought the movie wasn’t going to have a happy ending? Now Playing

BOBBY JONES, STROKE OF GENIUS: James Caviezel, Claire Forlani, Aidan Quinn, Malcolm McDowell, Connie Ray, Brett Rice, Larry Thompson (Directed by Rowdy Herrington; Written by Rowdy Herrington and Bill Pryor; Film Foundry Releasing) Could Jesus have hit a hole in one? Perhaps not, but Jim Caviezel, the man who played Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ," performs that and other championship miracles in this biopic about Bobby Jones, the driven amateur golfer who beat the pros out of the Grand Slam prize in 1930 and then retired at the ripe old age of 28. Now Playing

ENVY: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poeher, Christopher Walken, Ariel Gade, Sam Lerner, Lily Jackson, Connor Matheus, Hector Elias (Directed by Barry Levinson; Written by Steve Adams; DreamWorks) Tim (Stiller) and Nick (Black) are the best of the buddies, even though Nick drives Tim nuts with his idiotic schemes to strike it rich. Naturally, Tim says no when Nick offers him the chance to invest in his latest invention--Vapoorizer, a device that causes dog poop to vanish into thin air. So is Tim the least bit upset when Vapoorizer brings in a fortune for his friend? Believe me, the newly prosperous Nick is soon in deep doo-doo. Yes, director Barry Levinson is the man who gave us "Diner," "The Natural," "Tin Men," "Rain Man" and "Bugsy." Now Playing

GODSEND: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Greg Kinnear, Robert De Niro, Cameron Bright, Jenny Levine, Deborah Odell, Janet Bailey, Marcia Bennett (Directed by Nick Hamm; Written by Mark Bomback; Lions Gate) A tragic accident occurs, leaving an 8-year-old boy (Cameron Bright) dead. His grief-stricken parents (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Greg Kinnear) then make a deal with a decidedly satanic stem-cell specialist (Robert De Niro) for a quick, albeit illegal, clone job. So what do you think happens next? Now Playing

LAWS OF ATTRACTION: Pierce Brosnan, Julianne Moore, Parker Posey, Michael Sheen, Frances Fisher, Nora Dunn, Sarah gilbert, Mike Doyle (Directed by Peter Howitt; Written by Aline Brosh McKenna; New Line) Pierce is a divorce lawyer, Julianne is a divorce lawyer, and they're frequently on opposite sides of the same case. Can they fall in love, get married and live happily ever after? And will it matter to you, one way or the other? Now Playing

MEAN GIRLS: Lindsay Lohan, Tina Fey, Rachel McAdams, Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Poehler, Amanda Seyfried, Jonathan Bennett (Directed by Mark S. Waters; Written by Tina Fey; Paramount) Can teenage girls be ruthless, scheming bitches? You bet. And that's what super-sweet Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) discovers when she transfers to a new high school. Worth noting: director Mark S. Waters is the brother of Daniel Waters, the fiendish perpetrator of "Heathers," a nuttily nasty portrait of nubile evildoers. Now Playing

 

THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD: Isabella Rossellini, Mark McKinney, Maria de Medeiros, Ross McMillan, David Fox, Claude Dorge, Darcy Fehr, Erik J. Berg (Directed by Guy Maddin; Written by Kazuo Ishiguro and Guy Maddin; IFC Films) In an effort to bring a little cheer to the starving masses during the Great Depression, an innovative beer baroness establishes a competition to see who can make the saddest music imaginable. Why should potential music makers bother? The prize is $25,000! Do you think I’m making this up? Well, I’m not. What’s more, the movie bowled them over at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Now Playing