APRIL 2005

LOOK AT ME: Marilou Berry, Agnes Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Laurent Grevill, Virginie Desarnauts, Keine Bouhiza (Directed by Agnes Jaoui; Written by Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri; Sony Pictures Classics) A bunch of bright, neurotic Parisians compete and connive to get what they think they want out of life. Among the more prominent schemers are Sylvia (Agnes Jaoui), a voice teacher, and her pupil Lolita (Marilou Berry, at left), the painfully insecure daughter of a selfish but famous author (Jean-Pierre Bacri). A sensation at the Cannes and New York festivals, “Look at Me” is said to top writer/director/actress Jaoui’s impressive debut film, “The Taste of Others.” For A.O. Scott's review in The New York Times, click here. Now Playing

SIN CITY: Jessica Alba, Devon Aoki, Alexis Bledel, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Carla Gugino, Josh Hartnett, Rutger Hauer, Jaime King, Michael Madsen, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Nick Stahl, Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood (Directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez; Written by Frank Miller; Dimension Films) Read any good comic books lately? You don’t have to; you can take the easy way out by dropping into a cineplex where this feverishly faithful adaptation of three blood-drenched comics--or graphic novels, as they are sometimes called--by cult artiste Frank Miller is unspooling. If the movie lives up to its box-off expectations, you can expect to see another sinful cinematic trio before long. For Manohla Dargis’ review in The New York Times, click here. Now Playing

CHRYSTAL: Lisa Blount, Billy Bob Thornton, Ray McKinnon, Harry J. Lennix, Harry Dean Stanton, Colin Fickes, Kathryn Howell, Walt Goggins, James Intveld (Written and directed by Ray McKinnon) Ray McKinnon, who won an Oscar last year for his direction of a short called "The Accountant," goes the full directorial course with this intense drama in which he plays the minor role of a druggie named Snake. The movie's major role is played by Lisa Blount, McKinnon's real-life wife who is best remembered as David Keith's suicidal sweetheart in 1982’s "An Officer and a Gentleman." This time Blount is Chrystal, a bitter, dysfunctional woman trying to cope with the reappearance of her husband (Billy Bob Thornton), a loser who's just finished serving a lengthy sentence for his participation in a tragic event that resulted in the death of their only child. Could there be a happy ending just around the corner? Now Playing

FEVER PITCH: Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, James B. Sikking, JoBeth Williams, Willie Garson, Evan Helmuth, Ione Skye, Kadee Strickland (Directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly; Written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel; Fox) Corporate career-climber Lindsey (Drew Barrymore) loves schoolteacher Ben (Jimmy Fallon) and Ben loves Lindsey--but not as much as he loves the Boston Red Sox. Can this relationship be saved without Lindsey having to quit her job and go into spring training? Since pranksters Peter and Bobby Farrelly--the sibling directors who gave us “Something About Mary”--had a major hand in this, you can expect a few curve balls. Now Playing

SAHARA: Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, Steve Zahn, Lambert Wilson, Glynn Thurman, Delroy Lindo, William H. Macy, Lennie James, Rainn Wilson (Directed by Breck Eisner; Written by Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, John C. Richards and James V. Hart; Paramount) Sexy do-gooders McConaughey and Cruz do their sexy best to save Africa and the rest of the world from ecological disaster, but it’s not exactly a snap for them. Rumor has it that sexy sparks were ignited by McConaughey and Cruz during the shoot; rumor also has it that none of those sparks show up in the finished film. P.S. The rumors turned out to be true. That's probably why "Sahara" toppled "Sin City" and became the Number One Box Office Champ. Now Playing

PALINDROMES: Shayna Levine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Ellen Barkin, Stephen Singer, Richard Masur, Debra Monk, Stephen Adly-Guirgis (Written and directed by Todd Solondz; Extra Large Pictures) Her name is Aviva, she’s 12 years old, and she’s frantic to have sex. Not for the fun of it, mind you—the kid just wants in the worst way to become a mom. Her own mom—not to mention her quick-tempered dad—have their own very different ideas about what’s good for Aviva. Does this sound crazy and sort of sick to you? Not if you, like me, are a fan of writer-director Todd Solondz, the wonderful weirdo responsible for “Welcome to the Dollhouse” and “Happiness.” According to New York Times critic A. O. Scott, "The real problem with the latest film by Todd Solondz is not that he goes too far, but that he seems to have no artistic interest beyond the limitless ugliness of humanity." Now Playing

THE INTERPRETER: Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Tsai Chin, David Zayas, Maz Jobrani,Adrian Martinez (Directed by Sydney Pollack; Written by Scott Frank and Charles Randolph; Universal) Just what the world needs now—a thriller about a beautiful U.N. interpreter (Kidman) who becomes the potential target of a terrorist when she stumbles upon a scheme to assassinate her boss. If only she can get a smug Secret Service agent (Penn) to take her claim seriously! With the permission of the Secretary General, the film was shot at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. What was Kofi Annan thinking? Maybe he was just trying to keep his mind off that Oil for Food fuss. To read A. O. Scott's review of "The Interpreter" in The New York Times, click here; for Todd McCarthy's review in Variety, click here. Now Playing

A LOT LIKE LOVE: Amanda Peet, Ashton Kutcher, Kathryn Hahn, Kal Penn, Ali Larter, Taryn Manning, Gabriel Mann, Jeremy Sisto (Directed by Nigel Cole; Written by Colin Patrick Lynch; Touchstone) After meeting cute and having sex in the john of a jet, Emily (Amanda Peet) and Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) come down to earth and go their separate ways. Well, not exactly. Over the next seven years, they continue to bump into one another and flirt with the idea that they might actually be in love. Where, one wonders, are Doris Day and Rock Hudson when you really need them? Actually, audiences are saying this neoromantic comedy is a lot more appealing than it sounds, mostly because of the chemistry between its daffy leads. New York Times critic Manohla Dargis was especially impressed by Amanda Peet, “a fine young actress with a perilously long list of rotten movies to her name.” Guy Flatley was dazzled too when he chatted with Peet back in 2000, around the time her “Whipped” got creamed by the critics; to read that interview, click here. Now Playing

MADISON: Jim Caviezel, Bruce Dern, Mary McCormack, Jake Lloyd (Directed by William Bindley; Written by William and Scott Bindley; MGM) You stomped and cheered for "Rocky," "The Karate Kid," "Prefontaine," "The Rookie" and all those other fanatical jocks who came from behind and finished first. Now prepare to go berserk again when you see this true tale, set in idyllic Indiana, about Jim McCormick (Caviezel), a simple, ordinary guy determined to become a hydroplane-racing hero in the eyes of his son (Lloyd). Howard Hughes he may not have been, but at least sky-dreamer McCormick felt no need to scrub his hands more than three times a day. Now Playing