Moviecrazed
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AUGUST 2005

BROKEN FLOWERS: Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, Julie Delpy, Mark Webber, Chloe Sevigny, Chrisopher McDonald, Alexis Dziena, Larry Fessenden, Chris Bauer, Pell James, Heather Alicia Simms, Brea Frazier (Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch; Focus Features) Guess what Daddy was doing when his son was born. Forget about it--Daddy doesn't even know what he was doing when his kid was conceived. At least, that’s what seems to be the situation between Bill Murray and a lad he never knew he sired in the quirky Jim Jarmusch romantic comedy that bloomed into a Grand Prix winner at the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival. Sharon Stone, seen with Murray at left, may or may not be the laid-back womanizer’s partner in parenthood. For Guy Flatley's review of "Broken Flowers," click here. Now Playing

2046: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Ziyi Zhang, Gong Li, Faye Wong, Maggie Cheung Man-yuk, Carina Lau Ka-ling, Takuya Kimura, Chang Chen (Written and directed by Wong Kar-wai; Sony Pictures Classics) Hong Kong, whose streets and bars teem with agitation and intrigue, was rarely more turbulent than in the sixties. A perfected time and place for a resourceful investigative reporter. But Chow, the newsman played by smoldering Tony Leung, does the bulk of his up-close and personal delving in Room 2046 of the Hotel Oriental, a den of iniquity he chooses to call home. Who could blame him, when the permanent and transit residents include the smashing Ziyi Zhang and numerous other outrageous beauties? If this movie is half as hot and riveting as New York Times critic Manohla Dargis says it is, you can’t afford to miss it. For the Dargis review, click here. Now Playing

PRETTY PERSUASION: Evan Rachel Wood, Ron Livingston, James Woods, Danny Comden, Adi Schnall, Jane Krakowski, Selma Blair, Jaime King, Robert Joy (Directed by Marco Siega; Written by Skander Halim) What did you learn in school today, dear? If you pose that question to Kimberly (Evan Rachel Wood), a seductive 15-year-old student at a ritzy Beverly Hills high school, she’s apt to say, “I learned that men are pigs.” That’s because her drama teacher seems to think he’s conducting a class in sex education. Or so Kimberly tells the authorities. Is she telling the truth? Just let me say that if you saw last year’s astonishing “Thirteen,” you surely remember what a stubborn, troublemaking slut Evan Rachel Wood can be when she puts her heart and soul and body into it. Now Playing

ASYLUM: Natasha Richardson, Ian McKellen, Marton Csokas, Hugh Bonneville, Jeremiah Lewis, Joss Ackland, Judy Parfitt, Sean Harris, Patrick McGrath, Peter Yates (Directed by David Mackenzie; Written by Patrick Marber; Paramount Classics) An ill-tempered husband (Marton Csokas) viciously disfigures his wife. And that's not all--he also murders the poor thing. That’s why the bloke is carted off to a loony bin deep in the British backwoods. Vile creature though he may be, the guy is nevertheless ablaze with sex appeal, thereby making himself the object of one smoldering woman’s desire. That woman (Natasha Richardson) just happens to be married to the top shrink (Hugh Bonneville) at the asylum. David Mackenzie, who got down and dirty with Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton in “Young Adam,” directed this adaptation of Patrick McGrath’s acclaimed novel. Patrick Marber, who helped director Mike Nichols get down and dirty with Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Jude Law and Natalie Portman in “Closer,” wrote the screenplay. Now Playing

THE BAXTER: Michael Showalter, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Williams, Justin Theroux, Michael Ian Black, Paul Rudd, Peter Dinklage (Written and directed by Michael Showalter; IFC Films) Before romantic comedies lost their innocence to chronic flatulence and a flood of body fluids, the handsome, sophisticated charmer always managed in the end to sweep the naughty but virginal heroine off to a life of bliss, leaving some poor nerd--frequently played by Ralph Bellamy--at the altar with his mother, the minister and no bride in sight. This revisionist screwball comedy is said to offer a far happier, sexier ending for the traditional out-of-the-loop loser. Evidently he not only gets the girl, but he gets the right girl as well. And why shouldn’t he? After all, he’s played by Michael Showalter, who also wrote and directed this tribute to fun fluff. Now Playing

THE CONSTANT GARDENER: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston, Bill Nighy, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard McCabe, Donald Sumpter, Juliet Aubrey, Hubert Koounde, Archie Panjabi, Gerard McSorley, Samuel Otage, Anneke Kim Sarnau (Directed by Fernando Meirelles; Written by Jeffrey Caine; Focus Features) A courageous political activist (Rachel Weisz) who suspects that a pharmaceutical company has been using Kenyan citizens as guinea pigs is brutally murdered, along with a man rumored to be her lover. When her husband, a British diplomat played by Ralph Fiennes, tries to track down the killers, he discovers that not even his closest associates are to be trusted. The story, based on the John le Carre thriller, is set mostly in Kenya and frequently cuts back and forth between the present and the past. For Guy Flatley's review, click here. Now Playing