Moviecrazed
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FEBRUARY 2005


BOOGEYMAN: Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Lucy Lawless, Robyn Malcolm, Charles Mesure, Tory Mussett, Michael Saccente, Louise Wallace (Directed by Stephen T. Kaye; Written by Eric Kripke, Darren Lemke, Juliet Snowden and Stiles White; Screen Gems) Many of us recall other-worldly creatures that spooked us when we were vulnerable children shivering in the dark. We now realize, however, that our imaginations had simply been working overtime. But Tim Jensen (Barry Watson) has never been able to shake the belief that the vile creature that invaded his bedroom so many years ago was far from imaginary. So, of course, he finally decides to return home and face up to his haunted past. Will Boogeyman welcome him back with open arms? Now Playing

NOBODY KNOWS: Yuya Yagira, Kitaura Ayu, Kimura Hiei, Shimizu Momoko, Kan Hanae, You (Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda; IFC Films) Four kids--each with a different, conspicuously absent father--live with their restless mother in a modest Tokyo apartment. They’ve never been inside a schoolroom, but they’re smart and manage to have a good time. And then their mom splits, leaving behind a little money and a note requesting that the oldest sibling, who is all of 12, to play daddy (14-year-old Yuuya Yagira was voted Best Actor at the 2004 Cannes Festival for his performance in the role). Now Playing

SWIMMING UPSTREAM: Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Jesse Spencer, Tim Draxl, David Hoflin, Craig Horner, Brittany Byrnes, Deborah Kennedy, Mark Hembrow (Directed by Russell Mulcahy; Written by Anthony Fingleton; MGM) Growing up in Brisbane, Australia during the fifties, Tony Fingleton (Jesse Spencer) longed for the approval of his father (Geoffrey Rush), a bossy alcoholic who obviously preferred the company of his other high-achieving sons. Then Tony discovered he had a skill his brothers did not have--he could swim really, really well. As sports fans and readers of screenwriter Anthony Fingleton’s fact-based novel know, Tony went on to become a true champ. Did he finally grab some attention from his dad? See the movie and find out. To read about many more new biopics, click here. Now Playing

THE WEDDING DATE: Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Adams, Jack Davenport, Sarah Parish, Jeremy Sheffield, Peter Egan, Holland Taylor, Kerry Shale, Stephen Lobo (Directed by Clare Kilner; Written by Dana Fox; Universal) An allegedly sophisticated Manhattan career girl discovers that the best man at her kid sister’s wedding in London is the guy who dumped her two years earlier. How does big sis cope with the humiliation? She cashes in her 401K and hires a devilishly attractive male escort to pose as her beau. There’s a possibility, however, that she may have purchased more than she bargained for. Like true love. Personally, if I had to choose between four funerals and this particular wedding, you’d find me at graveside. Now Playing

BRIDE AND PREJUDICE: Martin Henderson, Aishwarya Rai, Daniel Gillies, Naveen Andrews, Nitin Ganatra, Namrata Shirodkar, Indira Varma, Anupam Kher, Ashanti (Directed by Gurinder Chadha; Written by Paul Mayeda Berges and Gurinder Chadha; Miramax) If Jane Austen had been blessed with a little more imagination she might have placed “Pride and Prejudice” in 21st-century India, the ideal setting for stuffy Darcy to spar with clever Elizabeth. But Austen could hardly have imagined the elaborate song-and-dance numbers dreamed up for Darcy (now an American millionaire, played by Martin Henderson) and Elizabeth (renamed Lalita and acted by Aishwarya Rai). The makeover artist on this occasion is Bollywood’s own Gurinder Chadha, the director who gave us that sporty sleeper called “Bend It Like Beckham.” Can’t wait for Ms. Chadha’s take on “Sense and Sensibility.” Now Playing

HITCH: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Julie ann Emery, Robinne Lee, Amber Valletta, Michael Rapaport, Jeffrey Donovan, Ato Essandoh, Casper Andreas (Directed by Andrew Tennant; Written by Kevin Bisch; Columbia) Will Smith plays a Manhattan matchmaker who calls himself a “tactical adviser” and whose track record for sending clients down the aisle is phenomenal. Then along comes a foxy tabloid reporter (Eva Mendes) who schemes to put an end to his mating game. Do you think he ends up as a hot item in her gossip column? And could they themselves be headed for the altar? Now Playing

 

INSIDE DEEP THROAT: (Written and directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato; Universal) This documentary is not about Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s secret Watergate source. It’s about Linda Lovelace, the orally adept actress whose 1972 performance in “Deep Throat,” the highest grossing independent film of all time, put her on the porn-movie map but did not make her a happy person. Lovelace, who died in a car crash in 2002 at the age of 53, was interviewed for this film and is also seen in archival footage. Writer-directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato were responsible for the 2000 documentary “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” as well as last year’s “Party Monster,” a biopic starring Macaulay Culkin as Michael Alig, the not-so-smooth operator who bragged in public about murdering his drug-dealing roommate. “Inside Deep Throat,” produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, is said to deal more with the social and financial aspects of the porn industry than with the actual making of the movie that made it all happen. To read about many more new biopics, click here; for Variety's review of "Deep Throat," click here. Now Playing

MY MOTHER’S SMILE: Sergio Castellitto, Marizio Donaldoni, Piera Degli Esposti, Toni Bertorelli, Alberto Mondini, Jacqueline Lustig, Gianni Schicchi, Chiara Conti, Gigio Alberti (Written and directed by Marco Bellocchio) Just when the The Vatican thought it could take a vacation from charges of unscrupulous, un-Christian behavior leveled by the likes of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar in “Bad Education,” along comes Italian director Marco Bellocchio with another bombshell. In this dark drama, the home-grown boy gives an account of an Italian family's scheme to secure canonization for a cold-blooded matriarch who was murdered by her loony, blasphemous son. Not making things any easier for the conniving clan is the fact that another son--the film's central figure, played by Sergio Castellitto--is a devout atheist. My God, is nothing sacred? Now Playing

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE: Annasophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson, Dave Matthews, Eva Marie Saint, Courtney Jines, Nick Price, Luke Benward, Elle Fanning (Directed by Wayne Wang; Written by Joan V. Singleton; Fox) Winn-Dixie is a dog. Not the movie (we hope), but the pooch that’s been named after a supermarket in a tiny Florida town. Kind of silly isn’t it? Well, it didn’t seem silly to 10-year-old India Opal Buloni (AnnaSophia Robb). She’s the one who found the doggie at the market, and now it’s strictly a matter of finders, keepers. Put it this way: at least, India Opal finally has something to divert her from brooding over the mystery of her missing mom—a mystery upon which her preacher-father (Jeff Daniels) refuses to shed light. It would be nice for director Wayne Wang if his girl in Florida turns out to be more fun than his “Maid in Manhattan.” Now Playing

CONSTANTINE: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Tilda Swinton, Jesse Ramirez, Michelle Monaghan, Larry Cedar, Suzanne Whang, Johanna Trias (Directed by Francis Lawrence; Written by Kevin Brodbin, Mark Bombeck, Frank Cappello; Warner Bros.) Life, for detective John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), has been hell. He has in fact spent time in that hot spot, but since Constantine possesses supernatural powers, he is able to dwell wherever he chooses. And, for some screwball reason, he now chooses Los Angeles, where he meets nifty Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz), whose equally nifty twin sister has recently committed suicide (or so it is said). You can be sure that Constantine will eventually get to the bottom of this maddening mystery. Naturally, you assume that anything so trickily profound as this scenario must be lifted from a comic book. And you’re right--it’s based on DC/Vertigo’s “Hellblazer.” Now Playing

DOWNFALL: Bruno Ganz, Juliane Kohler, Ulrich Matthes, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Heino Ferch, Thomas Kretschmann (Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel; Written by Bernd Eichinger) The great Bruno Ganz plays that not-so-great dictator Adolf Hitler in a film that has rattled contemporary Germany. Juliane Kohler is Eva Braun, Adolf’s infamous bunker-mate, and Ulrich Matthes is master propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Some who saw the movie at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival found it so disturbingly realistic that they couldn’t stop thinking of it as a documentary. To read about many more new biopics, click here. Now Playing

TURTLES CAN FLY: Soran Ebrahid, Avaz Latif, Hirsh Feyssal, Olivier Gourmet, Morgan Marinne (Written and directed by Bahman Ghobadi) A job of Soran, a teenager living in a Kurdish refugee camp, is to persuade younger children to join in the effort to defuse land mines. But his primary goal is to acquire a satellite so that he and his neighbors will have access to the latest news about the threatened U.S. invasion of Iraq. That’s why he’s come to be known simply as Satellite. When not verbally sparring with another youth whose arms were blown off in a mine explosion, Satellite concentrates on wooing Agrin, a young woman who is physically fit but emotionally ravaged. And then, finally, war descends. The movie, written and directed by Bahman Ghobadi ("Drunken Horses," "Marooned"), won the Golden Shell for Best Film at the 2004 San Sebastian Festival. Now Playing

UP AND DOWN: Petr Forman, Emilia Vasaryova, Natasa Burger, Jan Triska, Ingrid Timkova, Kristya Liska-Bokova, Jiri Machacek, Vaclav Havel (Directed by Jan Hrebejk; Written by Petr Jarchovsky and Jan Hrebejk; Sony Pictures Classics) A young man, living peacefully in Australia, returns to his family home in Prague when his father is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Before long, a take-no-prisoners familial war erupts. Now Playing