JULY 2006

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Naomie Harris, Bill Nighy, Geoffrey Rush, Stellan Skarsgard, Tom Hollander, Jonathan Pryce (Directed by Gore Verbinsky; Written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio; Disney) Johnny Depp scored big at the box office and got nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” So who could blame him for setting sail again as that shameless scenery-gobbler, Captain Jack Sparrow? Back too are those cuckoo lovebirds Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. As a matter of fact, they were all so confident that they plunged ahead and also shot “Pirates of the Caribbean 3.” Is their confidence justified? The answer is an unqualified yes, since the movie's opening broke every box-office record in Hollywood history. To see what Johnny Depp is up to next, click here and browse the D page of STAR TURNS. Now Playing

A SCANNER DARKLY: Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder, Rory Cochrane, Heather Kafka, Dameon Clarke (Written and directed by Richard Linklater; Warner Independent Pictures) It’s not too far into the future, and just as so many of us predicted, America has lost its war on drugs, nowhere more appallingly than in Orange County, California. Sound familiar? Maybe that’s because you’ve read "A Scanner Darkly," the potent, scary 1977 story by the late Philip K. Dick, whose futuristic tales have been adapted to the screen on numerous occasions, most notably in "Blade Runner,""Total Recall" and "Minority Report." It should be noted that author Dick was tortured by his own drug demons, and it is also of interest that three of this film’s stars—Downey, Harrelson and Ryder—know firsthand what it’s like to be under the influence and in trouble with the law. For Reeves, the role of a schizo narc who falls prey to the very substance he’s supposed to be eradicating offers a chance to show he can snap out of that Matrix trance. At the very least, he'll have to show two emotions. To see what else Keanu Reeves is up to, click here and browse the R page of STAR TURNS. Now Playing

CHANGING TIMES: Catherine Deneuve, Gerard Depardieu, Gilbert Melki, Lubna Azabal, Malik Zidi, Tanya Lopert, Jabir Elomri, Nabila Baraka, Nadem Rachati (Directed by Andre Techine; Written by Andre Techine, Laurent Guyot, Pascal Bonitzer; Koch Lorber Films) Those who agree that Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu were riveting as incendiary lovers in Francois Truffaut’s 1980 masterpiece, “The Last Metro,” will be happy to hear that the two are reunited in this drama about, of all things, incendiary lovers who make hot contact 30 years after the supposed end of their affair. Gilbert Melki co-stars as Deneuve’s straying husband. To read Guy Flatley's review of "Changing Times," click here; for Diane Baroni's 1991 interview with Gerard Depardieu, click here; for Guy Flatley's 2000 interview with Catherine Deneuve, click here. Now Playing

LADY IN THE WATER: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bob Balaban, Jeffrey Wright, Freddy Rodriguez, Bill Irwin, Jared Harris (Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan; Warner Bros.) Once upon a time in a place called Philadelphia there lived a narf, more or less unclothed and frustratingly stuck in and around a heart-shaped swimming pool. Your first question might be, what’s a narf? But my first question is, why is this mermaid-like creature--who looks a little like Sissy Spacek, a little like Macaulay Culkin, and a lot like TV’s unforgettable Opie--named Story? Make of it what you will. Suffice it to say that if you were transfixed by M. Night Shyamalan’s magical, mystical, doggerel-laden “The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable,” “Signs” and “The Village,” you’ll probably be swept away by his water-weary “Lady.” Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of Ron Howard, plays the narf in distress, and Paul Giamatti is the nerd who comes to her aid. To read Janet Maslin's New York Times review of "The Man Who Heard Voices," a new book about M. Night Shyamalan, click here. Now Playing

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin (Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris; Written by Michael Arndt; Fox Searchlight) Mom (Toni Collette) is something of a ditz, but she does her best to serve the needs of her family and keep them on the more or less straight and narrow. But it may be a losing battle. Hubby Richard (Greg Kinnear) is a self-proclaimed motivational speaker whose motivation is running on empty; Richard’s pop (Alan Arkin) is a pleasure-seeking old coot who’s happy to be hooked on porn and coke; Mom’s brother (Steve Carell), the newest addition to their humble, conspicuously cramped Albuquerque abode, is a Proust scholar who recently made the scandalous mistake of trying to have a hot remembrance of things past with a male graduate student; sonny-boy Dwayne (Paul Dano), is an anti-social teenager on the verge of withdrawing totally into himself; and 7-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin) wants only one thing out of life--to win the Little Miss Sunshine contest. So, naturally, the entire clan hops into a wobbly old minivan bus and heads for the big California competition. Audiences loved this sociocomedy at the 2006 Sundance Festival. Now Playing

MIAMI VICE: Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, Li Gong, Naomie Harris, Justin Theroux, Ciaran Hinds, Luis Tosar, John Ortiz, Ilan Krigsfeld (Written and directed by Michael Mann; Universal) They’re baaaaack! Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, that is--the cool, cool undercover cops created by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas in the popular eighties TV series, “Miami Vice.” On the big screen, however, the sleuthing Floridians are being portrayed by Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, and they are every bit as determined as Johnson and Thomas were to put a slew of murderous, drug-dealing bad boys and girls behind bars. Naomie Harris plays Foxx’s undercover--and undersheet--sweetheart, and Li Gong is cast as Farrell’s main squeeze, a seductive Chinese-Cuban who happens to be married to a sinister sniffer and shaker of the drug world. To see what else Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell are up to, click here and browse the F page of STAR TURNS. Now Playing

SCOOP: Scarlett Johansson, Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane, Woody Allen (Written and directed by Woody Allen) Scarlett Johansson bounces from her juicy role of a U.S. woman wronged by a British cad in Woody Allen’s “Match Point” to that of a hot American journalism student who investigates a series of London murders. Allen, who plays a mysterious man pretending to be Johansson's father, described his character to Variety’s Michael Fleming as “a low-grade American entertainer, which is perfect for me because that’s what I am.” We beg to differ. On the other hand, we could be wrong about that--click here and read the Variety review of "Scoop." To read Guy Flatley's 1978 inteview with Woody Allen, click here; for more Scarlett Johansson and Hugh Jackman movies, click here and browse the J page of STAR TURNS. Now Playing