MAY 2003

BLUE CAR: Agnes Bruckner, David Strathairn, Margaret Colin, Frances Fisher, A.J. Buckley, Regan Arnold, Sarah Beuhler (Directed by Karen Moncrieff; Miramax) A budding poet, disturbed by the break-up of her parents' marriage and the abrupt departure of her father, finds more than the father figure she bargained for in her manipulative high-school English teacher. Writer-director Moncrieff's debut film scored big at Sundance 2002. Now Playing To read Guy Flatley's review, click here.

THE DANCER UPSTAIRS: Javier Bardem, Juan Diego Bott, Laura Morante, Elvira Mingez, Alexandra Lencastre, Oliver Cotton, Abel Folk, Wolframio Sinue, Marie-Anne Verganza, Luis Miguel Cintra (Directed by John Malkovich; Fox Searchlight) In a fictional South American country that bears more than a passing resemblance to Peru, an idealistic police officer pursues an elusive guerilla leader. The directorial debut of actor John Malkovich has won high praise at numerous festivals, and talk of a 2003 Oscar nomination for Bardem has already begun. Now Playing


THE LIZZIE McGUIRE MOVIE: Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg, Clayton Snyder, Ashlie Brillault, Jake Thomas, Brenda Kelly, Carly Schroeder (Directed by Jim Fall; Disney) Lizzie is biggie with the teenies on TV, so Disney has decided to give the kid a shot at the big screen. In case you’re curious about the story-line, it deals with the all-American junior-high student’s summer vacation in Rome. Now Playing

OWNING MAHOWNY: Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Hurt, Minnie Driver, Maury Chaykin, Sonja Smits, Ian Tracey, Roger Dunn, Jason Blicker, Chris Collins, Makyla Smith (Directed by Richard Kwietniowski; Sony Pictures Classics) An assistant bank manager isn’t crazy about his job, but he’s awfully good at it. He is crazy about gambling, however, and also good at it. So good that he figures out a way to rip off both the bank and his favorite casino. But can he make crime pay? Now Playing

X 2:X-MEN UNITED: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Anna Paquin, Alan Cumming, Brian Cox, Bruce Davison, Kelly Hu, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Katie Stuart (Directed by Bryan Singer; Fox) Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is the professor who cries Wolverine in this sci-fi sequel. To be precise, he calls for the help of stalwart mutant Wolverine in the task of terminating an invading army of what seems to be a whole new breed of mutants. Now Playing

DADDY DAY CARE: Eddie Murphy, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King, Leila Arcieri, Lacey Chabert, Susan Martino, Elle Fanning (Directed by Steve Carr; Fox) With each new high-concept comedy, Eddie Murphy seems to be aiming lower and lower. This time around, he’s a casualty of the dotcom downslide who is forced to be a stay-at-home parent. So naturally he and his hilariously unemployed pals, Jeff Carlin and Steve Zahn, establish a zany day-care center in Eddie’s house. Is it a smash hit? Of course it is! We’re talking about the center, not the movie. Now Playing

ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE: Wilson Pickett, Jerry Butler, Mary Wilson, The Chi-Lites, Sam Moore, Carla and Rufus Thomas (Directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus; Miramax) Soul-singing greats of the sixties and seventies come together again in a concert and stick around to reminisce about the way they were and to reveal how they are. Now Playing

THE SHAPE OF THINGS: Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Gretchen Mol, Frederick Weller (Directed by Neil LaBute; Focus Features) A sexually insecure undergrad who works part-time as a guard in a museum encounters a striking young feminist who is about to spray-paint a male nude. From there on in, it’a all love & wargames in this latest drama from the writer-director of the lacerating "In the Company of Men" and "Your Friends & Neighbors." Now Playing To read Guy Flatley's review, click here.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS: Tomas Milian, Manny Perez, Danny Hoch, Jude Ciccolella, Andrea Navedo, Bobby Cannavale, David Zayas, Callie Thorne, Judy Reyes (Directed by Alfredo de Villa; MAC Releasing) Carlos, a promising artist who lives with his father in the Dominican section of New York’s Washington Heights, dreams of selling a publisher on his idea for a series of comic books. That dream must be put on hold, however, when the father, a proprietor of a bodega, is shot by a robber and the son feels obliged to work in the shop. The movie has been greeted with enthusiasm on the festival circuit. Now Playing

THE MATRIX: RELOADED: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Matt McColm, Jada Pinkett Smith, Monica Bellucci, Lambert Wilson, Harold Perrineau Jr., Harry J. Lennix, Clayton Watson, Daniel Bernhardt, Christine Anu (Directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski; Warner Bros.) Neo and Morpheus kick butt to save Zion from obliteration by evildoers. And they don’t even have Security Council approval. What's more, you can expect them to kick more butt on November 7, the due date for "The Matrix Revolutions." Now Playing

L’AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE: Romain Duris, Cecile De France, Audrey Tatou, Judith Godreche, Kelly Reilly, Iddo Goldberg, Olivier Raynal, Xavie De Guillebon, Kevin Bishop (Directed by Cedric Klapisch; Fox Searchlight) A group of eager, attractive and sexy exchange students from various points around the globe study by day and play by night in the Barcelona flat they share. Cecile De France won a Cesar Award (the French Oscar) as the most promising actress of 2002. Now Playing

DOWN WTH LOVE: Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, David Hyde Pierce, Sarah Paulson, Tony Randall, Peter Spruyt (Directed by Peyton Reed; Fox) Set in sixties Manhattan, this homage to the Doris Day-Rock Hudson romantic comedies stars Zellweger as a deadly sincere, virginal pre-feminist writer and McGregor as the shameless, big-scoring journalist who sets out to seduce her. Cool and fastidious David Hyde Pierce will undoubtedly remind us of Tony Randall, who co-starred with Day and Hudson in "Pillow Talk," "Lover Come Back" and "Send Me No Flowers." Randall himself pops up in "Down With Love," but we don’t know who he’ll remind us of. Now Playing


: Jean Rochefort,Johnny Hallyday, Charlie Nelson, Pascal Parmentir, Jean-Francois Stevenin, Isabelle Petit-Jacques, Alain Guellaff (Directed by Patrice Leconte; Paramount Classics) Two hugely dissimilar men—one a retired poetry teacher, the other a seasoned criminal—come to know each other quite well and to discover that they are not so different from one another after all. Rochefort won the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival for his performance in the film. Now Playing

SWEET SIXTEEN: Martin Compston, Annmarie Fulton, William Ruane, Michelle Abercrmby, Michelle Coulter, Gary McCormack, Tommy McKee, Calum McAlees, Robert Rennie, Martin McCardie, Robert Harrison (Directed by Ken Loach; Lions Gate) An impoverished but enterprising Glasgow lad works his imagination overtime preparing for his mother’s release from prison. He’s determined to keep old mum on the straight and narrow, but it’s not going to be easy. Young Compston was named Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards. Now Playing

BRUCE ALMIGHTY: Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman, Lisa Ann Walter, Catherine Bell (Directed by Tom Shadyac; Universal) God (Morgan Freeman) is so fed up with chronic complainer Bruce (Jim Carrey) that He turns over the running of the world to him. And if there isn’t a cosmic improvement within 24 hours, every last one of us will be toast. It’s hard to know when Tom Shadyac, perpetrator of "Liar Liar" and "Patch Adams," is trying to be funny and when he’s trying to be profound. But I think he means for us to laugh along with this one, which evidently was not what he had in mind with last year’s uproarious sci-fi soap opera "Dragonfly," in which grieving doctor Kevin Costner used his patients' out-of-body experiences to keep in touch with his late wife. Now Playing

THE IN-LAWS: Albert Brooks, Michael Douglas, Ryan Reynolds, Lindsay Sloane, Robin Tunney, Candice Bergen, David Suchet, Chang Tseng, A. Russell Andrews, Miranda Black (Directed by Andrew Fleming; Warner Bros.) Brooks is a stumbling foot doctor, Douglas is a smooth CIA agent; on the other hand, neither may be exactly what he claims to be. The thing that brings them together is the impending marriage of Brooks’ daughter to Douglas’ son. If this clone turns out to be half as funny as the 1979 original with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin—which it probably won't--we're in for a good time. Now Playing

RESPIRO: Valeria Golino, Vincenzo Amato, Francesco Casisa, Veonica D’Agostino, Filippo Pucillo, Emma Lffredo, Elio Germano, Avy Marciano (Directed by Emanuele Crialese; Sony Pictures Classics) A beautiful, volatile Sicilian woman is considered by her husband’s family to be seriously unstable. One of her three children lends her hand in dealing with the in-laws when they threaten to cart her off to Milan for psychiatric treatment. Opens 5/23

CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS: (Directed by Andrew Jarecki) Arnold Friedman is a distinguished teacher, and his wife Elaine may be the best darned wife in all of Great Neck, Long Island. Their three boys seem to be the epitome of youthful, all-American stability. So how come the cops break down their front door with a battering ram one Thanksgiving and take Arnold and his 18-year old son Jessie away in hand cuffs? See Andrew Jarecki’s documentary—winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival—and gasp at the details of a truly bizarre criminal case. Now Playing

FINDING NEMO: (Directed by Andrew Stanton; Disney/Animation) Who’s Nemo? He’s a cute little clownfish who is abducted from his home-sweet-coral reef. And now his father, not known for his courage, must set off on a rescue mission. Was Disney able to get any big names to lend their voices to this seafaring vehicle? Yes, if you consider Albert Brooks, Willem Dafoe, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey Rush, Allison Janney and Barry Humphries to be big names. And I'm sure you do. Now Playing

THE ITALIAN JOB: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton,Seth Green, Jason Statham, Donald Sutherland, Christina Cabot, Mos Def, Franky G. (Directed by F. Gary Gray; Paramount) Wahlberg, who failed to become the new Cary Grant in "The Truth About Charlie," a remake of "Charade," will now try to become the new Michael Caine in this remake of the 1969 caper about a gang of robbers who create the biggest traffic jam in Italy’s history. Only this time the cars pile up in L.A. I have an idea: maybe Wahlberg can be the new Mickey Rourke. Now Playing


TOGETHER: Tang Yun, Liu Peiqi, Wang Zhiwen, Chen Kaige, Chen Hong (Directed by Chen Kaige; MGM/UA) A timid but enormously talented violin prodigy from the provinces finds that competing for big-time recognition in the cutthroat world of Beijing is no cinch. Director Chen Kaige plays an imperious instructor and his real-life wife, Chen Hong, plays a beauty who vamps the befuddled student. Now Playing

WRONG TURN: Eliza Dushku, Jeremy Sisto, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Desmond Harrington, Lindy Booth, Kevin Zegers, Julian richings, Garry Robbins, Ted Clark (Directed by Rob Schmidt; Fox) Six teenagers, probably just out for a joy ride, make a bad turn and soon find themselves fleeing a pack of fast-moving, nastily disfigured rednecks in the woods of West Virginia. If you’re driving to the cineplex, do watch where you’re going. Now Playing