Moviecrazed
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MAY 2005

CRASH: Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton, Don Cheadle, Ryan Phillippe, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Jason Isaacs, Keith David, Larenz Tate, Ludacris, Tony Danza, Terrence Howard, Shaun Toub (Written and directed by Paul Haggis; Bull’s Eye Entertainment) Not to be confused with David Cronenberg’s 1996 highway horror that went by the same title, this is the labor of another gifted Canadian, Emmy-winner Paul Haggis. Set in hostility-shrouded Los Angeles, Haggis’ directorial debut examines the impact of a major car crash on various people involved. Two people who were definitely not involved: Jason Isaacs and Keith David. They play detectives investigating the more mysterious aspects of the case. Now Playing

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN: Orlando Bloom, Ghassan Massoud, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, Edward Norton, Brendan Gleeson, David Thewlis, Jon Finch, Michael Sheen, Michael Fitzgerald (Directed by Ridley Scott; Written by William Monahan; Fox) Ridley Scott, who taught us that war is hell in “Gladiator” and “Black Hawk Down”—not to mention “G.I. Jane”—is at it again. This time, he zeroes in on the blood and guts of the 12th Crusade in Jerusalem, a skirmish that resulted in the deaths of countless Christians and Muslims. Presumably oblivious to the possibility that he might be fanning flames on a global scale, Scott directs Orlando Bloom as the onward Christian soldier and Ghassan Massoud as a magnetic Muslim. Eva Green, who showed us all that she has—and then some—in Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers,” plays Orlando’s sweetie. To read Sharon Waxman's New York Times report on this surely-to-be-controversial movie, click here. For the Variety review, click here. Now Playing

KICKING AND SCREAMING: Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Josh Hutcherson, Steven Anthony Lawrence, Kate Walsh, Laura Kightlinger, Rachael Harris, Dan Metcalfe, Jim Turner, Scott Adsit, Mike Ditka, Musetta Vander, Dylan McLaughlin, Elliott Cho (Directed by Jesse Dylan; Written by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick; Universal) Will Ferrell plays a decent, going on dull, dad who coaches his kid’s soccer team. Eventually, he’s faced with a painful challenge--the opposing team in a championship match is being coached by Will’s own aggressively competitive dad (Robert Duvall). Why is Grandpa running around a soccer field? Because he himself has a son on the team! Is that high concept or what? Now Playing

LAYER CAKE: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Sienna Miller, Michael Gambon, Kenneth Cranham, George Harris, Jamie Foreman (Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Written by J. J. Connolly; Sony Pictures Classics) Daniel Craig, memorably caddish to poor Gwyneth Paltrow in “Sylvia,” plays a limey who dealt--and maybe sniffed--all the coke he could handle and now wants to tread the straight and narrow. But his hardhearted boss (Kenneth Cranham) has other plans for his star dealer. There’s considerable buzz on this thriller which marks the directorial debut of Matthew Vaughn, the producer of the funny, bullet-paced, stylishly violent “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch.” For Anne Thompson’s Hollywood Reporter article on Vaughn and his movie, click here. Now Playing

MINDHUNTERS: LL Cool J, Val Kilmer, Patricia Velazquez, Chistian Slater, Kathryn Morris, Jonny Lee Miller, Eion Bailey, Clifton Collins Jr., Will Kemp (Directed by Renny Harlin; Written by Wayne Kramer and Kevin Brodbin; Dimension) Set on one of those rugged survivoresque islands, this bold flick asks you to imagine what it would be like if you were being trained by an FBI team in the art of sniffing out serial killers and you suddenly discovered that one of your fellow trainees was a bloodthirsty loon. Now Playing

MONSTER-IN-LAW: Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan, Monet Mazur, Adam Scott, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Amber Mead, Wanda Sykes (Directed by Robert Luketic; Written by Richard LaGravenese; New Line) Jane Fonda, absent from the screen for the past 15 years, returns as a fiercely ambitious broadcast newswoman in big trouble. What’s the problem? Her show has been cancelled. And that’s not all: her beloved son (Michael Vartan) thinks he’s found the woman of his dreams, an aspiring fashion designer that Jane considers an absolute nightmare. Guess who J. Lo plays. For the Variety review, click here. Now Playing

STAR WARS: EPISODE III--REVENGE OF THE SITH: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Jimmy Smits, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew (Written and directed by George Lucas; Fox) Things have returned to normal in Lucas-land, which is to say they are frantic, noisy, and exploding with state-of-the-art special effects. Prominently running, jumping, rocking, rolling, soaring and sashaying around the tediously endangered empire are Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi and, of course, Luke, Leia and Yoda. In other words, the same old crowd. Except, at times they look younger than they did when this saga dawned. That’s because this back-and-forth movie is more of a prequel than a sequel. Where--and when--will it all end? Maybe, like me, you stopped caring when Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill got the boot. To read The New York Times review, click here; for the Variety review, click here. Now Playing

TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE: Haskell Wexler, Mark Wexler, Jane Fonda, Paul Newman, Michael Douglas, Ron Howard, Julia Roberts, Sidney Poitier, Billy Crystal, Dennis Hopper, George Lucas, Tom Hayden, Peter Bart, Verna Bloom, Milos Forman, Norman Jewison, Martin Sheen, Jonathan Winters (Directed by Mark Wexler; Written by Robert DeMaio and Mark Wexler; THINKFilm) Haskell Wexler, legendary cinematographer and director of 1969’s ground-breaking, scarily contemporary “Medium Cool,” expounds on many subjects in his own fearless fashion and spars verbally with his son, documentarian Mark Wexler. To read Guy Flatley’s New York Times interview with Haskell Wexler, done at the time of “Medium Cool’s” initial release, click here; for details on many more new biopics, click here. Now Playing

THE LONGEST YARD: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds, Nelly, James Cromwell, William Fichtner, Michael Irvin, David Patrick Kelly, Cloris Leachman, Nicholas Turturro, Tracy Morgan, Lobo Sebastian, Ed Lauter, Courteney Cox Arquette (Directed by Peter Segal; Written by Sheldon Turner; Paramount) Robert Aldrich’s violent, high-testosterone 1974 comedy-drama about a former football hero who ends up coaching a team of cons behind bars starred Burt Reynolds and scored big at the box office. This replay stars Adam Sandler in the Reynolds role. But don’t feel sorry for Burt; he’s been cast as Adam’s sidekick, and the word is that he really will make the comeback everyone thought he would make eight years ago in “Boogie Nights.” Could be--stranger things have certainly happened to Burt. To read Guy Flatley’s 1976 interview with the seventies superstar, click here. Now Playing

MADAGASCAR: The voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter (Directed by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath; Written by Mark Burton, Billy Frolick, Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath; DreamWorks) A bunch of badly behaved animals who live in a rooftop Central Park zoo are banished to a scary, inhospitable jungle. Need I say more? Now Playing

THE NINTH DAY: Ulrich Matthes, August Diehl, Hilmar Thate, Bibiana Beglau, Germain Wagner, Jean-Paul Raths, Ivan Jirik (Directed by Volker Schlondorff; Written by Eberhard Gorner and Andreas Pfluger; Kino International) Intense German actor Ulrich Matthes, a standout as sinister Joseph Goebbels in “Downfall,” now plays a saintly figure based on Father Jean Bernard, a Catholic priest who was released from Dachau by the Nazis and commanded to persuade the Bishop of Luxembourg to speak out in favor of Hitler. It was made clear to the priest that failure to follow orders would result not only in his execution but in that of anti-Nazi friends left behind in the concentration camp. Now Playing