Moviecrazed
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NOVEMBER 2005


THE DYING GAUL: Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scott, Ryan Miller, Robin Bartlett, Jason-Shane Scott, Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Written and directed by Craig Lucas; Holedigger Films Inc.) How can a young gay screenwriter make it to the top in Hollywood? Well, he might try sleeping with his bisexual producer. And if that doesn’t do the trick, maybe he can work something out with the producer’s wife, who has managed to arouse his interest via an internet chat room. Does the versatile scribe--played by Peter Sarsgaard, who bedded both Liam Neeson and wife Laura Linney in “Kinsey”--live happily ever after with this swinging Tinseltown couple (Campbell Scott and Patricia Clarkson)? See first-time director Craig Lucas’s adaptation of his own Off Broadway play and judge for yourself. Now Playing

DERAILED: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, RZA, Addison Timlin, Tom Conti, Xzibit, Giancarlo Esposito, David Morrissey, Rachel Blake (Directed by Mikael Hafstrom; written by Stuart Beattie; Buena Vista/Miramax Films) He’s a decent chap who loves his wife even though their marriage is limp; she’s also married and, like this handsome stranger she meets one morning on a commuter train, she’s a sharp, can-do kind of executive. Quick as a businessman's handshake, they tumble into bed for a little sexual R&R and, before long, their trysting becomes a steamy habit. But then, as if from under the executives' lunch-hour, expense-account hotel-room bed, up pops a peeper who threatens to spill the beans to their respective spouses. Couldn’t you just kill a party pooper like that? Now Playing

ELLIE PARKER: Naomi Watts, Chevy Chase, Scott Coffey, Rebecca Rigg, Mark Pellegrino, Blair Mastbaum, (Written and directed by Scott Coffey; Strand Releasing) What does an enterprising actress have to do to land a part in a Hollywood movie? For the answer to that question, check out Naomi Watts as a desperate, high-strung Australian trying to climb the sexist tinseltown ladder. This feature film is an expansion of a short that created a stir at Sundance in 2001. Returning to the scenario, along with Watts, are Chevy Chase as her agent, Mark Pellegrino as a suitor, Rebecca Rigg as a loyal gal pal, and writer-director Scott Coffey as a guy whose shoulder she frequently leans on. Let’s just hope that Naomi enjoys a happier ending here than she did in similar circumstances in another 2001 flick, David Lynch’s triumphantly nasty “Mulholland Drive.” Now Playing

PRIDE & PREJUDICE: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander, Judi Dench, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Kelly Reilly, Claudie Blakley, Peter Wright, Penelope Wilton, Simon Woods, Rupert Friend, Carey Mulligan, Talulah Riley, Tamzin Merchant (Directed by Joe Wright; Written by Deborah Moggach; Focus Features) Surprisingly, this keenly anticipated film is only the second big-screen version of Jane Austen’s classic novel about a British couple’s efforts to marry off their five daughters. Metro’s delightful 1940 movie boasted Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier at their playful best, so Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen have their work cut out for them in making us accept them as the definitive Elizabeth and Darcy. Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland and Judi Dench don’t have it so easy, either; their challenge is to make us forget the wonderful Mary Boland, Edmund Gwenn and Edna May Oliver. Now Playing

BREAKFAST ON PLUTO: Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson, Gavin Friday, Laurence Kinlan, Ruth Negga, Eamonn Owens, Ruth McCabe, Charlene McKenna, Neil Jackson, Morne Botes, Tony Devlin (Written and directed by Neil Jordan; Sony Pictures Classics) Who’s the sweetest, swingingest, sleep-around babe in all of 1970’s London? No contest--it’s Cillian Murphy, shown above. Yes, the virile young star of “28 Days” and “Red-Eye” plays Patrick “Pussy” Braden, the bastard son of an Irish priest (Liam Neeson) who escapes the poverty and grief of Tyreelin, Ireland, and soon succeeds, more or less, in becoming an exceedingly popular transvestite prostitute, a favorite among British politicians, soldiers and just plain blokes. Based on Pat McCabe’s novel, this centerpiece of the 2005 New York Film Festival was written and directed by Neil Jordan, a man who impressively demonstrated that he knows how to blur sexual boundaries in “The Crying Game.” Now Playing

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, Stanislav Ianevski, Katie Leung, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, Miranda Richardson (Directed by Mike Newell; Written by Steve Kloves; Warner Bros.) The big news here is that Harry is suffering from teenage angst--and, yes, that includes girl trouble. But scene-stealer Ralph Fiennes, as the smashingly villainous Lord Voldemort, is probably the one who’ll impress you most in the fourth installment of this presumably endless series. Now Playing

WALK THE LINE: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, Shelby Lynne, Johnny Holiday (Directed by James Mangold; Fox) If the combination of Joaquin and Reese makes you think of Johnny and June Cash, you're the perfect audience for this biopic of the iconic country & western couple. The director, James Mangold, is the man who teamed Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman as "Kate & Leopold," but let's be big and not hold that against him. To read about many more new biopics, click here; for the Variety review of "Walk the Line," click here. Now Playing

SYRIANA: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet, Chris Cooper, Michelle Monaghan, Jeffrey Wright, Greta Scacchi, Tim Blake Nelson, Gina Gershon, Max Minghella, Christopher McDonald, Dagmara Dominczyk, David Clennon, Viola Davis, John Higgins (Written and directed by Stephen Gaghan; Warner Bros.) Some ghastly Iranians relieve George Clooney of his fingernails--and that’s just for starters--in this thriller based on the adventures of Robert Baer, as related in his memoirs, “See No Evil: The True Story of a Foot Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism.” Politics, oil, greed, mendacity and corruption figure prominently in the plot. For what it’s worth, Clooney was required to gain 20 pounds in order to make a believable Baer. In the old days, they used padding. To read about many more new biopics, click here; for Guy Flatley's 2000 interview with Amanda Peet, click here. Now Playing

THE LIBERTINE: Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton, John Malkovich, Rosamund Pike, Tom Hollander, Kelly Reilly, Jack Davenport, Richard Coyle, Francesca Annis, Rupert Friend, Claire Higgins (Directed by Laurence Dunmore; Written by Stephen Jeffreys; The Weinstein Company) Was there ever a more brazenly decadent individual than John Wilmot (a.k.a. the second Earl of Rochester), the syphilitic, drunken Restoration poet who managed to live until the age of 31--something of a miracle, considering his lewd track record. Based on screenwriter Stephen Jeffreys’ play, the movie does not hold back on the kinky details of Rochester’s downward spiral. Johnny Depp, possibly out-camping his performance in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” runs with the role of the lascivious poet, Samantha Morton plays one of his numerous conquests, and John Malkovich is England’s kooky King Charles II. Now Playing

YOURS, MINE AND OURS: Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo, Rip Torn, George Lopez, Linda Hunt, Dean Collins, Little JJ, Haley Ramm, Jerry O'Connell, Amber Tamblyn (Directed by Raja Gosnell; Written by Ron Burch, Bob Hilgenberg, David Kidd and Rob Muir; Columbia Pictures) What did Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball have that Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo do not? The people at Columbia Pictures hope the answer to that question is “nothing.” Otherwise, they might not have bet on audiences cramming theaters to see a remake of the 1968 comedy featuring the inimitable Fonda and Ball as a newly wed couple who bring a Brady-like bunch of kids to their marriage. The cornball story was moderately funny then, but this is now. Let’s hope Quaid, Russo and their 18 kids aren’t serving an overstuffed Thanksgiving turkey. Now Playing