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OCTOBER 2003

CONCERT FOR GEORGE: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Ravi Shankar, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Tom Hanks, historical footage of George Harrison (Directed by David Leland; ArenaPlex LLC) This musical tribute to George Harrison was shot at London’s Royal Albert Hall on the first anniversary of the death of the Beatles’ "quiet one." Now Playing

THE EVENT:Olympia Dukakis, Don McKellar, Parker Posey, Sarah Polley (Directed by Thom Fitzgerald; ThinkFilm) A gay man (McKellar) dies, presumably at his own hand, in New York’s Chelsea area, and a young district attorney (Posey) is given the responsibility of investigating the circumstances of his death. And that includes dealing with friends and , most important, his mother (Dukakis). Now Playing

NINE DEAD GAY GUYS: Brendan Mackey, Glen Mulhern, Steven Berkoff, Vas Blackwood, Raymond Griffiths, Abadala Kerserwani, Stevn Woodhouse (Directed by Lab Ky Mo; TLA Releasing) Two enterprising lads from Dublin set out to make it big as gigolos to wealthy gay Londoners. One through nine, the clients display a tendency to perish, sometimes quite gorily, in the midst of intercourse. Sounds a bit homophobic; on the other hand, Lab Ky Mo’s debut feature won the Audience Award for Best Film at Dublin’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Now Playing

OUT OF TIME: Denzel Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Dean Cain, Eva Mendes, Alex Carter (Directed by Carl Franklin; MGM/UA) A police chief down Florida way is in deep trouble. Suddenly he’s beginning to look like a suspect in the horrendous double homicide he’s been investigating, and he is also experiencing turblence in his love life (his married mistress is doing him wrong, and his shapely police-force colleague/bedmate is starting to act up). This thriller seems especially promising, since it was directed by Carl Franklin, the man who brought out the dangerous, sexy side of Washington in the super "Devil in a Blue Dress." Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

 

 

SCHOOL OF ROCK: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, Sarah Silverman, Joey Gaydos, Maryam Hassan, Kevin Alexander Clark, Rebecca Brown, Bobert Tsai, Caitlin Hale (Directed by Richard Linklater; Paramount) A down-on-his-luck, not very scrupulous rocker jolts his way into a job as a substitute fifth-grade teacher in a fussily academic private school. Naturally, he turns the students into a pack of potential rock stars. And this is probably the movie that will finally turn brilliant Jack Black into the major star we predicted he would become when we saw him steal "Jesus’ Son" and "High Fidelity" out from under performers billed high above him. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

 

THE STATION AGENT: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, Raven Goodwin, Paul Benjamin, Michelle Williams (Directed by Tom McCarthy; Miramax) A gruff little loner with big dreams about trains inherits an abandoned depot in New Jersey. The dwarf also more or less inherits a motor-mouthed hot dog vendor and a boozy woman who’s been dumped by her husband, and they make a one-of-a-kind trio. This directorial debut by Tom McCarthy was considered right-on-track at Sundance. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)




WONDERLAND: Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Lisa Kudrow, Eric Bogosian, Josh Lucas, Tim Blake Nelson, Dylan McDermott, Christina Applegate (Directed by James Cox; Lions Gate) Not for nothing was John Holmes nicknamed "Long John," but this turbulent drama focuses more on his psyche than his anatomy. An emotional mess, the porn star became entangled in a sleazy web of sex, drugs, booze and murder, and reports are that Val Kilmer’s performance is creepily convincing. Now Playing

BUS 174: (Documentary; Directed by Felipe Lacerda and Jose Padhila; ThinkFilm Inc.) The hijacking of a bus in Rio de Janeiro on June 12, 2000 resulted in hostage-taking, murder and much soul-searching throughout Brazil. The root cause of the tragedy, according to people interviewed in this prize-winning documentary, was the heartless neglect of children left to fend for themselves in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Opens 10/8

MYSTIC RIVER: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Kevin Chapman, Thomas Guiry, Emmy Rossum, Spencer Treat Clark, Andrew Mackin, Adam Nelson, Robert Wahlberg, Jenny O’Hara (Directed by Clint Eastwood; Warner Bros.) Three boys are at play in a poor Irish neighborhood in Boston. A pair of strangers, claiming to be cops, force one of the boys into a car and drive off. The victim eventually escapes and returns home in a dazed state, haunted by memories of brutal rape. Decades later, the three former friends—one a cop (Kevin Bacon), one an occasional crook (Sean Penn, pictured above), and one a psychological mess (Tim Robbins)—are brought together again by a gruesome murder. Eastwood’s film, based on Dennis Lehane’s best- seller, was enthusiastically received at Cannes and will kick off the New York Film Festival on October 3rd. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

DOPOMINE: John Livingston, Bruno Campos, Rueben Grundy, Sabrina Lloyd (Directed by Mark Decena; Sundance Film Series) The romantic lives of three innovative computer programmers is severely complicated by their creation of an artificial intelligence lifeform. Now Playing

THE FLOWER OF EVIL: Nathalie Baye, Benoit Magimel, Suzanne Flon, Bernard Le Coq, Malanie Doutey, Thomas Chabrol (Directed by Claude Chabrol; Palm Pictures ) Sex, politics and lethal family friction are served up by Chabrol with his customary precision and bite. Now Playing

GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS: Jack Plotnick, Clinton Leupp, Jeffery Roberson, Dana Gould, Chad Lindsey, Sam Pancake, Hamilton von Watts (Directed by Richard Day; IFC Films) Three lovely roommates struggle, more or less valiantly, to make the grade in Hollywood. Colorful casting note: all three are played by men in drag, proving that boys will also be girls. Now Playing

GOOD BOY!: Liam Aiken, Molly Shannon, Matthew Broderick, Donald Adeosun Faison, Brittany Murphy, Mikhael Speidel and Carl Reiner. (Directed by John Robert Hoffman;MGM) A dog from another planet visits earth to see if it has gone to the dogs yet. Sounds like a growl! Now Playing

HOUSE OF THE DEAD: Jurgen Prochnow, Ona Grauer, Will Sanderson, Clint Howard, Sonya Salomma ( Directed by Uwe Boll; Artisan Entertainment) Prochnow, so memorably heroic at sea in "Das Boot," is on troubled water again. This time, he’s a captain ferrying a bunch of horny college kids to an island off the Forida coast. What happens when they all arrive on shore and start mixing with zombies and other loathsome locals is not a pretty sight. Now Playing

INTOLERABLE CRUELTY: George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush, Billy Bob Thornton, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Duffy, Michael A. Tesserio (Directed by Joel Coen; Universal) A wealthy Beverly Hills divorce lawyer who loves women—as many as possible, as often as possible—tangles with a beautiful divorcee who loves money—as much as she can get, any way she can get it. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

 

 

 

KILL BILL VOL. 1: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, Vivica A. Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, Lucy Liu, Bo Svenson, Quentin Tarantino (Directed by Quentin Tarantino; Miramax) Uma is a hit woman who has everything--including an impressive corpse-count and a sexy new hubby (David Carradine, back from Kung-Fu limbo). The only problem is that Dave and his gang pull a fast one and assault Uma on her wedding night, putting her into a coma for several years. What's a girl to do? Get revenge, of course. The more urgent question is, can Tarantino possibly resuscitate his career with this romp on the weird side? It better happen, because "Kill Bill: Volume Two" is scheduled to open on 2/20/04 (This project was intended as a three-hour, one-volume epic, but apparently that proved to be too much of a good thing.) Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

PORN THEATRE: Jacques Nolot, Vittoria Scognamiglio, Sebastien Viala, Frederic Longbois, Jean-Louis Coquery, Olivier Torres, Lionel Goldstein, Fouad Zeraoui (Directed by Jacques Nolot; Strand Releasing) Love is where you find it, and among those looking for it in an xxx moviehouse in Paris are a cashier, a projectionist and, yes, a paying stiff. Now Playing

PIECES OF APRIL: Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt, Derek Luke, Alison Pill, Sean Hayes, Alice Drummond, John Gallagher, Jr (Directed by Peter Hedges; MGM/United Artists) A young woman living with her boyfriend on New York’s Lower East Side attempts to mend her relationship with her demanding family by inviting them to a Thanksgiving feast. But then the oven goes kaput. Audiences ate this up at Sundance. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

RETURNER: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Ann Suzuki, Kirin Kiki, Goro Kishitani (Directed by Takashi Yamazaki; Destination Films/Samuel Goldwyn Films) A spunky, sexy citizen escapes from a future-world ravaged by aliens and returns to present-day Japan, where she enlists the aid of a street thug in her effort to save humanity. Now Playing

THE RUNAWAY JURY: John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Jeremy Piven, Melora Walters, Bruce McGill, Nick Searcy, Bruce Davison, Bill Nunn, Nora Dunn, Luis Gusman, Jennifer Beals, Joanna Going, Orlando Jones (Directed by Gary Fleder; Fox) A woman whose husband was killed in an office shootout sues the gun manufacturer, and the foreman of the jury (John Cusack) has his own secret reasons for seeing that the verdict goes his way. The mystery-drama, directed by Gary Fleder ("Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead," "Kiss the Girls"), is based on John Grisham’s novel about a lawsuit against a cigarette manufacturer. Guess "The Insider" got there first. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)


SYLVIA
: Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Michael Gambon, Blythe Danner, Jared Harris, Amira Casar, Eliza Wade, Lucy Davenport (Directed by Christine Jeffs; Universal/Focus) American poet Sylvia Plath married British poet Ted Hughes and, as the world well knows, they did not live happily ever after. When Ted abandoned Sylvia for another woman, she ended her misery by sticking her head in an oven. The tormented writer’s life makes the lives of Iris Murdoch and Virginia Woolf seem sunshiny by comparison, yet chances are strong that this film by New Zealander Christine Jeffs, director of the astonishing "Rain" (2001), will be one of the highlights of 2003. A lovely bonus: Blythe Danner, the extraordinary actress who happens to be the mother of Gwyneth Paltrow, plays Sylvia’s mother. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Eric Balfour, Andrew Bryniarski, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, R. Lee Ermey (Directed by Marcus Nispel; New Line) Leatherface is back and, once again, he’s wielding his weapon of choice. Let the buzz begin. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

VERONICA GUERIN: Cate Blanchett, Brenda Fricker, Ciaran Hinds (Directed by Joel Schumacher; Disney/Buena Vista) What does Cate Blanchett have that Joan Allen doesn’t? Guess you’d have to ask Disney and director Joel Schumacher that question, since they’re the ones bringing us this portrait of Veronica Guerin, a woman who was played to perfection by Joan Allen in John Mackenzie’s "When the Sky Falls." That gritty Irish film about a Dublin journalist who was murdered by the drug lords she’d exposed was received with respect at the Toronto Film Festival in 2000 but somehow failed to acquire an American distributor. Too bad. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

 

IN THE CUT: Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kevin Bacon, Nick Damici, Sharrieff Pugh, Frank Harts, Zach Wegner, Nancy La Scala (Directed by Jane Campion; Columbia) By day, she's an admirably disciplined creative writing teacher; by night, she's a creatively erotic risk-taker who may have piqued the passion of a serial killer. That's our spunky Meg in this slice of Manhattan sleaze co-written by director Campion and Susanna Moore, the novelist responsible for the first "Cut." Ruffalo plays a rugged detective, part of whose investigation is spent in Meg's bedroom. And what's Jennifer Jason Leigh up to? You really don't want to know. Now Playing

 

BEYOND BORDERS: Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen, Linus Roache, Teri Polo, Noah Emmerich, Emma Stevens (Directed by Martin Campbell; Paramount) Angelina, a benevolent American socialite living in London, flips for charismatic, heroic medic Clive and stands by her man in various war-ravaged countries around the world. Which is a bloody nuisance for Angelina's British hubby Linus. Now Playing

BROTHER BEAR: The voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas (Directed by Aaron Blaise and Bob Walker; Disney) The son of an Indian chief killed by a bear vows to get the beast that got his dad. But when he is magically transformed into a bear himself, he begins to view things from a very different perspective. Now Playing

ELEPHANT: Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Elias McConnell, Jordan Taylor, Carrie Finkea, Nicole George (Directed by Gus Van Sant; HBO Films/Fine Line Features) Those who feel the French have exhibited anti-American tendencies in recent months may have been surprised when the jurors at the Cannes Film Festival awarded the prestigious Palme d’Or to an American movie. On the other hand, not every U.S. citizen will rush out to see the movie. That’s because "Elephant"--directed by Gus Van Sant ("Drugstore Cowboy," "To Die For," "Good Will Hunting" and the putrid remake of "Psycho")--depicts a high school slaughter that mirrors the tragedy at Columbine. The cast, consisting largely of actual high school students, is topped by Alex Frost as a baby-faced, gay, neo-nazi assassin. In a double triumph, Van Sant was also declared Best Director at Cannes. Now Playing

GYPSY 83: Sara Rue, Kett Turton, Karen Black, Paulo Costanzo, John Doe, Carolyn Baumler, Stephanie McVay, Anson Scoville (Directed by Todd Stephens; Small Planet Pictures) Two youthful outsiders—a chubby girl obsessed with Stevie Nicks and a boy on the verge of coming out of the closet—say goodbye to Sandusky, Ohio, and go for a slice of the Big Apple. Now Playing

RADIO: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Riley Smith, Sarah Drew, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger, Chris Mulkey (Directed by Michael Tollin; Columbia/TriStar) It’s the sixties, and the folks in a South Carolina town don’t like it when a high school football coach (Harris) befriends a mentally challenged black student (Gooding). But you can be sure that eventally at least some of them will come around. Now Playing

SCARY MOVIE 3: Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Denise Richards, Regina Hall, Eddie Griffin, Jeremy Piven, Anthony Anderson, Simon Rex, Timothy Stack, Darrell Hammond, Peter Boyle, William Forsythe, Camryn Manhem, Fat Joe, Brad Sihvon (Directed by Adrian Sanu and David Zucker; Miramax/Dimension) Who would have thought that the first two scary movies would give birth to a third? Don’t be silly—"Scary Movie 4" is already in the oven. For the moment, intrepid heroin Cindy has her hands full coping with bad, bad aliens and others in an adventure that cribs brazenly from "Signs," "Lord of the Rings," "8 Mile" and "Catch Me If You Can." Now Playing


THE SINGING DETECTIVE: Robert Downey Jr., Robin Wright Penn, Mel Gibson, Jeremy Northam, Katie Holmes, Adrien Brody, Jon Polito, Carla Gugino, Saul Rubinek, Alfre Woodard (Directed by Keith Gordon; Paramount Classics) A pulp-fiction writer suffering from hideous, disfiguring psoriasis writhes in his hospital bed, remembers chapters from his real life, and swirls through hard-boiled, surreal nightmares that might well be the source for chapters from his next novel. Or they might be clues to the solution of a mystery involving his devious estranged wife. Downey is said to be astonishing in this noir musical based on Dennis Potter’s esteemed British TV series. Now Playing

DIE MOMMIE DIE:Charles Busch, Natasha Lyonne, Jason Priestley, Frances Conroy, Philip Baker Hall, Stark Sands, Victor Raider-Wexler, Nora Dunn (Directed by Mark Rucker; Aviator Films) Angela Arden, as written and acted by the incomparable Charles Busch, is a fabulous movie star of a certain age who is still big at the box office. Yet she is bored, bored, bored—and more than a bit angry. Angela’s having problems with her bleeding-heart-liberal-movie-producer husband (Philip Baker Hall), her nagging bitch of a daughter (Natasha Lyonne), her tennis-coach boy toy (Jason Priestley), and her lushly beautiful son (Stark Sands), a student who majors in sleeping with his male teachers. In the end, Angela is angry enough to kill. And kill she does. Now Playing

GIRLHOOD: (Directed by Liz Garbus; Wellspring Media) This documentary, directed by the co-director of the powerful "The Farm: Angola, USA," was filmed over a three-year period and tells the story of two troubled juveniles in East Baltimore: one was gang-raped by five boys when she was 10 and subsequently murdered another girl; the other, a 14-year-old girl searching for her prostitute-mother, was arrested for assaulting someone with a box cutter. Now Playing

THE HUMAN STAIN: Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, Jacinda Barrett, Harry J. Lennix, Anna Deavere Smith, Kerry Washington, Mimi Kuzyk, Charles W. Gray, Nwamiko Madden, Ron Canada, Wentworth Miller, Lydia Zadel, Fred Wells,John Finn (Directed by Robert Benton; Miramax) Anthony Hopkins plays an African-American classics professor who passes for white and has an affair with a trashy but hot cleaning lady played by Nicole Kidman. Nicholas Meyer penned this adaptation of the best-selling novel, which Philip Roth patterned on the secret life of the late New York Times literary critic Anatole Broyard, a light-skinned African-American who passed for white for more than 40 years. According to Brent Staples, writing in The Times on 9/7/03, "Movies rarely convey the power of the novels that inspire them. 'The Human Stain' is an exception." Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

 

SHATTERED GLASS: Hayden Christensen, Chloe Sevigny, Melanie Lynskey, Steve Zahn, Greg Kinnear, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Rosario Dawson, Hank Azaria, Mark Blum, Jamie Elman, Cas Anvar, James Berlingieri, Ron Weeks (Directed by Billy Ray; Lions Gate) Would you believe that a talented young staff writer for The New Republic could be so hungry for fame that he would stretch the truth or tell total lies in 27 of his 41 published articles? Well, that’s what Stephen Glass did, and this was before the world had ever heard of Jayson Blair, former fabricator for The New York Times. Presumably, "Shattered Glass"—executive-produced by Tom Cruise and directed by Billy Ray, heretofore known chiefly as the screenwriter of "Hart’s War"-- will show what made Stephen run and what made The New Republic run his copy. If nothing else, the picture’s timing is perfect. Now Playing (For critics' comments, click here.)

SUSPENDED ANIMATION: Alex Mcarthur, Laura Esterman, Sage Allen, Maria Cina, J.E. Freeman, Rebecca Harrell, Fred Meyers, Sean Patrick Murphy (Directed by John Hancock; First Run Features) A Hollywood animator makes the mistake of going snowmobiling in the Michigan wilds. He gets lost, takes refuge with a couple of sisters with very strange appetites. Actually, they’re cannibals. Wonder who’s for dessert. Now Playing