Moviecrazed
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OCTOBER 2005

THE SQUID AND THE WHALE: Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Anna Paquin, Billy Baldwin, Halley Feifer (Written and directed by Noah Baumbach) Dad set out to be the great American novelist, or at least the great Brooklyn novelist. Instead, he’s settled into being a not particularly great schoolteacher. Mom, on the other hand, is suddenly showing distinct signs of literary talent. And that’s not all. Mom is having a love match with their younger son’s tennis coach; Dad is engaging in extracurricular activities with the cute co-ed his older son dreams of bedding. Can this family be saved, and should it be? The fact is that everyone who caught this movie at the 2005 Sundance Festival seems to have fallen in love with it. Now Playing

GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Daniels, Frank Langella, Robert John Burke, Tate Donovan, Ray Wise, David Christian, Thomas McCarthy, Glenn Morshower, Matt Ross, Reed Diamond, Simon Helberg (Directed by George Clooney; written by George Clooney and Grant Heslov; Warner Bros.) In the mid-1950’s, Senator Joseph McCarthy, a prime force behind the scary anti-red hearings and witch hunts, saw more subversives around more corners than did John Ashcroft in recent times. His long lists of Communist spies allegedly working in the government turned out to be lists of lies, but his tyrannical bullying destroyed many lives and careers before he was finally undone. One of the people responsible for his slide into shame was courageous, probing CBS News anchor Edward R. Murrow, played here by David Strathairn. Another was Fred Friendly, Murrow’s producer, who is portrayed by star/director Clooney, his first time to play both sides of the camera since his debut with “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” in 2002. For Guy Flatley's review of "Good Night, and Good Luck," click here; to read about many more new biopics, click here. Now Playing

IN HER SHOES: Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Feuerstein, Brooke Smith, Francine Beers, Richard Burgi, Norman Lloyd, Eric Balfour, Andy Powers, Marcia Jean Kurtz (Directed by Curtis Hanson; Written by Susannah Grant; Fox) Rose (Toni Collette), a straight-arrow Philadelphia attorney, has what she considers a steady beau until she learns he’s been sleeping with Maggie (Cameron Diaz), her wannabe-actress sister. Naturally, Rose and Maggie sever relations. And since there’s no meddlesome mom on the scene, it looks as if they’ll never patch things up. But then a granny they never knew they had (Shirley MacLaine) surfaces, and the situation becomes strangely unpredictable (though we’d be willing to bet that in the end Rose and Maggie are close as two sibs in a pod). For Guy Flatley's 1977 interview with Shirley MacLaine, click here. Now Playing

DOMINO: Keira Knightley, Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke, Lucy Liu, Jacqueline Bisset, Mena Suvari, Delroy Lindo, Dabney Coleman, Edgar Ramirez, (Directed by Tony Scott; Written by Richard Kelly; New Line) Domino Harvey was the daughter of the cool (some say cold) Laurence Harvey, the late actor best known for his performances as the unscrupulous social climber in “Room at the Top” and the brainwashed assassin in “The Manchurian Candidate.” Domino grew up to be a stunning Ford model; then she grew up some more and became a crackerjack bounty hunter; recently she was arrested on drug charges and faced the possibility of a long stretch in prison--a development that necessitated more shooting on this film. It is not yet known if still more scenes will be shot--scenes showing Domino's death, possibly by suicide, on Wednesday, June 27 in her West Hollywood home. This is the story of Domino, as played by Keira Knightley (shown above), though it seems to be not the whole story. According to reports, Domino, who sometimes preferred women to men, was furious over the movie’s hot heterosexual love scenes. For an insightful account of Domino's tragic life and death, click here; to read about many more new biopics, click here; for Guy Flatley's 1980 interview with Christopher Walken, click here. Now Playing

ELIZABETHTOWN: Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Judy Greer, Jessica Biel, Bruce McGill, Jed Rees, Emily Rutherfurd (Written and directed by Cameron Crowe; Paramount) An aspiring industrial designer whose first project turns out to be a major dud decides to commit suicide, but his plan must be postponed due to the sudden demise of his father. Does that sound amusing to you? If so, you’re in sync with Cameron Crowe, the writer-director whose chief claim to fame thus far is the almost superb comedy-drama “Almost Famous.” Orlando Bloom, back from his “Kingdom of Heaven” crusades, replaces Ashton Kutcher, whose rehearsals with leading lady Kirsten Dunst reportedly did not go well. Dunst plays a flight attendant who cheers Bloom up on his way to dad’s funeral, and Susan Sarandon is cast as Dunst’s mom, a role rejected by Jane Fonda. To read Guy Flatley’s 1978 interview with Susan Sarandon, click here. Now Playing

STAY: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Bob Hoskins, Janeane Garofalo, Kate Burton, B. D. Wong, Elizabeth Reaser (Directed by Marc Forster; Written by David Benioff; Fox) This is definitely a hot month for suicide. Following the lead of Orlando Bloom in "Elizabethtown," a troubled Ivy League student played by Ryan Gosling (so unforgettable as the Jewish anti-Semite in "The Believer") vows to kill himself within three days. But Ewan McGregor, as his brand-new shrink, is determined to see that the kid stays in the picture. Presumably he receives a helping hand from the ubiquitous Naomi Watts, an actress who--like her sister Aussie Nicole Kidman--seems never to sleep. Forster, of course, is the director who established himself as a talent to be taken at least a little bit seriously with "Monster's Ball" and "Finding Neverland." Now Playing

SHOPGIRL: Steve Martin, Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman, Rebecca Pidgeon, Sam Bottoms (Directed by Anand Tucker; Written by Steve Martin; Disney/Touchstone) Steve Martin wrote the novella upon which this film is based, so who could stop him from writing the screenplay? Nobody. Just as nobody could stop him from playing a sophisticated older man who tempts a Beverly Hills shopgirl (Claire Danes) to dump her musician boyfriend (Jason Schwartzman). It's been said that Winona Ryder once had a lock on the role finally nailed by Danes, but we have a hard time imagining Winona as a Beverly Hills shopgirl. Now Playing

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Giovanna Zacarías, Rufus Sewell, Pedro Armendáriz Jr. (Directed by Martin Campbell; Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Ted Elliott; Columbia Pictures) Legends are made of this? We’ll see. Antonio Banderas, who showed such great promise in his Pedro Almodovar phase, stoops to playing, once again, a role that was moth-eaten when Tyrone Power played it in 1940. Zorro and his feisty partner Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) use their brains and their bods to whip those who would swindle the decent citizens of good old San Francisco. This, of course, is a sequel to “The Mask of Zorro,” the 1998 sleeping pill fed us by the same director and two stars. ZZZZZZZZZ! Now Playing

PRIME: Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman, Bryan Greenberg, Jon Abrahams, Zak Orth, Annie Parisse (Written and directed by Ben Younger; Universal) Rafi (Uma Thurman) is so depressed over the crash-up of her nine-year marriage that she seems oblivious to the fact that she is a knockout. That’s where Dr. Metzger (Meryl Streep), her astute therapist, comes in. So once the shrink has succeeded in convincing Rafi she’s one very sexy chick, she has only herself to blame when her patient beds down with David, who is conspicuously younger than she--in addition to being the stunned Dr. Metzger’s dreamboat of a son. How will this sleep-cute comedy end? Perhaps in a primal scream. Now Playing