Moviecrazed
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SEPTEMBER 2007

 

3:10 TO YUMA

Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Gretchen Mol, Peter Fonda, Vinessa Shaw, Alan Tudyk, Logan Lerman, Kevin Durand, Johnny Whitworth, Dallas Roberts (Directed by James Mangold; Written by Stuart Beattie, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas; Lionsgate)

In 1957, Delmer Daves turned out a nifty psychological western-thriller that was based on an Elmore Leonard story and contained echoes of 1952’s “High Noon” and 1953’s “Shane.” Now “3:10 to Yuma” is being given a new spin by James Mangold, director of “Walk the Line.” This time the lethal stagecoach robber played by Glenn Ford in the original will be played by Russell Crowe, who, as we all know, is so good at playing so bad. The poor, desperate rancher who helps capture the villain and is then paid to take him to trial on the 3:10 train has been changed to a lawman who’s a bit of a loser in the remake. He’ll be played by Christian Bale, who has his work cut out for him if he hopes to top the performance of the great Van Heflin in the 1957 flick. To read about more new remakes, click here; for the Variety review of "3:10 to Yuma,"click here; for the trailer, click here. Now Playing

FIERCE PEOPLE

Diane Lane, Anton Yelchin, Donald Sutherland, Chris Evans, Kristen Stewart, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Shyer(Directed by Griffin Dunne; Written by Dirk Wittenborn; Lions Gate)

Nobody has it tougher than teenagers these days. Take Finn (Anton Yelchin), a basically decent New York City kid, for example. His father is off in the jungle doing his anthropological thing, and his mother (Diane Lane), a nifty masseuse, is a druggie. When Finn is caught trying to score some coke for mom, the two scurry off to a sumptuous country estate where the strung-out masseuse becomes a full-time, hands-on employee of horny but obscenely wealthy Mr. Osbourne (Donald Sutherland). So far, so good. But then Finn discovers that the fine country-club set is not so fine after all. Perhaps mom will turn into a twelve-stepper and shape everyone up. Now Playing

ROMANCE & CIGARETTES

James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, Barbara Sukowa, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard, Amy Sedaris (Written and directed by John Turturro; MGM/UA)

Nick Murder (James Gandolfini) is a shrewd, cocky, blue-collar kind of guy from Queens who knows his way around all the boroughs of his hometown. He also knows his way around a brazen British redhead named Tula (Kate Winslet), a secret his wife Kitty (Susan Sarandon) discovers when she reads a poem he has written in praise of the lusty lady. That’s when the fireworks--and a whole lot of racy singing and dancing that would have shocked the socks off Sinatra, Garland and Kelly--begin in this strictly 21st-century musical comedy. (In truth, the music is not actually from this century; it's from the second half of the 20th century--which is a good thing, since it includes songs by Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck.) To read Guy Flatley's 1978 interview with Susan Sarandon, click here; for Guy's 1980 interview with Christopher Walken, click here. Now Playing

SHOOT 'EM UP

Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Daniel Pilon, Julian Richings (Written and directed by Michael Davis; New Line)

Mr. Smith (Clive Owen), a mysterious tough guy absurdly adept at using a raw carrot as a lethal weapon--that’s right, a raw carrot--whips into action against a hit man (Paul Giamatti) who is attempting to terminate a full-term pregnant prostitute. Before you can say “Hey, what’s up, Doc?," Mr. Smith delivers a baby and shoots away the umbilical cord with a handy pistol. Mom, however, is a goner. Soon, with the help of another hooker (Monica Bellucci), he has his hands full minding the instant orphan and dodging the deranged assassin whose pride, not to mention his skull, has been seriously wounded by that dead-on carrot. Imagine what Mr. Smith could have done with a banana! Now Playing

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, Martin Luther, Dana Fuchs, Cynthia Loebe, T. V. Carpio, Heather Janneck (Directed by Julie Taymor; Written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais; Sony Pictures)

Singing, dancing, doping, making love, declaring war on war--that’s the way rebellious youths expressed themselves in the sixties. And that’s what director Julie Taymor, who gave us “Frida,” will be delivering in this partly live-action, partly animated musical peppered with classic Beatles songs. Jim Sturgess plays a lad from Liverpool who journeys to the U.S. in search of his long-lost father. He may or may not find his dad, but he definitely does find a lovely American pacifist (Evan Rachel Wood) whom he joins in demonstrating against the Vietnam War. Let it be. To read about other new musicals, click here; for the "Across the Universe" trailer, click here. Now Playing

 

THE BRAVE ONE

Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen, Jane Adams, Nicky Katt (Directed by Neil Jordan; Written by Roderick Taylor, Bruce A. Taylor and Cynthia Mort; Warner Bros.)

Erica Bain (Jodie Foster) had it all, and she knew it. The host of a popular Manhattan radio talk show, she’d finally hooked up with a super guy and was planning her wedding day. That was then and this is the tragic now. Erica is the physically and emotionally wounded survivor of a vicious assault, and her husband-to-be is dead. Before long, she is an armed and dangerous woman, night-stalking city streets in search of vengeance. Can a tough, well-intentioned cop (Terrence Howard) save her from self-destruction? This thriller was directed by the never-boring Neil Jordan, the man responsible for “Mona Lisa,” “The Crying Game” and “Breakfast on Pluto.” To read about more new murderpix, click here; for the "Brave One" trailer, click here. Now Playing

 

EASTERN PROMISES

Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Sinead Cusack, Donald Sumpter, Jerzy Skolimowski, Michael Sarne (Directed by David Cronenberg; Written by Steven Knight; Focus Features)

London is the workplace of some of the world’s meanest members of organized crime, perhaps none meaner than a certain Russian-born thug named Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen). This exceedingly illegal immigrant specializes in the business of sex and shows little mercy on his victims, though there is a chance he will treat Ana--a British midwife who knows more than it is healthy to know about a young woman who died giving birth--with a smidgeon of tenderness. Enraptured fans of 2005’s “A History of Violence” will be pleased to see Viggo Mortensen working once again under the splendid, mischievous direction of David Cronenberg. The movie won the Audience Prize for Best Film, the top award, at the 2007 Toronto Festival. Now Playing

IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH

Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon, Charlize Theron, Jason Patric, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Frances Fisher, Barry Corbin, Jonathan Tucker (Written and directed by Paul Haggis; Warner Independent Pictures)

Readers of Playboy magazine were shocked by “Death and Dishonor,” Mark Boal’s investigative article published in the summer of 2004. Boal interviewed Lanny Davis, a former U.S. Army M.P., about the death of his son, who had been reported AWOL following a tour of duty in Baghdad. Davis, refusing to accept the army’s version of his son’s disappearance, eventually discovered that the young man had in fact been brutally murdered by his army buddies after a night of partying in Georgia. Paul Haggis, the writer-director of “Crash,” purchased rights to the story, added a few fictional touches, and signed up a sterling cast headed by Tommy Lee Jones as the ex-soldier in pursuit of justice. To read about more current and upcoming war-themed films, click here; for the "In the Valley of Elah" trailer, click here. Now Playing

 

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD

Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Robert Duvall, Mary Louise Parker, Sam Rockwell, Barbara Kozicki, Garret Dillahunt (Directed by Andrew Dominik; Written by Ron Hansen; Warner Bros.)

Jesse James, a good old Missouri boy, had little tolerance for the feds and railroad tycoons who relieved farm folk of their homes in the late 19th century. That’s presumably why he formed a gang and got into the profitable but risky business of robbing banks and terrorizing train riders. In the end, Jesse was undone by Robert Ford, a young gang member who went from revering his outlaw boss to deeply resenting him and, finally, shooting Jesse in the back as he was trying to hang a picture on the wall. Or so the story by novelist/screenwriter Ron Hansen--which is the basis for this film--goes. Brad Pitt, who’s at his best when playing on the wrong side of the law, is Jesse and Casey Affleck is Robert Ford. As for Sam Shepard, he plays Jesse’s brother Frank, a role which gave Henry Fonda the opportunity to steal the 1939 “Jesse James” from Tyrone Power. To read about more new biopics, click here. Now Playing

 

INTO THE WILD

Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Hal Holbrook, Jena Malone (Written and directed by Sean Penn; Paramount)

Christopher McCandless, a restless, searching idealist, graduated from college in 1992 but did not even consider competing with his peers for a prestigious, lucrative job. Instead, as readers of Jon Krakauer’s best seller know, McCandless left behind his worldly goods, hitchhiked to Alaska, and strived to become one with nature. Four months later, his corpse was discovered on an abandoned bus in a wilderness campsite. Under the direction of Sean Penn, “Alpha Dog’s” Emile Hirsch plays McCandless; Keener and Vaughn play a motherly stranger and a sensitive truck driver he meets on his journey. To read Guy Flatley's 1998 interview with Vince Vaughn, click here; for the "Into the Wild" trailer, click here. Now Playing

THE KINGDOM

Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven, Andrew Esposito, Brooke Langton, Minka Kelly, Frances Fisher, Richard Jenkins, Brian Mahoney, Amy Hunter, Trevor St. John, Tom Bresnahan, Tj Burnett, Raad Rawi (Directed by Peter Berg; Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan; Universal)

This is a fictional film set in Saudi Arabia, but the depiction of a terrorist massacre of innocent people--including many American civilians--is strikingly similar to the one that occurred in Riyadh in 2003. And, while the intention of director Peter Berg and screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan is not to make light of the swiftly barbaric nature of contemporary warfare, it’s said that they do tell their story of attack and rescue with cinematic vitality and even a touch of black humor. The film focuses on the heroically gung-ho resourcefulness of a hotshot team of FBI agents that includes Jamie Foxx, Jason Bateman, Chris Cooper and an artfully T-shirted Jennifer Garner. To read Michael Cieply’s New York Times report on this potential sleeper, click here; for a round-up of new war movies--from World War II to Iraq--click here; for the "Kingdom" trailer, click here. Now Playing

LUST, CAUTION

Tony Lueng, Tang Wei, Joan Chen, Lee-Hom Wang, Anupam Kher, Johnson Yuen (Directed by Ang Lee; Written by James Chang and Hui-Ling Wang; Focus Features)

Director Ang Lee, who won the top prize at the 2005 festival for his “Brokeback Mountain,” is back, this time with an exotic, erotic World War II tale set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. The intense, luxurious focus is on the steamy affair between a Chinese collaborator and the beautiful woman assigned to entice and assassinate the handsome traitor. Now Playing

 

THE DARJEELING LIMITED

Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston, Amara Karan, Waris Ahluwalia, Irfan Khan, Barbet Schroeder, Camilla Rutherford, Bill Murray, Natalie Portman (Directed by Wes Anderson; Written by Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman; Fox Searchlight)

A trio of emotionally addled, highly competitive American siblings (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman) still grieve--each in his own way--for their charismatic father one year after his death. In an attempt to heal spiritual wounds and repair severed brotherly bonds, they decide to choo-choo across India together. Their oddball stop-offs in remote villages and on parched stretches of desert are fueled by an abundant supply of pain killers and exotic cough syrup. If you’ve seen this auteur's inimitably topsy-turvy “Bottle Rocket,” “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” you surely know what to expect from the latest Andersonian odyssey. To read A. O. Scott's New York Times review of "The Darjeeling Limited," click here. Now Playing