Moviecrazed
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SEPTEMBER 2008

 

BURN AFTER READING: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins, Elizabeth Marvel, David Rasche, JK Simmons, Jeffrey DeMunn (Written and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen; Focus Features) How do you top a fiendishly scary heart-stopper like "No Country for Old Men"? That was the challenge facing Joel and Ethan Coen, who may or may not have found a sensible solution to their problem in this screwball comedy-thriller about a bunch of Washington weirdoes. Acting very, very strange are John Malkovich as a zealous CIA agent who gets the boot for being too efficient and then drives his wife crazy by devoting all of his waking hours to penning an intimate, spooky tell-all book; Tilda Swinton as his enraged spouse who seeks solace in the arms of a married--but not too married--federal marshal played by George Clooney; Frances McDormand as an out-of-shape fitness center employee who schemes against her bosses when they refuse to finance the abundant plastic surgery she feels she deserves; and Brad Pitt as an exceptionally excitable gymnast and bed-hopper champ who comes to the needy lady's aid. Sort of. Now Playing

RIGHTEOUS KILL: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Carla Gugino, John Leguizamo, Donnie Wahlberg, 50 Cent, Brian Dennehy, Dan Futterman
(Directed by Jon Avnet: Written by Russell Gewirtz; Overture Films) As anyone who saw “The Godfather Part II” knows, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino were terrific in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 masterwork. But they weren’t terrific together. That’s because De Niro appeared as the young Vito Corleone only in flashbacks and Pacino’s Michael remained very much in the present. They were terrific together, however, in Michael Mann’s “Heat” (1995), but only in the two brief scenes they shared. Well, that was then, and this is now. So you’ll see them together--and presumably terrific--throughout the entirety of this hardboiled thriller. What’s more, they’re even getting trendy, playing a pair of cops determined to capture a popular staple of the current movie scene--you guesed it, a serial killer!
To read Guy Flatley’s 1973 interview with Robert De Niro, click here; for the interview Guy did with Al Pacino that same year, click here. Now Playing

THE WOMEN: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bette Midler, Candice Bergen, Carrie Fisher, Cloris Leachman, Debi Mazar (Written and directed by Diane English; Picturehouse) Women--when they bond with one another and struggle to make the world a better place in which to live and love and wage peace--are adorable creatures. But at least one of the women in Clare Boothe Luce’s 1936 Broadway hit shrugged her shoulder at sisterhood and coolly sized up every available--and unavailable--male who crossed her path. Her name was Crystal, she was a gold-digging shopgirl, and she was played with predatory precision by Joan Crawford in George Cukor’s 1939 film adaptation. Sixty-nine years later, in an update by writer-director Diane Enlish, the blissfully cruel Crystal is being played by Eva Mendes, a Cuban-American seductress who may finally have landed her breakout role. Meg Ryan, an actress in urgent need of a comeback role, plays the achingly noble Mary Haines, a lady whose wealthy husband is the besotted victim of Crystal’s wiles. If Diane English is true to Clare Boothe Luce, Mary’s hubby--and all of the other men who figure prominently in the lives of these Manhattan “Women”--will be present in spirit only. Click here to read Guy Flatley's 1977 New York Times interview with Candice Bergen; for Guy's 1977 Times interview with Carrie Fisher, click here. Now Playing

CHOKE: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald, Brad William Henke, Clark Gregg, Joel Grey, Bijou Phillips, Willi Burke (Written and directed by Clark Gregg; Fox Searchlight) A boy’s best friend is not always his mother, and that’s very much the case in this adaptation of "Choke," the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, cult author of "Fight Club." Yet, even though sicko lawbreaker Ida Mancini (Anjelica Huston) has always been cruel in her treatment of her son Victor (Sam Rockwell), the loyal lad foots the bill for her stay in a bizarre institution for women suffering from dementia. But how does he come up with the money, considering the fact that he is paid a mere pittance for his labors in a Colonial American theme park? Easy--he dines in elegant restaurants, pretends to be choking to death on his gourmet meal and then fleeces the sap who steps in to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. And, in his spare time, the orgasm-obsessed Victor attends 12-step meetings for sex addicts with Denny (Brad William Henke), his masturbation-crazed best friend. Meanwhile, mom's nurse (Kelly Macdonald) is hatching a scheme whereby an unsuspecting Victor will sire her child. Now Playing

NIGHTS IN RODANTHE: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, James Franco, Scott Glenn, Christopher Meloni, Mae Whitman, Viola Davis (Warner Bros.) In “Unfaithful,” Adrian Lyne’s tense, sexy 2002 thriller, Diane Lane and Richard Gere were suitably shocking as a cheating wife and her murderously vengeful husband. Now, in an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, they’re reteamed as a straying wife and a brooding stranger who meet and mate at a quaint Southern inn. She cheats because her loser of a husband doesn’t seem to want her to stick around; he broods because his estranged son--with whom he hopes to reconnect--considers him a jerk. Will this couple ever make it out of the inn? Stay tuned. Now Playing