Moviecrazed
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SEPTEMBER 2004

VANITY FAIR: Reese Witherspoon, James Purefoy, Romola Garai, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Gabriel Byrne, Jim Broadbent, Bob Hoskins, Rhys Ifans, Eileen Atkins, Geraldine McEwan (Directed by Mira Nair; Universal/Focus) Legally blonde Reese Witherspoon seemed less than legally Wilde in "The Importance of Being Earnest," but that didn't stop her from taking on the challenge of Thackeray in the saga of Becky Sharp, a 19th-century lower-class lass driven by the desire to become an aristocrat. Miriam Hopkins got an Oscar nomination for playing the same shrewd, enticing character in "Becky Sharp," Rouben Mamoulian's 1935 spin on the novel, and it's safe to assume that this would not come as news to Ms. Witherspoon. And she's in expert artistic hands here: director Mira Nair gave us the enchanting "Monsoon Wedding," and screenwriter Julian Fellowes penned the deliciously entertaining "Gosford Park." To read the Metacritic Roundup, click here. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

THE COOKOUT: Storm P, Eve, Frankie Faison, Danny Glover, Queen Latifah, Farrah Fawcett, Jenifer Lewis, Tim Meadows, Vincent Pastore, Meagan Good, Ja Rule, Jonathan Silverman, Godfrey, Maria Soccor (Directed by Lance Rivera; Written by Ramsey Gbelawoe, Arthur Harris, Jeffery Brian Holmes and Laurie Turner; Lions Gate) When a young, talented but not particularly astute African American lands a $30-million contract with the New Jersey Nets, he showers his family with expensive, unwanted gifts, moves into a state-of-the-art house and, most damaging of all, brings his brash, greedy, secret girlfriend out into the open. The basketball hero’s mom is definitely not happy with the situation. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

PAPARAZZI: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Tom Sizemore, Dennis Farina, Robert Cantini, Wendy Braun, Duane Davis (Directed by Paul Abascal; Written by Forrest Smith; Fox) A slimy photographer (Tom Sizemore) manages to annoy a Hollywood actor (Cole Hauser) by taking his picture at a premiere, but he positively enrages the superstar by trying to snap his son at a kiddie soccer game. So naturally the action-flick icon is forced to take a sock at the photographer. But that’s nothing compared to what he does to the villainous shutterbug after a mysterious car crash sends his wife and son to an emergency ward. Mel Gibson co-produced this lethal little thriller and also makes a cameo appearance as the patient of an anger management therapist. For trailer, click here. Now Playing

WICKER PARK: Josh Hartnett, Matthew Lillard, Rose Byrne, Diane Kruger, Jessica Pare, Christopher Cousins (Directed by Paul McGuigan; Written by Brandon Boyce; MGM) A successful, soon-to-be-wed investment banker spots an awesomely attractive young woman in a Manhattan restaurant, and suddenly his marriage plans are put on hold. Even though the new woman in his life reminds him of a long-lost love, she should probably be wearing a DANGER sign on her designer dress. Based on the French thriller "L'Appartement," "Obsessed" was directed by McGuigan, the Brit who brought us the smashing "Gangster No. I.," and written by Brandon Boyce, to whom we owe whatever pleasure there was to be derived from the grueling "Apt Pupil." For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

CELLULAR: Kim Basinger, Chris Evans, Jason Statham, Eric Christian Olsen, Noah Emmerich, William H. Macy (Directed by David R. Ellis; Written by Chris Morgan; New Line) Kim Basinger, the beautiful victim of husband Jeff Bridges’ chronic infidelity in the terrific “Door in the Floor,” suffers an even more unpleasant fate in this smash-bang thriller. Put-upon Kim is a science teacher who walks her son to his school bus one day only to return to her picture-perfect luxury home to be greeted by armed intruders who murder her housekeeper in quick, cold blood. And that’s just the beginning of a truly bad day. Jason Statham plays the baddest of the bad guys, and Chris Evans is a brave young surfer who may or may not be able to rescue Kim from the attic of a house where she is soon being held prisoner. To read the Metacritic Roundup, click here. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

CRIMINAL: John C. Reilly, Diego Luna, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Mullan, Jonathan Tucker, Zitto Kazann, Enrico Colantoni (Directed by Gregory Jacobs; Written by Mr. Jacobs and Sam Lowry; Warner Independent Pictures) Nobody seems to trust anybody in this caper about con artists who are supposed to be collaborating on a major heist. And their mistrust is well placed. The exceptionally tricky story-line has been lifted from “Nine Queen,” presumably with Argentine filmmaker Fabián Bielinski's blessing. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Jared Harris, Mike Epps, Sandrine Holt, Zack Ward, Iain Glen (Directed byAlexander Witt; Written by Paul W.S. Anderson; Sony/Screen Gems) Sickening things are happening in Raccoon City. The locals are starving, so they have little choice but to eat each other up. And that’s the least of their problems. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS: Charlize Theron, Stuart Townsend, Penelope Cruz, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Desmarais, Amy Sloan (Written and directed by John Duigan; Sony Pictures Classics) Three little hotties—a Parisian fashion photographer (Theron), a Spanish refugee (Cruz) and an Irish schoolteacher (Townsend)—share an apartment and indulge in a bit of amour in Nazi-occupied Paris. The war that has brought them together eventually splits them apart (fashion fanatic Theron is career driven, while her roomies are bent on achieving peace in their time). But are they reunited for a happy ending? To read the Metacritic Roundup, click here. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

SILVER CITY: Chris Cooper, Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Huston, Kris Kristofferson, Maria Bello, Daryl Hannah, Tim Roth, Thora Birch, Cheech Marin, Billy Zane, Mary Kay Place, Ralph Waite, Miguel Ferrer, Alma Delfina (Written and directed by John Sayles; NewMarket Films) “As Governor, I will turn Colorado into America’s playground,” is the promise hot-air candidate Dicky Pilager (Chris Cooper) makes to anyone dumb enough to vote for him. But when he has the misfortune to stumble upon a questionable corpse on the campaign trail, he feels far from playful. He’s going to need all the help he can get from his hustling manager (Richard Dreyfuss) and an oddball private detective (Danny Huston) to make it to the Governor’s mansion. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Gambon, Trevor Baxter, Bai Ling, Omid Djalili (Written and directed by Kerry Conran; Paramount) The 1939 World’s Fair dazzles New Yorkers while sinister robots prepare to take over not only New York, but the entire planet. Maybe stalwart aviator Joe Sullivan (Jude Law) and perky reporter Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) can figure out a way to save mankind—with the help of a heroic British Air Force commander (Angelina Jolie) who looks mighty fetching in her stylish boots and eye patch. According to advance word, the real stars of comic-bookish epic are the awesome computer-generated visuals.To read the Metacritic Roundup, click here. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

WIMBLEDON: Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany, Sam Neill, Jon Favreau, Bernard Hill, Eleanor Bron, Nikolai Coster Waldau, Austin Nichols, James Mc Avoy (Directed by Richard Loncraine; Universal) Bettany, who held his own with Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind" and "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and gave Malcolm McDowell a run for his money in "Gangster No. I" with his portrait of a flamboyantly lethal thug, takes a turn to the light in this romantic comedy. He plays a British loser who gets a final chance to become a winner before bowing out of the professional tennis racket. The role was originally intended for Hugh Grant, and the role of the American tennis champ now being played by Kirsten Dunst was meant for Cameron Diaz. We're glad things turned out the way they did. To read Guy Flatley's 2002 interview with Paul Bettany, click here.To read the Metacritic Roundup, click here. For the "Wimbledon" trailer, click here. Now Playing

A DIRTY SHAME: Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville, Chris Isaak, Selma Blair, Patricia Hearst, Mary Vivian Pearce (Directed by John Waters; Fine Line) Tracey Ullman, a dutiful wife and mother who runs a convenience store, suffers an inconvenient concussion that turns her into an out-of-control (though not out-of-body) nymphomaniac. Chris Isaak plays her mortified but loyal husband, and the whole shocking affair takes place in director Waters' beloved Baltimore. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

FIRST DAUGHTER: Katie Holmes, Marc Blucas, Michael Keaton, Amerie Rogers, Margaret Colin, Lela Rochon Fuqua (Directed by Forest Whitaker; Written by Jessica Bendinger and Kate Kondell; Fox) Can the frustrated, virginal daughter of a U.S. president lead a normal sex life on a college campus far, far from The White House? Don’t be silly. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

THE FORGOTTEN: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Gary Sinise, Anthony Edwards, Alfre Woodard, Linus Roache, Robert Wisdom, Christopher Kovaleski, Matthew Pleszewicz, Jessica Hecht (Directed by Joseph Ruben; Written by Gerald Di Pego; Columbia Pictures) It’s hard enough for a mom to learn that her son has gone missing from the site of a plane crash, but even harder to be told by a shrink months later that her son was merely a figment of her imagination. She suspects that she is going bonkers until she meets a man whose son has also vanished at the very same time and in the very same place as her son. Go figure. The movie opened number one at the box office on the weekend of 9/24-9/26. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

INFERNAL AFFAIRS: Tony Leung, Andy Lau, Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Chapman To, La Ka Tung, Ng Ting Yip, Wan Chi Keung (Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak; Written by Alan Mak and Felix Chong; Miramax) There’s something foul afoot in Hong Kong. A member of a dangerous gang has infiltrated the police force, and a cop is daring to pass himself off as a mobster. How popular was this movie in Hong Kong? A second and third installment have been completed and are undoubtedly on the way to a theater near you. Not only that, but also in the works is an American spin on “Infernal Affairs.” It's called "The Departed," is directed by Martin Scorsese, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. For the "Infernal Affairs" trailer, click here. Now Playing

THE LAST SHOT: Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Toni Collette, Tony Shaloub, Calista Flockhart, Tim Blake Nelson, Ray Liotta, James Rebhorn, Buck Henry (Written and directed by Jeff Nathanson; Disney) The feds somehow manage to convince a fumbling Hollywood director (Matthew Broderick) that he’s making a nifty new indie, but it’s actually an FBI scheme to trap a Mafia big shot. The film marks the directorial debut of Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the screenplay for “Catch Me If You Can.” At the very least, you must give him credit for rounding up a colorful cast. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES: Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mia Maestro, Mercedes Moran, Susana Lanteri, Ulises Dumont (Directed by Walter Salles; Written by Jose Rivera; Focus Features) Gael Garcia Bernal, sensational in "Y Tu Mama Tambien," stars as Che Guevara, the charismatic Argentinean who was a major figure in the Cuban revolution. But this film (directed by Walter Salles, creator of the haunting "Central Station") focuses on a South American motorcycle journey the youthful Guevara took with his buddy, Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna). To read Guy Flatley's review, click here; for a Critics Roundup, click here. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing

SHAUN OF THE DEAD: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Rafe Spall (Directed by Edgar Wright; Written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg; Univsersal) It takes super-nerd Shaun an awfully long time to notice that Blighty’s been taken over by bloody zombies, and it takes him an even longer time to do something about it. For the trailer, click here. Now Playing