NEW RELEASES - APRIL 4 HIGHLIGHTS
|FRESH FROM THE THEATERS|
Brokeback Mountain (2005).
First, take a look at these awards. Pretty impressive, isn't it. And yet, as we all know, Brokeback Mountain didn't receive the one accolade just about anyone would have bet their boots it'd get.
But never mind the Academy. That the film was able to pierce through its reductive reputation as the "gay cowboy movie" and find its widely ranging audiences throughout the country is a testament to its universal emotional power.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005).
To the surprise of many, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe beat the five-fingered socks off of King Kong at the box office when the two faced off this last Christmas season. The adaptation of the first in the beloved series of allegorical books by C.S. Lewis is more than ably directed by Andrew Adamson (Shrek), features lush eye candy from the effects wizards at Weta (Lord of the Rings) and fine performances from Tilda Swinton and, above all, the four young siblings who discover a whole new world just beyond the the line of coats hanging in the wardrobe.
Crash. Director's Cut (2005).
Who says the Oscars don't matter? Would we be seeing a rush release of Paul Haggis's director's cut of Crash if it hadn't just nabbed Best Picture? Take a look at GCers' reviews of the original release and you'll see confirmation that the Academy's decision is one of the most controversial in the recent history of the Awards. If you haven't seen it yet, now's the time to decide which side of the fence you're on.
Bee Season (2005).
"Three films into their joint career, directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel remain stealth auteurs, not immediately recognizable even to film buffs," notes Noel Murray for the A.V. Club. "Yet they showed a distinctive sense of style in their 1993 feature debut Suture and its 2001 follow-up The Deep End, both of which dealt with criminal guilt, family crises, and crippling emotional reserve. In their adaptation of Myla Goldberg's novel Bee Season, McGehee and Siegel find plenty of domestic trouble and tasteful, character-stifling décor, as well as a little crime."
Starring Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche.
The President's Last Bang (2005).
From Im Sang-soo comes "one of the most controversial films out of South Korea in some time," notes Filmbrain, "a political satire that easily ranks among the best of the genre [and] n unabashedly leftist take on a dark period in Korea's history."
The Story of Qiu Ju (1992).
"A delicately wry take on the absurdities of bureaucratic life," wrote Desson Howe of this comedy for the Washington Post back in 1993, long before Zhang Yimou turned from realist social studies to historical epics (Hero, House of Flying Daggers).
Ushpizin is a film about Hasidim, starring Hasidim - who rarely, if ever, see movies themselves. It is also, as David D'Arcy wrote last summer in the introduction to his interview with director Gidi Dar, "an age-old melodrama no less compelling for its faithfulness to a well-worn formula."
The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968).
A most unusual story, set in what was, in 1968, the near future, with the Cold War still raging. As the world teeters on the edge of nuclear holocaust, the first Pope from a communist country starts acting like a genuine Christian and no one, of course, knows what to make of that.
Starring Anthony Quinn, Laurence Olivier, Oskar Werner, John Gielgud, Vittorio De Sica and more intriguing choices.
Chicken Tikka Masala (2004).
A comedy about a Hindu family in Britain that must come to terms with the fact that their only son, though his marriage has been arranged for years, is actually in love with another man.