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NEW RELEASES - May 16 HIGHLIGHTS

FRESH FROM THE THEATERS

Duma (2005).

Critics wrote and pled and wrote and pled, but couldn't get their readers to come out and see Carroll Ballard's story of a boy and his cheetah. It's a hard sell. It sounds way too Disney-of-old. Too many families had simply forgotten what Ballard is capable of.

Duma "could stand tall on the beauty of its images alone," wrote Stephanie Zacharek in Salon, "Even so, it's what Ballard does with this story that makes it sing."

The White Countess (2005).

The last collaboration of the all but legendary creative duo, producer Ishmail Merchant (who died last year) and James Ivory, is an adaptation of a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (who wrote the screenplay as well) and "an appropriate finish to the 40-year partnership: a typical, above-average Merchant-Ivory film," wrote Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. "This is Merchant-Ivory's kind of showmanship, the unflashy adult variety of movie magic that they made their hallmark."

With Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson and - get this - Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave.

The Producers (2005).

This is one of those: when it hit theaters, you said to yourself, "I'll catch it when it comes out on DVD." Well, here it is. Great cinema? No. Loads of fun? You bet.

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick bring their performances in the massively successful Broadway production (an adaptation, of course, of the original movie) to the screen.

FOREIGN

My Mother's Smile (2002).

"'A very odd thriller' is how Italian director Marco Bellocchio describes My Mother's Smile, his uncannily beautiful and deeply humanist exploration of the nightmares that resurface from a Roman atheist's Catholic childhood," wrote Leslie Camhi in the Village Voice last year.

With "the ever excellent" Sergio Castellitto.

Benny's Video (1992).

The second feature from Michael Haneke, named one of the 13 best films of 1993 by Cahiers du Cinema, Benny's Video is "a provocative, confrontational, and indelibly haunting exposition on isolation, rootlessness, displaced turmoil, and human desolation," writes Acquarello at Strictly Film School.

Previously rentable but now for sale as well: Funny Games (1997).

INDIE

Winter Passing (2004).

"So Winter Passing, a promising directing debut from New York playwright Adam Rapp, is getting a low-rent release from a small distributor because - well, why, exactly?" asked a frustrated Andrew O'Hehir in Salon in February. "Because it's conventionally structured, and you mostly know what's going to happen? No, that's not it. It must be because people in Hollywood are idiots who can't tell their asses from a hole in the ground.... This one's worth the effort to find."

O'Hehir's impressed by the cast, too: Zooey Deschanel, Ed Harris and Will Farrell for starters.

ACTION

New Police Story (2004).

Most agree that, while New Police Story doesn't quite measure up to the best of Jackie Chan's work, this Hong Kong production is light years ahead of most of what he's done in the US.

DRAMA

Game 6 (2005).

A baseball movie with a great cast: Michael Keaton, Robert Downey, Jr. and Griffin Dunne - and written by none other than Don DeLillo.

Browse the New Releases Archive for more recent arrivals.

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© 2006 All Media Guide, LLC. Portions of content provided by All Movie Guide®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.