Film Clips for 5/10/2006 

Opening Art School Confidential (R) Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, John Malkovich, Jim

Opening Art School Confidential (R) Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent. The latest from writer Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) and director Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World, Bad Santa) is a tepid satire set in an art school. Naïve freshman Jerome (Minghella) tries to make his mark — and get laid — with little success. Along the way, we learn that many people connected with art are primarily in it for the money, especially the art students. Shocking, isn’t it? We also learn that all too often, gimmicky art gets more attention and praise than sincere, well-done traditional fare. Shocking! The movie also includes a subplot about a serial killer. This allows the filmmakers to try to build to an absurdist climax that underlines the cynicism coursing through the production. Art School Confidential is entertaining for a while, then tiring and finally just tedious. 102 minutes. —EJO Goal! The Dream Begins (PG) Kuno Becker, Leonardo Guerra, Alessandro Nivola, Tony Plana. A poor Mexican-American immigrant from Los Angeles uses his soccer talent to follow his dreams of playing professional soccer for Newcastle United in England. But does he have what it takes? My bet is that, by golly, he does! 117 minutes. Just My Luck (PG-13) Lindsay Lohan, Chris Pine, Samaire Armstrong, Carlos Ponce, Bree Turner, Faizon Love. Ashley (Lohan) is a young professional just out of college. She also happens to be the luckiest woman in the world, who has lived a super-charmed life and has always taken her good luck for granted. When she kisses a handsome stranger (Pine) at a costume party, Ashley accidentally swaps her good fortune for his horribly bad luck, and her charmed life turns into a living hell. 103 minutes. Kinky Boots (PG-13) Linda Bassett, Josh Cole, Gwenllian Davies, Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor. From the makers of Calendar Girls. Charlie Price (Edgerton) faces the impending shutdown of the shoe factory his family has owned for generations. Just when he feels that all is lost, he has a chance encounter with Lola (Ejiofor), a flamboyant transvestite cabaret star. Lola’s desire for stylish, kinky boots for herself and her colleagues provides hope for the factory and its employees. Director Julian Jarrold explores what happens when two outcast dreamers finally figure out how to stand up for themselves … in thigh-high leather stilettos. Based on a true story. 106 minutes. At Landmark’s Keystone Art Cinema. Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School (PG-13) Robert Carlyle, Marisa Tomei, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, Donnie Wahlberg. Clichés run amok in a would-be heart-warmer that is even more annoying and cumbersome than its title. When Frank (Carlyle), a widower grieving the loss of his wife, witnesses a car wreck, he ends up at the side of the driver, Steve (Goodman, who gets the longest death scene in the history of film). Long story short, Frank promises Steve that he will serve as proxy for a date Steve made with a girl 40 years earlier at the dance and charm school. The film jumps back and forth between storylines, all of which are trite and often cloying as well. Don’t be drawn in by the impressive cast — most of them are wasted. 103 minutes. At Landmark’s Keystone Art Cinema. —EJO Poseidon (PG-13) Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Emmy Rossum, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss. Remake of Irwin Allen’s cheesy-but-still-gripping-and-even-occasionally-touching 1972 disaster flick, directed by Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, The Perfect Storm). When a rogue wave capsizes a luxury cruise ship in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, a small group of survivors find themselves unlikely allies in a battle for their lives. As the unstable vessel rapidly floods with water, they face unimaginable odds and life-altering decisions in their desperate fight to the surface. 98 minutes. Limited Run I Am a Sex Addict (NR) Rebecca Lord, Emily Morse, Amanda Henderson, Alexandra Guerineaud, Katarina Fabic. Autobiographical filmmaker Caveh Zahedi has made a cult career of his unabashed willingness to be vulnerable on camera. I Am a Sex Addict, a comic reconstruction of his 10-year struggle with sex addiction, is one of his most ambitious confessions yet. Just moments before his third wedding, Zahedi relates with astonishing candor his obsession with prostitutes. He retraces his romantic and sexual history, including his ideological commitment to open relationships, that led to two disastrous marriages and several very pissed off ex-girlfriends. 99 minutes. At Key Cinemas Beech Grove for one week only. Some Like It Hot (NR) Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft. Billy Wilder’s classic 1959 comedy stars Lemmon and Curtis as unemployed musicians who inadvertently witness the St. Valentine Day Massacre. Desperate to escape the wrath of the gangsters, the men hit the road in drag, taking jobs with an all-girl band headed for Miami. Along the way, they both fall in love with the blonde bombshell lead singer with the band. Guess who plays her? 127 minutes. At Key Cinemas Beech Grove for one week only. First Run Akeelah and the Bee (PG) Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Keke Palmer, Jeff Marlow, Sara Niemietz. Precocious 11-year-old Akeelah Anderson (Palmer) and her brother live in a poor Los Angeles neighborhood with their world-weary mother, Tanya (Bassett). Akeelah has a gift for spelling and is urged to set the National Spelling Bee as her goal. Will there be hardships? Will the cute little girl realize her dream? Of course you know everything that is going to happen in this elaborate after-school special, but it really doesn’t matter. As films like Hoosiers have shown, even the most clichéd story can work with the right people behind it. Palmer is good enough to hold her own with Fishburne and Bassett. Contrived, but sweet and inspirational nonetheless. 112 minutes. —EJO An American Haunting (PG-13) Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood, James D’Arcy, Matthew Marsh. This is the kind of ghost story that will make you sleep with the lights on. The film is based on a documented haunting in Tennessee from 1817 to 1821 that centered on the Bell family, known as the Bell Witch Haunting. However, the movie offers its own angle. Not only do we see the Bell family (particularly young Betsy) tormented by unseen forces, but also the screenplay posits a reason for the haunting. Instead of dwelling on imagery to psyche you out, the filmmakers let the story do its job. Spooky stuff. 91 minutes. —Lisa Gauthier The Benchwarmers (PG-13) Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn, Tim Meadows, Molly Sims. Three dorky adults take on several obnoxious Little League baseball teams in a tournament. That’s really all there is to the story. I chuckled a couple of times. Fans of Schneider, Spade and Heder (reverting to his Napoleon Dynamite ways) will best enjoy the film, along with booger and fart joke aficionados everywhere. 80 minutes. —Matthew Socey Deep Sea 3D (G) Narrated by Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet. A corker, one of the best IMAX movies ever. Filmed over the course of a year, the production introduces viewers to an absolutely incredible array of undersea creatures. Remember the first time you saw the cantina scene in the original Star Wars? Welcome to the underwater version, only the life forms here are even weirder than the freaky denizens of that sci-fi gin joint. What you will see here is far more alien than anything George Lucas ever cooked up. And, thanks to some very effective 3D photography, these alien entities appear to be floating about as close to your face as this newspaper is right now. 40 minutes. At the IMAX Theater in the State Museum. —EJO Failure to Launch (PG-13) Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Justin Bartha, Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel. Harmless formulaic romantic comedy. Thirtysomething Tripp (McConaughey) is still living with his parents. In desperation, they hire Paula (Parker) to coax/seduce their son out of the house. Guess what happens. McConaughey and Parker can do this kind of stuff in their sleep, which they more or less do. Bradshaw and Bates make an enjoyable set of parents, though. 97 minutes. —EJO Friends With Money (R) Jennifer Aniston, Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack. This enjoyably low-key film doesn’t have much of a plot. The impressively cast film, written and directed by Nicole Holofcener (Lovely and Amazing), visits a group of female friends in Los Angeles. Three of them are married and well-to-do, while the fourth isn’t. Three of them are unhappy to varying degrees, while the fourth seems relatively content. Holofcener’s screenplay doesn’t build to a climax; it just chugs along for a while, then stops. But it works, thanks to the great cast and the way Holofcener creates a sense of intimacy that allows us to become invested in the characters, even when they aren’t particularly likeable. 88 minutes. —EJO Hard Candy (R) Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Jennifer Holmes, Gilbert John. Whew! First they flirt online. Then they meet at a coffee shop. She’s a sweet-faced 14-year-old. He’s a 30-something fashion photographer. They chat. They flirt. They go back to his place. And then everything turns upside down as the young girl (Page) turns the tables on her would-be abuser (Wilson). The film is a stylish, harrowing thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Really. Guys will be squirming when … oh, I can’t even talk about it. The acting is so good that you don’t think about the implausible parts until the drive home. 103 minutes. At AMC Clearwater Crossing. —EJO Hoot (PG) Logan Lerman, Cody Linley, Dean Collins, Brie Larson, Luke Wilson. Wilson stars as a bumbling small-town cop trying to nab a group of teen-age vandals sabotaging a Florida construction project. But the kids have an environmental agenda for saving an endangered owl species so their series of criminal acts is forgiven in the end. The plot is trite, the acting is embarrassingly cartoonish, the characters are flat as pancakes and the resolution is both predictable and preposterous. In the end, Hoot begs the question: Who thinks these movies are good for kids? Seriously, who? 90 minutes. —Laura McPhee Ice Age: The Meltdown (PG) Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Dennis Leary, Queen Latifah. As far as sub-Pixar computer-generated cartoon features go, this is a perfectly serviceable little sequel. The filmmakers work in a steady stream of gags and some of them are quite funny. At the screening I attended, the kids seemed to enjoy themselves and the adults didn’t fidget much. But there is no story to speak of, just a series of episodes about three prehistoric animal buddies and their new acquaintances. Thankfully, Scrat, the twitching, bug-eyed acorn-pursuing hybrid of a rat and a squirrel from the first film, makes a welcome return here in riotous Looney Tunes-inspired vignettes spaced throughout the movie. 90 minutes. —EJO Inside Man (R) Denzel Washington, Christopher Plummer, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Spike Lee’s new movie about a bank robbery is an utterly forgettable retread full of great actors doing very little with very little. Dafoe is in it and he does nothing! Yet, people seem to love this flash-filled film. Maybe it’s because the story, written by a first-time screenwriter, has the advantage of being more original than a remake of the Pink Panther. —Jim Walker Mission Impossible III (PG-13) Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Keri Russell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bahar Soomekh, Laurence Fishburne, Billy Crudup. The third installment of the action franchise, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias), is packed with jazzy stunts and close-ups of steely-eyed Tom Cruise, who reprises his role as secret agent Ethan Hunt. Actually, that may be an overstatement, as it implies there is a character that must be recreated. Actually, Cruise just does what he usually does. Philip Seymour Hoffman contributes a creepy, but one-note performance as the bad guy. OK for what it is, but there is nothing here you haven’t seen before. 126 minutes. —EJO The Promise (PG-13) Hiroyuki Sanada, Jang Dong-kun, Cecilia Cheung, Nicholas Tse, Liu Ye. Director Chen Kaige’s (Together, Farewell My Concubine) epic martial arts fantasy —a romantic tale of love, loyalty, ambition and destiny — stars Cecilia Cheung as a beautiful princess cursed never to know true love. Many years ago she made a pact with a goddess, forsaking the prospect of true love for the promise of riches and power. But when a slave disguised as a mighty general defends first her honor and then her life with an unflinching valor, the princess feels something stir within her for the very first time, and in the awakening of passion, she realizes with dread what destiny holds for her. 103 minutes. At Landmark’s Keystone Art Cinema. Roving Mars (G) A giant-screen IMAX visualization of an amazing story that is still going on. On the surface of the planet Mars right now — right this very second — there are two manmade robotic vehicles capable of navigating the rocky surface. Powered by solar panels, they explore the red planet, sending information back to eager scientists on Earth. Steve Squyres, lead science investigator at the NASA/Jet Propulsion laboratory, provides commentary for the 40-minute Disney film, recounting the fascinating story of the building, launching, landing and tasks of the space rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The film uses extensive computer animation to present the travels of the separately-launched rovers. Especially fascinating are segments depicting the separation stages following the launches and the complicated — and quite cool — landing procedures. 40 minutes. At the IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum through June 8. —EJO RV (PG) Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels, Cheryl Hines, Kristin Chenoweth. At first glance, a light comedy about a family man trying to break out of the rat race and bond with his wife and kids. The Monro Family hits the road in an RV so Dad (Williams) can preserve his job and his family’s lifestyle. With lots of physical comedy, poop jokes, precarious run-ins with feral animals and high/low culture clashes, RV is a gag reel with a moral about family togetherness. Upon closer inspection, it’s a commentary on the end of convenience. 98 minutes. —AL Scary Movie 4 (PG-13) Anna Faris, Regina Hall, Craig Bierko, Leslie Nielsen, Bill Pullman, Chris Elliott. The best thing about Scary Movie 4 is that it is really short at about an hour and 15 minutes. Its jokes are in poor taste way too often — making light of injured children — and its send-ups aren’t very sharp (sometimes it seems like the filmmakers barely watched the movies they are parodying). Some great talent — like Bill Pullman and Chris Elliott — is wasted here. With only a couple of scenes that work, this movie barely competes with a regular episode of Mad TV or Saturday Night Live. —Jim Walker The Sentinel (PG-13) Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, Kim Basinger, Martin Donovan. Thriller. A secret service agent (Douglas) is having an affair with the first lady. When another agent assigned to the White House is murdered, the agent becomes a suspect in what may be a plot to assassinate the president. 108 minutes. Silent Hill (R) Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates. The eerie and deserted ghost town of Silent Hill draws a young mother (Mitchell) desperate to find a cure for her only child’s illness. Unable to accept the doctor’s diagnosis that her daughter should be permanently institutionalized for psychiatric care, Rose flees with her child, heading for the abandoned town in search of answers — and ignoring the protests of her husband. It’s soon clear this place is unlike anywhere she’s ever been. It’s smothered by fog, inhabited by a variety of strange beings and periodically overcome by a living “darkness” that literally transforms everything it touches. As Rose begins to learn the history of the strange town, she realizes that her daughter is just a pawn in a larger game. 120 minutes. Stick It (PG-13) Jeff Bridges, Missy Peregrym, Vanessa Lengies, Tarah Paige. Haley Graham (Peregrym) is a rebellious 17-year-old who is forced to return to the regimented world of gymnastics after a run-in with the law. A judge sentences Haley to her ultimate nightmare: attending an elite gymnastics academy run by legendary hard-nosed coach Burt Vickerman (Bridges). Haley’s rebellious spirit and quick-witted banter shakes things up at the strict school. She discovers an unexpected ally in the form of her new coach and learns respect is a two-way street. Ah, but what about the big match? 105 minutes. Take the Lead (PG-13) Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta, Alfre Woodard, John Ortiz. Family drama inspired by a true story. The film revolves around internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer Pierre Dulane (Banderas), who volunteers to teach in the New York City public school system. But when his classic methods clash with his students’ hip-hop instincts, he teams up with them to create a new style of dance and becomes their mentor in the process. 117 minutes. Thank You for Smoking (R) Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Cameron Bright, Adam Brody, Sam Elliott, Katie Holmes, David Koechner, Rob Lowe, William H. Macy. Smart, snappy R-rated comedies that aren’t about overgrown frat boys trying to get laid do not come along very often, so please take note of Thank You for Smoking, an exceptional satire for grown-ups. Based on the novel by Christopher Buckley, the story of Nick Naylor (Eckhart), a charismatic lobbyist for the tobacco industry, is focused and very funny. Eckhart is wonderful as a master of the art of persuasion who truly loves his work. “The beauty of an argument is that if you argue correctly, you’re never wrong,” he tells his son, and he almost makes us believe him. 92 minutes. —EJO United 93 (R) David Rasche, Ben Sliney, JJ Johnson, David Alan Basche, Cheyenne Jackson. The third feature about the hijacked plane that crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside on Sept. 11, 2001, following two well-done TV productions. Writer-director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday) brings a bigger budget and a slightly more immediate feel to his theatrical recreation. The most interesting thing about his approach is what he leaves out. The two earlier productions devoted time to the passengers that made phone calls and the people they called, but Greengrass does not offer even a glimpse of the recipients of the calls. Moreover, he mostly avoids even identifying the passengers by name. The focus is on the group rather than the individuals — everybody matters the same. We watch as a group of strangers come to realize that they are aboard a suicide flight and that they have to do something. Regardless of the occasional reality tweak, United 93 succeeds as a gripping recreating of one nightmarish part of what is probably the worst day in American history. 111 minutes. —EJO The Wild (G) Voices of Kiefer Sutherland, James Belushi, Greg Berg, Don Cherry, Greg Cipes. Computer-animated comedy-adventure from Disney (NOT Disney/Pixar, just Disney) that sounds a lot like a cross between Madagascar and Finding Nemo. When a lion cub (Cipes) is mistakenly boxed up and shipped from the New York Zoo to the wild, his father (Sutherland) and assorted animal buddies break out to rescue him. Janeane Garafalo, William Shatner and Eddie Izzard also provide voices. 85 minutes.

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