March 9-15, 2006
movie shortsNew Movie Shorts
failure to launch
Really it should be(Not reviewed) (AMC Orleans; Bridge; Ritz 16; UA Grant; UA Main St.; UA Riverview)
Sarah Jessica Parker
in Failure to Lunch.
the hills have eyes
It's bad to be stuck in the desert, especially when mutants live in the hills. Mutants who have a grudge against the world, and for good reason. Alexandre (High Tension) Aja's impressive revisitation of Wes Craven's grisly 1977 original makes the same basic points: Back in 1945, the U.S. military left New Mexico miners to be irradiated during atomic testing, and the victims and their progeny remain vexed, fond of assailing and eating folks who happen through their domain. (Bad government and deranged individuals: There's no good end possible.) Enter the Gulfstreaming family headed by retired cop Big Bob (excellent Ted Levine) and recently religious wife Ethel (Kathleen Quinlan). When their kids start complaining about the heat and the boredom, the mutants (including Billy Drago and Robert Joy) descend in veritable droves. The mobile, precise camerawork demonstrates Aja and DP Maxime Alexandre's perverse elegance, effectively counterpointing the utter cruelty of the killing. Though parts are underwritten say, New Mom (Vinessa Shaw) and Dog-Loving Son (Dan Byrd) the performers show proper terror when called on to do so. And, as soon as you see Bob disdaining his liberal-leaning, cell-phone-addicted son-in-law Doug (Aaron Stanford), you know wussy boy will soon find his inner brute. Cindy Fuchs (AMC Orleans; UA Grant; UA Riverview; UA 69th St.)
The love child of Casanova and Esther Kahn, Johnny Depp's John Wilmot, aka the Earl of Rochester, is a blindingly profane poet (excerpted to only middling use here) whose anti-authoritarian tendencies run him afoul of his sometime ally King Charles II (John Malkovich). Samantha Morton, whom casting directors must speed-dial when the script uses the word "homely," plays Elizabeth Barry, a determined actress whose tutelage Rochester takes up to ruinous effect. Everything in Laurence Dunmore's adaptation of Stephen Jeffreys' play looks as grotty as humanly possible, beginning with the candlelit closeup of Rochester, addressing the camera and practically begging us not to like him. It's easy to oblige, not because Rochester's vulgarities are at all offensive, but because they seem tawdry and juvenile. Sam Adams (UA Riverview)
the shaggy dog
Tim becomes a dog.(Not reviewed.) (AMC Orleans; Narberth; UA Grant; UA Main St.; UA Riverview; UA 69th St.)
So he can hump Tool Time's Al.
Then turns back to man.
See Cindy Fuchs' review. (Ritz 5; Ritz 16)