Amazing Journeys (PG) IMAX films are about scale, size — from the unfathomably huge (the oceans, the cosmos themselves) to the microscopically small — and this latest IMAX production gives us a little bit to look at from both ends of the spectrum. Amazing Journeys examines the migration habits of various creatures.
American Pie 2 (R) You can see the gags coming from Ypsilianti. The characters are as thin as rice paper, the acting is either terminally bland or hopelessly over the top, and — what's more — AP2 is stingy on the T&A shots. The gang of wacky dudes is back, this time spending summer break at a beach house. Guess what? There are all sorts of sexual hijinks. For real.
Apocalypse Now Redux (R) Spectacular, deeply sensual, provocative and pretentious, the inscrutable heart of darkness in Apocalypse Now is as daunting and formidable as ever — and perhaps, just perhaps, a wee bit more understandable — in the extended, three-hour-and-16 minute edit of Coppola's legendary film, retitled Apocalypse Now Redux. This new, even longer version of the director's seminal Vietnam war opus basically restores four scenes that were cut from the original 1979 release, all of which are interesting, but none indispensable. The bottom line is that the new material would have probably been better relegated to the status of bonus deleted scenes on some future special edition DVD. Also stars Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Sam Bottoms and Dennis Hopper.
Bandits (PG-13) Director Barry Levinson mixes buddy-crime-flick shtick and quirky romantic comedy (a la Ally McBeal) and peppers it with the stylish verite camera moves and music video-style montages he employed in his TV show Homicide. The combination makes for an entertaining two hours of madcap caper fun. Discerning Viewer Warning: Contains scenes with cringe-inducing quirkiness. The hubbub centers on bank robbers Joe and Terry (Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton) and their sidekick/love interest Kate (Cate Blanchett) who gain notoriety as the Sleepover Bandits. The three pull off some clever but amazingly bad heists, replete with funny costumes and weird conversations about pop culture. The interplay of personalities — Willis as the (um, over-the-hill) lady-killer, Thornton as the neurotic and Blanchett as the sensitive oddball — offers up some insightful tidbits into human relationships. See this movie with an ample suspension of disbelief and tolerance of Hollywood sap, and it'll be well worth your time. Hell, go see it for Blanchett. Moviegoers seldom see the likes of such a flawed but adorable heroine. Opens Oct. 12 at local theaters.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (R) Romance blooms on a ridiculously beautiful Greek island during World War II when a ridiculously sensitive Italian soldier (Nicolas Cage) and a ridiculously strong-willed Greek woman (Penelope Cruz) are forced to share the same home. The movie is sometimes fun to look at, but we never for a moment believe we're watching anything other than highly paid movie stars putting on a show.
Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (G) Multimedia performance artists/acrobats/ magicians Cirque du Soleil find their way to the big screen — the really big screen — in this visually spectacular IMAX 3-D experience. The film's astonishing imagery constitutes an authentic document of Cirque du Soleil in motion, as well as a beautifully poetic tribute to the glory of the human body; the supremely graceful synchronized swimming, trapezing and other gymnastics of these superb athletes are far closer to ballet than to any traditional circus act. The movie's big mistake lies in its attempt to tie the performances together by framing the whole thing as some sort of half-baked allegory about the stages of life. At IMAX Channelside.
The Deep End (R) Less a whodunit than a whydunit, The Deep End features Tilda Swinton as Margaret Hall, an ordinary California housewife who, in the imperceptible blink of an eye, passes from perfect, almost invisible normalcy to a state of dread when she finds herself an accomplice to what appears to be a terrible crime. The Deep End is, in any number of ways, a letter-perfect 21st Century update of classic noir, albeit one that's been transposed from the nocturnal city to the sun-dappled countryside.
Divided We Fall (PG-13) While not exactly a Holocaust movie, Divided We Fall tells a story about ordinary Europeans during World War II dealing in a very personal way with Nazi terror and, specifically, the Jewish Question. Boleslav Polivka and Anna Siskova play a Czech couple who put themselves at risk with their country's Nazi overseers by hiding a Jewish friend in a small pantry in their apartment. Although the movie is, believe it or not, quite funny, and would probably be primarily classified as a comedy, it also works nicely as a thought-provoking drama with lots to say about how humans react in situations of extreme physical and moral crisis. Neither preachy nor overly sentimental, Divided We Fall is one of the better films of its kind, and, in its own small way, is really every bit as good as the more coyly crowd-pleasing Life is Beautiful. Also stars Jaroslav Dusek. Opens Oct. 12 at Beach Theatre. Call theater to confirm.