Outtakes

Page 3 of 5

THE HILLS HAVE EYES (R) Alexander Aja, the French filmmaker who some would argue deconstructed the slasher flick with High Tension, takes a stab at remaking the granddaddy of the genre, Wes Craven's 1977 love letter to inbred mutant cannibalistic families. The big questions here are how straight Aja will play things this time, and whether the French-speaking director is up to dealing with a cast of English-speaking actors. Stars Aaron Stanford, Vinessa Shaw, Kathleen Quinlan and Emilie de Ravin. (Not Reviewed)

INSIDE MAN (R) The usual good guy/bad guy bank robbery is turned on its ear in Spike Lee's gritty dramatic thriller. With his knack for making typically-clichéd racial issues interesting and creating comedic moments at unexpected times, Lee's fast-paced movie keeps you guessing 'til the very end. Denzel Washington plays the cop who's brought in to handle a hostage situation that's been meticulously organized by Clive Owen's mysterious character. Jodie Foster is compelling as a power broker protecting the interests of the obscenely-wealthy bank owner (Christopher Plummer in a role just like every other he's ever had). Sure, Willem Dafoe deserves more camera time and there are enough product placements to make you wanna stick that iPod up the producer's arse, but Inside Man has a strong plotline and good acting. And Jodie Foster's legs ... well, they're nice, too. 3 stars Erin Rashbaum

THE LIBERTINE (R) There's less shagging and more bragging about shagging going on in the not-nearly-as-naughty-as-it-wants-to-be The Libertine, but there's still plenty of bad behavior to go around. Johnny Depp stars as the defiantly degenerate title character, a jaded aristocrat prancing about 17th-century London in wig and frilly clothes, drinking, whoring, blaspheming and generally just indulging in excess of every form. There's far too little life in the characters' mannered actions and silver-tongued soliloquies, however, so the film basically winds up feeling like a freak show in fancy dress, much of it photographed in a nervous, Dogme-esque style that's too contrived to hold our interest. Depp is worth watching, as usual, but the story's flaws get the better of him, particularly when his character undergoes an utterly unconvincing transformation and falls in love with an aspiring actress (Samantha Morton). From there it's a short, predictable trip to heartbreak, disillusionment and syphilitic madness. Michael Nyman contributes another lovely, minimalist score that strives to give an air of significance to the film's seedy doings, but can't quite manage. Also stars John Malkovich and Rosamund Pike. 2.5 stars

NANNY MCPHEE (PG) The screenplay here, which Emma Thompson adapted from Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda books, begins in a place just macabre enough and even a wee bit perverse — much like the seven supremely naughty children featured in Nanny McPhee. This unmanageable brood pride themselves on having driven away scores of hearty nannies screaming in terror. Enter the eponymous Nanny McPhee, a snaggle-toothed, warty, anti-Mary Poppins played by Thompson herself as a cross between a drill sergeant, a Zen master and a troll. As expected, the supernaturally-powered uber-nanny butts heads and eventually bonds with the wild beastie-boys-and-girls, magic is unleashed, and tough love conquers all. Also stars Colin Firth, Angela Landsbury, Kelly MacDonald, Imelda Staunton and Derek Jacobi. 3 stars

THE SHAGGY DOG (PG) A lot of people will tell you that Tim Allen has been going to the dogs for some time now, so it's only fitting that he finally gets a chance to prove it in style. Allen stars as a canine-phobic family man who morphs into a big shaggy sheepdog in this remake of Disney's much-admired 1959 comedy-adventure. The movie's copious special effects seem ripe for a CGI updating, and the remake may have another secret weapon in the form of the reliably manic Robert Downey Jr. as the resident evil genius. Also stars Kristen Davis, Zena Grey and Danny Glover. (Not Reviewed)

STAY ALIVE (PG-13) Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle) and a bunch of his pals discover that the videogame they're playing has deadly consequences in the real world. As the characters' cyber-surrogates bite the dust in the videogame, the players themselves begin dropping like flies in exactly the same manner. A concept whose time has come. Also stars Samaire Armstrong, Adam Goldberg, Jon Foster and Sophia Bush. (Not Reviewed)

THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA (R) An old-school western for new-school sensibilities, Tommy Lee Jones' directorial debut cleaves fairly close to classic western models, but not without a few idiosyncratic detours along the way. Jones himself takes the lead as a grizzled Texas ranch hand whose personal code of honor demands he abduct his dead friend's presumed killer and force him along on a trek to Mexico to give his pal a proper burial. That journey is at the heart of the film, but the movie sets it all up from multiple, Roshomon-esque perspectives, employing a fractured chronology in keeping with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga's previous time scrambling in Amores Perros and 21 Grams. All of the film's individual stories eventually intersect, with the teasing tail-chasing of the first half crystallizing as the strange odyssey of two men and a corpse trekking across the Tex-Mex landscape. The movie segues neatly from neo-western to Greek tragedy to macabre, absurdist farce, as notions of revenge, redemption and other frequent staples of the western genre are gently shredded and manipulated with considerable black humor. Also stars Barry Pepper, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Dwight Yoakam Melissa Leo and January Jones. Showing at Sunrise Cinemas in Tampa. Call to confirm. 4,5 stars

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.