*JLG/JLG (NR) Cinema's grand old man, Jean Luc Godard cooks up another wise, mysterious, melancholy, sensuous and highly literate collage of sounds and images. Some of them are familiar, some startling, some oblique, some profound, and some apparently just there to take the piss out of us. Like so much of Godard's recent output, the film is more of an essay or a notebook than anything else, and the director's whispered voice-over tells us to expect a self-portrait of a man who claims to be "already in mourning for myself." The creative juices streaming through this rich little film put the lie to that. Florida premiere. Plays April 8, 6 p.m., Reeves Theatre at UT, as part of the Tampa International Film Festival. 1/2
*LA COMMUNE, 1871, PARIS (NR) An actor directly addresses the camera (and us) at the outset of Peter Watkins' nearly six-hour tour de force, introducing himself, telling us who he plays and describing exactly what the film's about, both on and below the surface. La Commune is both passionate and unavoidably postmodern as it assembles some 200 actors on a stage-like set, offering personal perspectives from the rebels who rose up and attempted to establish a proletarian government in 19th Century Paris. The past isn't so much evoked as it's used as an all-too-clear commentary on the present, and Watkins' rigorously researched, relentlessly experimental epic turns out to be as much about process as it is about history or politics. A sometimes off-putting experience, but as unique as they come. Plays at 6 p.m. on April 7 at the University of Tampa's Reeves Theatre, as part of the Tampa International Film Festival. 1/2
OLD SCHOOL (R) Returning to his distinguished oeuvre of college comedies, director Todd Phillips (Frat House, Road Trip) takes a promising gimmick of three thirty- something friends (Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn) who decide to start their own fraternity. Phillips unfortunately forms that tasty notion into a bland soy retread inspired by films like Animal House, but without the brains to retool the collegiate comedy genre. Vaughn and Ferrell, however, make an honorable effort to inject some much-needed goofiness into their parcel of the film. 1/2 —FELICIA FEASTER
*ONE MORE MILE (NR) This thoughtful, articulate and passionate examination of the doomed rebuilding process in devastated and divided Bosnia is made even timelier by our impending role as "nation builders" in Iraq. Elizabeth Coffman and Ted Hardin's documentary is energetic enough to allow us to forget (or at least forgive) what is basically a traditional talking head structure, and the film is filled with intriguing contradictions within contradictions. The festival screening will be the film's North American premiere and the filmmakers will be present. Plays at 7 p.m. on April 8 at the University of Tampa's Reeves Theatre, as part of the Tampa International Film Festival. 1/2
OPEN HEARTS (NR) Those wacky Dogme 95 boys and girls are back again. (Instant refresher course: Dogme is that movement of self-declared iconoclasts who follow a Manifesto dictating no artificial lighting, no gratuitous music, no studio sets and nothing that isn't shot handheld on digital video, and only later blown up to 35mm film.) In Susanne Bier's Open Hearts, the Dogme methodology is applied, somewhat awkwardly, to what basically amounts to a simple tearjerker about a young woman who becomes involved with a married man after her fiance is paralyzed in a car accident. Plotwise, the film might as well be a more pedestrian reworking of Lars Von Triers' Breaking the Waves, with an emphasis on the marital infidelity angle, and a smattering of teen angst thrown in. As if to compensate for the soap-operatics of the basic story, the style here is particularly extreme, including a relentlessly nervous editing approach and a camera that flits about urgently as if something were about to happen at any given moment. The performances are uniformly strong, and the reality-enhancing Dogme approach does give the movie an undeniable intensity and authenticity, but the narrative is hopelessly mired in its soapy origins. Stars Sonja Richter, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Mads Mikkelsen and Paprika Steen. Opens April 4 at Channelside. Call theater to confirm.
THE PIANIST (R) Roman Polanski's film is based on the memoirs of Polish-Jewish classical pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, who continued to be devoted to his art even as he watched his world crumble and suffered an endless series of horrors and humiliations designed to rob him and others like him of dignity, humanity and, ultimately, life. The film's cool, reserved and utterly unsentimental style might sound at odds with the extremity of the subject matter, but it's all the more haunting for it. Stars Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Ed Stoppard and Frank Finlay.