Outtakes

Short reviews of movies playing throughout the Tampa Bay area.

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PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE (G) Audiences may feel exhausted at the prospect of another journey into the Hundred Acre Woods and at the feeling they'd seen all the Heffalumps and Woozles they could handle. But director Francis Glebas does a remarkable job injecting a much-needed dose of reality into A.A. Milne's tales of honey-crazed bears and manic-depressive donkeys. Stepping out from behind Pooh's shadow, Piglet proves himself a uniquely gifted and engaging performer, bringing poignancy to this story of a piglet who feels unappreciated and overlooked by the friends who eventually understand how much they need him. Bring a hankie. —Felicia Feaster

THE QUIET AMERICAN (R) In a stunning one-two punch that began with Rabbit-Proof Fence, director Phillip Noyce follows through with this evocative Graham Greene adaptation, filled with the writer's trademark intrigue and sophisticated, world-weary wit. On the surface, the movie's a romantic triangle set in early 1950s Indochina, with titular quiet American Brendan Fraser moving in on Brit journalist Michael Caine's young Vietnamese mistress (the lovely Do Thi Hai Yen from Vertical Ray of the Sun). The woman's a not-so subtle stand-in for the country of Vietnam, of course (mistress to a variety of Westerners, colonized by the world), and the film plays out as an intimate account of the battle for her soul. The movie's elegantly mysterious atmosphere is due in large part to cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the Caucasian master of Asian imagery. Also stars Rade Serbedzija. 1/2

*SATANTANGO (NR) Simply put, Satantango is one of the greatest films ever made. Hungarian director Bela Tarr's seven hour opus focuses on a motley crew of East European farming collective members, using the characters' plotting and petty bickering as a reflection of the collapse of Communism, and repeating events from multiple perspectives and in what seems to be real time. Beyond that, the film is something of a mystical experience, as bleak as it is beautiful and as stunning a piece of filmmaking as you will ever see. An absolute must-attend event for anyone interested in cinema as great art. Plays at 6 p.m. on April 10 at the University of Tampa's Reeves Theatre, as part of the Tampa International Film Festival.

SHANGHAI GHETTO (NR) Unknown to many, a community of Jewish exiles hid in Shanghai, China, during World War II. Filmmakers Dana Janklowicz-Mann and Amir Mann revisit the Jewish Ghetto with their digital camera, capturing shots of places unchanged since World War II. With them were two former inhabitants who discuss their impressions. The film includes never-before-seen footage of Shanghai and explores how the Jewish exiles interacted with the Chinese and Japanese occupying army. Held over at Burns Court Cinema in Sarasota. Call to confirm. (Not reviewed)

SPIRITED AWAY (PG) This Academy Award-winning film from revered director Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro) unfolds a dream logic as memorable as that of Alice in Wonderland, which seems to be the model here. The film is a wonderfully odd, extended journey, in which a young girl named Chihiro watches her parents transform into pigs and then enters into a surreal world of giant babies, big-headed witches, wolf-dragons, enchanted balls of soot, and incredible spirits of all make and manner. It might be a bit too long or too unusual for some small children, but others are bound to be absolutely enthralled. My 3-and-a-half-year-old liked it almost as much as I did. An instant classic. Featuring the voices of Daveigh Chase (the weird girl in The Ring), Michael Chiklis and Jason Marsden. Playing at AMC Veterans and Muvico BayWalk. Call theaters to confirm.

TALK TO HER (NR) The "new" Almodovar all the way, a natural evolution of the more relaxed and emotionally direct approach that the director's been steadily honing over the past several years. It's a curiously restrained film for Almodovar, almost fragile in its way, but still bursting with life and fully informed by the juicy, overwrought passions and fabulous theatricality. In Talk to Her, Almodovar gives the male perspective for a change as two men express their love for women in comas. Almodovar skillfully zigzags through time, offering up strange little narrative detours and flashbacks within flashbacks but never allowing anything to get in the way of the movie's forward momentum. Stars Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonar Watling and Rosario Flores. Held over at Burns Court Cinema in Sarasota. Call to confirm. 1/2

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