Film Openings

Week of September 8, 2004

The Blind Swordsman: Zatôichi Takeshi Kitano. (R) Opens Friday, September 10, at the Hi-Pointe. Reviewed in this issue.

Cellular David Ellis. (PG-13) A young man (Chris Evans) receives a call from an unknown woman (Kim Basinger) on his cell phone. The woman and her family have been kidnapped, and she fears they'll be killed soon. Here's the catch, which is sure to get cell-phone companies' panties in a twist: The young man doesn't know where the family is, and his signal is dying (scandalous!). And no, smarty-pants, you won't score big laughs with fellow moviegoers if you let your own cell ring, so don't do it. Opens Friday, September 10, at multiple locations. NR

Criminal Gregory Jacobs. (R) Rookie director Gregory Jacobs' U.S. remake of Nine Queens, a wicked little caper movie from Argentina released in 2002, displays none of the flair and compelling trickery that enlivened the original. Not only that, the leading man is disastrously miscast: With his round, hardware-salesman's face and his uncertainty of speech and gesture, John C. Reilly (the jilted husband in Chicago) doesn't seem like he could take a lollipop off a preschooler. Still, we're asked to believe he's a sharp, well-traveled con man about to pull off a major scam involving an Irish zillionaire (Peter Mullan) and an ultra-rare piece of currency. His student and partner in crime is a fresh-faced barrio kid named Rodrigo (Y Tu Mamá También's Diego Luna), but despite a frantic pace and all the intimations of deceit one movie can hold, this one comes off as a counterfeit. Better to track down Nine Queens at the video store. Opens Friday, September 10, at multiple locations. (Bill Gallo)

Danny Deckchair Jeff Balsmeyer. (PG-13) Opens Friday, September 10, at the Plaza Frontenac. Reviewed in this issue.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse Alexander Witt. (R) In this sequel to the first film (which was, like this one, based on the popular Resident Evil video games), a top military agent, Alice (Milla Jovovich), battles a city full of bloodthirsty zombies. Alice also teams up with another ass-kickin' lady, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), in an attempt to defeat a giant monster called Nemesis. Plot? Meh. Lots of scares and special effects? Most likely. Opens Friday, September 10, at multiple locations. NR

Uncovered: The War on Iraq Robert Greenwald. (unrated) Robert Greenwald's 2003 film, available from MoveOn.org for $10 as a 58-minute DVD, has been expanded to 90 minutes and rushed into theaters just as Fahrenheit 9/11 begins its long goodbye. They're wholly different movies that make the same point: President Bush and his cronies, chief among them Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, lied to the American public about reasons for going to war with Iraq. Greenwald, director of Xanadu and the anti-FOX News doc Outfoxed, uses matter-of-fact evidence to build his case -- news footage, Congressional hearings and talking-head testimony from the likes of former weapons inspectors and former C.I.A. operatives and even former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, whose wife was outed as a spy by someone within the Bush administration. And while the movie's no joy to look at -- Greenwald makes agitprop, not entertainment -- it does its job damn convincingly. Still, it's another film that preaches to the converted; there's no way in hell my mom and dad are going to watch Uncovered, much less change their minds about the war in Iraq and the man who put us there. Opens Friday, September 10, at the Tivoli. (Robert Wilonsky)

 
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