Film Openings

Week of December 29, 2005

Munich. (R) Reviewed this issue. (Wilonsky) CPP, PF, RON

The Producers. (PG-13) In 1968 it was a movie. In 2001 it became a musical. Now it's a movie again? Yep, and there's actually good reason to return The Producers to the screen. The original film, though intermittently inspired, was slow and often boring, and its homophobic, misogynistic humor no longer plays well, if it ever did. The musical, on the other hand, breathes with life and joy. It takes the same outsized characters and, rather than allowing their manic energy to stall, catapults them into large-scale Broadway production numbers, including showgirls, old ladies dancing with their walkers, and a passel of animatronic pigeons. As failed producer Max Bialystock, Nathan Lane is a wonder, and Will Ferrell spazzes his way through a hilarious Franz Liebkind, the demented Nazi author of the worst play ever written. But there are flaws: As repressed accountant Leo Bloom, Matthew Broderick can't come close to matching Gene Wilder's tightly wound insanity, and the last half-hour, which introduces pointless scenes and songs, is a serious drag. (Melissa Levine) CPP, CGX, DP, OF, RON, SP, STCH

Rumor Has It . . .. (PG-13) Reviewed this issue. (Wilonsky) ARN, CGX, DP, EG, GL, J14, KEN, MR, OF, RON, SP, STCH, STCL

Wolf Creek. (R) Three tourists head into the Australian outback for a crater called Wolf Creek, which appears to generate electromagnetic pulses that cause everybody's watches to stop and their car to die. Nobody's around for miles, until up drives Mick (Picnic at Hanging Rock's John Jarratt), a wisecracking type who might be right at home assisting Steve Irwin in a crocodile wrestling match. He seems very endearing, so our three vacationers take him up on his offer for a tow and repair. Back at his place, they get to drinking and telling tales around the campfire. When they wake up the next day, they're bound and gagged — and events go way downhill from there. It's an hour into the film, our heroes are screwed, and you've been suckered into caring about them. Let the carnage begin. Writer-director Greg McLean makes a significant feature debut here, with unapologetic horror that doesn't compromise. (Thompson) ARN, J14, MR, OF, RON, SP, STCH, STCL

 
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