Constantine Francis Lawrence. (R) Opens Friday, February 18, at multiple locations. Reviewed in this issue.
The Sea Inside Alejandro Amenábar. (PG-13) Opens Friday, February 18, at multiple locations. Reviewed in this issue.
Son of the Mask Lawrence Guterman. (PG) Oddly, this what-the-fuh? sequel (of sorts; not really) to the 1994 Jim Carrey hit is actually being released in theaters, when it has all the trappings of a dust-gathering, direct-to-video product: B-lister Jamie Kennedy, as would-be kiddie-show cartoonist Tim (no, not Tex) Avery, instead of Carrey; Alan Cumming (who will apparently do anything for half a buck) as Norse god Loki; Bob Hoskins (another downward-spiraling tramp) as one-eyed god Odin; Steven Wright, a former Oscar-winner for a 1988 short comedic film, who long ago gave up even trying; and lousy CG effects that turn a newborn into a possessed Baby Bob that pisses like a broken fire hydrant. The plot, thin as a supermodel, has Kennedy donning the mask and impregnating his wife (Two Guys and a Girl's Traylor Howard), who gives birth to an icky-cutesy baby possessed of wacky superpowers; the dog, too, gets involved by putting on the mask...oh, God, whatever. One presumes the only thing worse than making this disaster is actually watching it; wouldn't wish either on anyone. Opens Friday, February 18, at multiple locations. (Robert Wilonsky)
Travellers & Magicians Khyentse Norbu. (unrated) Writer-director (and incarnate lama) Khyentse Norbu, who single-handedly put Bhutan on the world-cinema map with his charming debut, The Cup, tops that success with a lovely and enthralling parable about the allure of greener pastures. A young villager, besotted with all things Western, takes off for the city, where an American friend has a line on a U.S. visa. The too-cool-for-words Dondup meets various strangers on his journey through the countryside, including a cheerful monk who spins a cautionary tale of another young man who dreamed of a richer life far from his sleepy Himalayan home. Norbu gracefully segues between allegorical stories and the present day to suggest Dondup's awakening consciousness without resorting to Hallmark-card naiveté or holier-than-thou smugness. Gently guiding a cast of underplaying nonprofessionals, the director achieves an inviting warmth that avoids the pretentious precision of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring and other recent "spiritual" treatises. Travellers is imbued with a playfulness and generosity that clearly establishes Norbu as the natural heir to Indian master Satyajit Ray. Opens Friday, February 18, at the Tivoli. (Michael Fox)
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