Film Openings

Week of May 12, 2004

Breakin' All the Rules Daniel Taplitz. (PG-13) Opens Friday, May 14, at multiple locations. Reviewed in this issue.

Crimson Gold Jafar Panahi. (unrated) This plaintive Iranian drama from director Jafar Panahi (The Circle) and screenwriter Abbas Kiarostami (who previously collaborated with Panahi on The White Balloon) opens with a static camera aimed at the door of a jewelry store during a heist. We are locked in and left to sort out what's happening as morose, overweight Hussein (Hossain Emadeddin) loses his cool. Flashing back, we follow him and his future brother-in-law (Kamyar Sheisi) and hapless fiancée (Azita Rayeji) through the bustling streets and into inescapable ennui. A portrait of hopelessness frequently bordering on tedium, the project nonetheless boasts a couple of fine sequences, as when Hussein attempts to deliver pizzas to an all-night police stakeout and to the fancy abode of a pointlessly rich young man (Pourang Nakhael). Not a great film, but a good one, featuring an intriguing line from a veteran crook: "If you want to arrest a thief, you'll have to arrest the world." Opens Friday, May 14, at the Tivoli. (Gregory Weinkauf)

Super Size Me Morgan Spurlock. (unrated) What becomes of Morgan Spurlock's body after a month of eating and drinking nothing but McDonald's assembly-line foodstuffs is not surprising. He bloats up, his sex drive peters out, he becomes alternately hyper and lethargic, and his liver begins to resemble that of a lifelong alcoholic, much to the chagrin of the handful of doctors Spurlock employs to chart his progress -- or regression -- during his monthlong binge on Big Macs. This is Bowling for Columbine for dieticians and scientists and tofu-eaters appalled by the binge-and-splurge eating habits of Americans; it's as entertaining as it is appalling. If there's a problem with the movie, it's that it doesn't veer from its predictable course; he didn't expect to lose weight, did he? Opens Friday, May 14, at multiple locations. (Robert Wilonsky)

Troy Wolfgang Petersen. (R) Opens Friday, May 14, at multiple locations. Reviewed in this issue.

Young Adam David Mackenzie. (NC-17) To clarify, nobody here is named Adam. Our protagonist is called Joe (Ewan McGregor, game and gamy), a selfish chain-smoker in post-war Scotland who tangles naked with Ella (the eminently pretentious Tilda Swinton), who runs a freight barge with her earnestly salty husband, Les (Peter Mullan). They fish a dead woman out of the canal and poetic sadness ensues, including flashbacks detailing Joe's detached dalliances with an apparently ideal mate named Cathie (a superb Emily Mortimer) that cut to the heart -- or heartlessness -- of these ravenous carnal pursuits. Adapting in high style the novel by late junkie Beat author Alexander Trocchi, director David Mackenzie (The Last Great Wilderness) delivers sad sexcapades that are nonetheless achingly fulfilling to observe. The leaden skies, cold industrial architecture and inflamed desires of the characters are all of a piece, rendered volatile with consummate grace, plus the NC-17 rating allows McGregor to offer the audience some Jedi schlong. Regarding the title, Mackenzie spells nothing out but leaves us to form our own metaphorical conclusions. Opens Friday, May 14, at the Tivoli. (Gregory Weinkauf)

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