Film Openings

Week of August 20, 2003

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Sergio Leone. A gruff phallus (Clint Eastwood), a ballsy creep (Eli Wallach) and a total asshole (Lee Van Cleef) meander and murder -- across the Spanish desert wastes of the American Civil War? Absurd as ever, mingling brilliance and tedium, Sergio Leone's freakish fantasy of the Old West (and third with Eastwood in that same serape) returns restored with fourteen minutes of footage -- mostly extended abuse and some shootings -- recently redubbed to English by Eastwood, Wallach and voice actor Simon Prescott (for the late Van Cleef). Ennio Morricone's indelible score begins as delicious camp and leans increasingly toward torture, while Leone's lingering facial landscapes -- every crow's foot, beady eye and clenched cheroot -- superbly complement and even eclipse his vast, bleached tableaux. The film's leaden antiwar theme doesn't jibe with its gleeful violence, and the gold-hunt plot is a trifle, but the character interplay is superb, even as Wallach's frantic gnashing sends the scenery fleeing in terror. If there were a 90-minute version, it might be as funny as Blazing Saddles. Opens Friday, August 22, at the Tivoli. (Gregory Weinkauf)

The Magdalene Sisters. Peter Mullan. Opens Friday, August 22, at the Plaza Frontenac. Reviewed this issue.

Marci X. Richard Benjamin. Lisa Kudrow's a white Jewish girl put in charge of her father's gangsta-rap record label! Will hanging out with black people teach her how to loosen up? Our money's on "yes." Damon Wayans costars as rapper Dr. Snatchcatcher, and Christine Baranski appears as the token evil Republican. Opens Friday, August 22, at multiple locations. NR

The Medallion. Gordon Chan. Jackie Chan plays a Hong Kong detective with a medallion that gives him superpowers. Julian Sands plays a character called "Snakehead," so what more do you need to know? Opens Friday, August 22, at multiple locations. NR

Mondays in the Sun. Fernando León de Aranda. Opens Friday, August 22, at the Tivoli. Reviewed this issue.

My Boss's Daughter. David Zucker. You know you've been waiting for Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid to finally do a movie together. She plays the daughter of his unpleasant boss; he winds up house-sitting for said employer and uses the opportunity to hit on the young lady. Meanwhile, Andy Richter, Terence Stamp, Michael Madsen and Carmen Electra show up. Points for creative ensemble casting, anyway. Opens Friday, August 22, at multiple locations. NR

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