Film Openings

Week of April 16, 2003

Bulletproof Monk. Paul Hunter. Opens Wednesday, April 16, at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

The Good Thief. Neil Jordan. Opens Friday, April 18, at the Hi-Pointe. Reviewed this issue.

Holes. Andrew Davis. Opens Friday, April 18, at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

Malibu's Most Wanted. John Whitesell. B-Rad (Jamie Kennedy), otherwise known as Brad Gluckman, is a dopey white boy who lives "up in the 'Bu," where he hangs with phony gangs who wear designer colors. The problem is that he still lives with his straitlaced parents (Ryan O'Neal and Bo Derek), and though they aren't the harsh disciplinarians seen in more serious culture-clash teen fare, Dad is running for governor. He'd love to score more points with minorities, but having his pale-skinned son constantly crashing his rallies with inept rhymes about bitches and ho's, however well-meaning, doesn't quite curry favor with that all-important soccer-mom demo. Therapy fails, so campaign manager Blair Underwood comes up with a more radical notion to scare B-Rad straight: Hire actors (Anthony Anderson and Taye Diggs) to pretend to be real thugs, have them carjack B-Rad and take him on a tour of the real 'hood. Kennedy is funny but too cartoonish to ever identify with -- Diggs and Anderson are the real stars of the show and need more screen time. Opens Friday, April 18, at multiple locations. (Luke Y. Thompson) See Jamie Kennedy interview in this section.

Rivers and Tides. Thomas Riedelsheimer. British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy uses ice, driftwood, bracken, leaves and stone to make sculptures on beaches and in open fields. Some of his works are swept away by the elements, others survive. The transitory nature of his work is a way of channeling and understanding his creativity. Opens Friday, April 18, at the Tivoli. NR

Spun. Jonas Akerlund. A hip dope flick with a groovy sense of doom, Spun can't be called pioneering in the slightest. Nonetheless, this outrageously rockin'-and-reelin' project by Jonas Akerlund (music video director for Roxette and Madonna) defies its inherent redundancy with insanely enthusiastic thematic and stylistic pilfering, adding up to a stunning greatest-hits package for this troubled-youth subgenre. Our protagonist is speed freak Ross (Jason Schwartzman, uncharismatically channeling Dustin Hoffman) who tools over to the ruined Southern California hovel of twitchy dealer Spider Mike (John Leguizamo, playing manic, of all things), where he finds himself tweaking with Spider Mike's nasty girlfriend, Cookie (Mena Suvari), and a visiting Vegas stripper named Nikki (Brittany Murphy). A pizza-faced lad named Frisbee (Patrick Fugit) plus Nikki's meth-brewing boyfriend, the Cook (Mickey Rourke, in fine form), stir up what's basically Requiem for Three Days in the Valley with a score by Billy Corgan. Akerlund and crew use their full arsenal to leave you spun, but it's undeniable that this movie was produced by steady hands and thoughtful minds. Opens Friday, April 18, at the Tivoli. (Gregory Weinkauf)

Till Human Voices Wake Us. Michael Petroni. Our focus here is Sam (Guy Pearce), a stone-faced, Vandyke-bearded psychologist who returns to his small town in Victoria, Australia, to bury his father. En route by train, he encounters a mysterious woman named Ruby (Helena Bonham Carter), who just as suddenly vanishes. She then nearly drowns in the river where young Sam (Lindley Joyner) and his sweetheart Silvy (Brooke Harman) once languidly played, causing Sam to revisit the childhood that made him close down emotionally. Both Pearce and Bonham Carter possess obvious reservoirs of the sadness that leads to bad habits such as smoking or acting, and together they dismantle concerns over Ruby's origin; as both symbol and flesh, she just is. Writer/director Michael Petroni, best known thus far for adapting for the screen Queen of the Damned and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, proves himself an instinctive and sensuous filmmaker. His pacing may gnaw like a starved bandicoot at the patience of common moviegoers, but if a darkly dreamy, vaguely "midcentury" antipodal experience appeals, you'll be well served here. Opens Friday, April 18, at the Plaza Frontenac. (Gregory Weinkauf)

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