Film Openings

Week of March 19, 2003

Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony. Lee Hirsch. Opens Friday, March 21, at the Tivoli. Reviewed this issue.

Boat Trip. Mort Nathan. Jerry (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Nick (Horatio Sanz) see their love lives hit rock bottom. To escape their troubles and find new women, they book a trip on a cruise, unaware that the travel agent has booked them on a trip for gays. It takes a while for the dimwitted duo to discover the mistake. Opens Friday, March 21, at multiple locations. NR

Dreamcatcher. Lawrence Kasdan. Opens Friday, March 21, at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. Laetitia Colombani. Opens Friday, March 21, at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema. Reviewed this issue.

Open Hearts. Susanne Bier. This Danish drama successfully uses edgy scenes and uncompromising performances to sidestep its soapy setup. Doofus grad student Joachim (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) gets run over and paralyzed by crotchety homemaker Marie (Paprika Steen) immediately after proposing to perky, opportunistic Cecilie (Sonja Richter), who in turn boinks wishy-washy Niels (Mads Mikkelsen), who's not only her counselor but also one of Joachim's doctors and Marie's husband. A better title might be Ruined Lives, but director Susanne Bier (with co-screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen) shows off well-honed gifts for milking discomfort from human foibles. Even supporting characters -- such as the elder couple's petulant teen, Stine (Stine Bjerregaard), and Niels's resignedly sexist buddy Finn (Niels Olsen) -- are written and delivered with zest. Technically a minimalist Dogme 95 project (although it cheats with nonsource sappy pop songs), the movie commands attention by way of its snappy writing and proves itself more darkly engrossing than Denmark's Dogme soap Italian for Beginners. The leads make this one, and it's refreshing that they're not Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe -- yet. Opens Friday, March 21, at the Plaza Frontenac. (Gregory Weinkauf)

Piglet's Big Movie. Here we re-examine this diminutive representative of the other white meat and all the archetypal denizens of classic children's author A.A. Milne's Hundred Acre Wood. While Piglet (neurotically whimpered by John Fiedler, with nose still screwed up by Disney) demonstrates naïve virtue, his dubious friend Pooh (hoarsely drawled by Jim Cummings) is pure bourgeois scum, kicking things off by yet again stealing "hunny" from hardworking bees (symbolizing the proletariat). The heist goes awry, and altruistic Piglet is flung into a disoriented existential hell, so Pooh and shockingly ultraconservative Rabbit (Ken Sansom), downtrodden Eeyore (Peter Cullen) and Screamin' Jay Hawkins wannabe Tigger (Cummings again) employ the tiny domesticated hog's "scrappity-book" (and Milne's original stories) to find their undervalued friend and save screenwriter Brian Hohlfeld from doing much work. Directed by Francis Glebas and created by an enormous army of animators in Japan, Australia, and the U.S., the movie features several political themes for adults and is mostly delightful for kids. Just consider yourself warned about the live-action Carly Simon video at its tail end. Opens Friday, March 21, at multiple locations. (Gregory Weinkauf)

View From the Top. Bruno Barreto. A woman from a small town (Gwyneth Paltrow) achieves her dream of being a flight attendant. Opens Friday, March 21, at multiple locations. NR

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