Movie Review Archive - B
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Bad Company (PG13)
A fallen CIA agent's twin brother is recruited to take his place in Joel Schumacher's Bad Company. If you only miss one film this summer, miss this one. Bad Company is long winded and trite. There is no chemistry between any of the actors and the wise cracks fall flat. Another nuclear bomb in a suitcase? Enough already. Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Sir Christopher Rock. 111 minutes.
Bad Education (NC17)
A boy who was abused by his priest while in Catholic School seeks revenge. This film noir becomes much more complex as its plot unfolds. Like David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, by the end, it's almost as if you are watching a different film. Starring hunky Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries, Y Tu Mama Tambien) who looks simply smashing in a skirt and heels. In Spanish with subtitles. 109 minutes.
Bad News Bears (PG13)
Cover film. A booze-soaked ex-pro ballplayer reluctantly agrees to manage a hapless group of little leaguers. The 70's original was funny and fresh. 2005's version follows the same story and much of the old script but is slightly less effective. One reason is that the child actors were so much better in the first one. Also, this new take has been filtered through today's confusing politically correct yet mean spirited "social values". Thus we now get a teammate in a wheelchair and non-alcoholic beer at the film's conclusion (the original had the kids chugging and spraying the real thing). At the same time, the dialogue is much more graphic (discussion of the size of male genitalia, menstruation, liberal use of the middle finger, etc) and The Bears, originally sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds, are now brought to you by a local strip club. If you like this re-make, rent the real thing. Coming off an Oscar winning performance in Paper Moon, Tatum O'Neal was a joy to watch as hard throwing Amanda. Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear and Marcia Gay Harden. 111 minutes.
The Ballad Of Jack And Rose (R)
Jack and his teenaged daughter Rose are the only surviving inhabitants of an island "hippie commune" circa 1984. Their world is turned upside down when Jack's girlfriend and her two sons come to live with them. Did I mention that Rose really, really, really loves her Dad? An interesting film but it depressed me more than anything, not to mention a couple of glaring plot holes. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Camilla Belle (who looks strikingly like Chris Noth) and Catherine Keener (The Interpreter). 112 minutes.
This crime/action/comedy is told in flashback-documentary (or "docuflash" as I like to say) style with the final few scenes playing themselves out in the present. Alpha male Joe (Bruce Willis) and hypochondriac Terry (Billy Bob Thornton) escape from prison, kidnap a bored housewife (the very talented Cate Blanchett) and go on a (ho hum) bank robbing spree. Unfortunately the obvious "love triangle" situation also rears it's familiar head. Bandits is a bit slow and Thornton and Willis' odd-couple bickering gets old quickly. The film is somewhat bolstered by a clever ending but not enough to recommend it.
The Banger Sisters (R)
Sueslut, I mean Suzette (Goldie Hawn) and Lavinia (Susan Saranwrap) were big time Los Angeles groupies in the late 60's and 70's. Groupies were mythical beings who, as legend has it, had sex with musicians just because they were musicians. Yeah, right! Since then, Suzette has continued the lifestyle while Lavinia has long ago left it behind, opting for money, marriage and children. When Suzette loses her job, she decides to drive out to Phoenix to surprise Lavinia and perhaps ask for a loan. Lavinia must come to terms with her past while Suzette must come to terms with her future. Or something like that. As the preposterous and predictable plot unfolds, you really want to hate the film but Hawn and Sarandon are able to rise above the script. I've now seen Erika Christensen (Swimfan) in two films and she has had sex in a swimming pool in both. Nice career babe. Also starring Geoffrey Rush. 97 minutes.
A day in the life of a small inner-city barbershop is the focus of Tim Story's Barbershop. The shop employs seven barbers (six black and one white) and, much like Floyd's shop in The Andy Griffith Show, it is a social gathering place where everybody has something to say. Someone named Cedric the Entertainer (what are his kid's names? Earl the Entertainer and Jamaal the Entertainer? What if they choose to grow up to be say, accountants or morticians?) shines as the witty and sage Eddie. This is a crisp ensemble film, reminiscent of the fabulous and superior Soul Food. There are some unnecessary sub-plots thrown in but this is a solid piece of work. Also starring Keith David (not to be confused with David Keith) and Ice Cube (don't get me started). 102 minutes.
Batman Begins (PG13)
Bruce Wayne (Jewish Bales) an orphan of rich, philanthropic parents, decides to fight crime in his hometown (although he lives in the suburbs) of Gotham. First he must be trained in martial arts by the mysterious Far East group, The League Of Shadows. Then it's off to see his father's old friend Lucious Fox (Morgan Freeman) who is a kind of Special Ops R&D man. Fox designs gadgets like the ones Q designed for 007. For his outfit, Wayne decides on a bat motif. Thank God he wasn't obsessed with say, woodpeckers. Bruce Wayne is now ready to do battle with bad guys. The citizens of Gotham refer to their new hero as "The Bat Man". Batman Begins does for the previously existing Batman films what Revenge Of The Sith does for the original three Star Wars films. A well done prequel. Also starring Katie Holmes (does anyone really care about her personal life?), Michael Caine (what a great career he continues to have) and Gary Oldman. At 140 minutes, I thought that it was too long.
Be Cool (PG13)
A movie mogul decides to get into the music business. A sequel to 1995's Get Shorty. Both films explore the sordid underworld of the entertainment industry. This hit and miss action farce boasts an impressive cast and yields more than a few laughs. Starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Vince Vaughn, The Rock, Cedric The Entertainer, Christina Milian, the late Robert Pastorelli ("Murphy Brown") and Aerosmith. 112 minutes.
A Beautiful Mind (PG13)
Russell Crowe (Mystery Alaska) stars as John Forbes Nash Jr. (pick two names, smart dude), a brilliant mathematician who suffers from schizophrenia in A Beautiful Mind. Director Ron Howard (little Opie Cunningham) brings to the screen a film that is exciting, clever and quite moving. Mental illness has never been so chillingly realistic in a movie. Crowe and Howard will most likely be nominated for Oscars. Please let me know if they are. One of 2001's best. Also starring Ed Harris (Pollack, The Right Stuff), Judd Hirsch (Ordinary People) and Jennifer Connelly. 129 minutes.
Because Of Winn-Dixie (PG)
After moving to a small Florida town, a lonely preacher and daughter's lives are forever changed when they adopt a stray dog. This film has a cute factor of 9.5. Its bland and non-threatening themes make Winn-Dixie a passable cinematic experience for a parent and his or her distaff tweens. Starring AnnaSophia Robb (you're getting dangerously close to three names there little lady), Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson (playing apparently the only black person living in the south), Dave Mathews (yeah, that Dave Mathews) and the most famous graduate of my high school, Bethlehem Central, Eva Saint (On The Waterfront). 105 minutes.
Behind Enemy Lines (PG13)
Navy Pilot Burnett, played by Owen Wilson (Zoolander), is shot down over Bosnia while on a reconnaissance mission in Behind Enemy Lines. Aircraft carrier commander Admiral Reigart (Gene Hackperson), who is not allowed to send a rescue team due to a fragile NATO peace accord, must try to find a way to get Burnett to safety. This is pretty standard stuff. The Serbian bad guys can't shoot straight, the dialogue is hackneyed and the ending is predictable and drenched with crappy rock music. Gene Hackman is a fine actor but he apparently never met a script that he didn't like and Owen Wilson is like that wise-ass kid in school that nobody ever beat up because he was good looking. There are many exciting scenes in this film but the end result is no day at the beach.
An embarrassingly bad film based on the popular 1960's TV series about the trials and tribulations of a witch married to and living amongst mortals. This romantic comedy is agonizingly slow and bereft of humor. Worse yet but not surprisingly, there is zero chemistry between stars Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Also starring Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine. Directed by Nora Ephron. 102 minutes.
Beyond The Sea (PG13)
Kevin Spacey directs and stars as the late Bobby Darin. Spacey is a decent song and dance man but he's a bit too old to be convincing as Darin in his prime. And besides, Darin's story is not all that compelling. 121 minutes.
Big Fat Liar (PG)
Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz) is a 14 year old Michigan eighth-grader who is an habitual liar. His teacher (Sandra Oh) gives him an extention on an overdue paper, and while rushing it to her, he collides with a limousine. Riding in the limousine is a Hollywood film producer known as "Wolfman". Jason persuades Wolfman to give him a ride (after all, he just ran him over) but leaves his story "Big Fat Liar" in the limo. Months later, Jason sees that his story has been turned into a major motion picture and that Wolfman has taken credit for the story. Jason then sets out to try to get Wolfman to admit that the script was stolen. That way, Jason can get his parents and teachers to believe that he has turned over a new honest leaf. Big Fat Liar is one of those children's films that is inhabited by bumbling and dishonest adults and clever teens. This is a pleasant film for the little ones. Also starring Paul Giamatti. 87 minutes.
Big Trouble (PG13)
Big Trouble is a fine screw-ball comedy. Based on a Dave Barry novel, this film features an impressive cast. It was supposed to be released last fall but was postponed because of 9/11. That's because it involves a suitcase sized nuclear bomb that was stolen from the Soviet Union. Not that funny if you really think about it. Starring the marginally talented Tim Allen (he even mispronounces the word nuclear), Rene Russo, Tom Sizemore, Stanley Tucci, Janeane Garofalo, Dennis Farina, Jason Lee, Omar Epps, Patrick Warburton and Johnny Knoxville. 85 minutes.
Birthday Girl (R)
A lonely British bank teller (Ben Chaplin) purchases a Russian mail-order bride (Nicole Kidman) who turns out to be a con artist in Birthday Girl. The story is fairly derivative and the result is pretty predictable but I enjoyed this film a little. There are much worse ways to spend an hour and a half. High praise indeed. 93 minutes.
The Black Dahlia (R)
Directed by Brian De Palma (Carrie, Body Double, The Bonfire of the Vanities), this kinky and violent police drama is set in Los Angeles circa 1947. Based on actual events involving the mutilation homicide of an aspiring actress, The Black Dahlia's scenes alternate between over the top histrionics, gratuitous sex and violence and cheesy pathos. There is also way too much cigarette smoking. My estimate was about a pack a scene. I regretted wasting two hours of a beautiful September afternoon sitting through this gory, pretentious, smoked turkey. Starring Josh Hartnett (I recently discovered that Hartnett's movie contracts specify that his beauty mark be visible in at least 75% of his scenes), Aaron Eckart (Thank You For Smoking, Erin Brockovich), Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don't Cry) and ubiquitous Scarlett Johansson (Scoop, Match Point, Lost In Translation). 121 minutes.
Black Hawk Down (R)
War is Hell and this is a hell of a good war movie. Its realism is gutty and gritty much like Platoon. This is not an easy watch however. Black Hawk Down tells the true story of a group of United States Rangers and Delta Force soldiers who, in 1993, go on an ill-fated "peace-keeping" mission in Somalia. Like Ron Howard with Apollo 13, Ridley Scott directs a film based on a real event and whose outcome we already know yet we are on the edge of our seats. Definitely not for the squeamish. Starring Sam Shepard, Tom Sizemore, Ewan McGregor and Josh Hartnett. 143 minutes.
Black Knight (PG13)
Slim Jim comedian Martin Lawrence is transported back to a 14th century world of kings, queens, swords and castles in Black Knight. When at his best, Lawrence spins, riffs and cracks wise like a pre-teen on Sugar Smacks and Starbucks. Unfortunately as the movie progresses, it begins to take on the burdens of plot and choreography. That is too bad because Lawrence is funny here but the film bites. Unless you are an avid Martin fan, avoid Black Knight like the plague.
Blade II (R)
"Good" vampires face off against "bad" mutant vampires in the new Blade II. Wesley Snipes is back as Daywalker, half mortal, half vampire. This film is full of tired special effects (mandable-less jaws which open to reveal Alien type organs that pop out, bodies disintegrating into flaming ash), situations (vampire dance clubs, underground labs) and dialogue ("Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," "Let's do this thing."). Blade II takes itself way too seriously. It is not fun, funny or very interesting. If you must see this, check your brain at the door. You won't be needing it. Also starring Ron Pearlman. 110 minutes.
Blood Work (R)
A retired FBI agent with a transplanted heart (Clint Eastwood) helps a woman track down her sister's killer in Blood Work. Eastwood, who does his best work in gritty crime dramas like these, also produced and directed. Unfortunately, some of his characters and situations lack credibility and are cliché ridden. Also starring Anjelica Huston, Jeff Daniels and Wanda DeJesus. 111 minutes.
Bloody Sunday (R)
In 1972, a peaceful civil rights march through Derry (Londonderry) in Northern Ireland turned deadly, mostly because the British "peacekeeping" forces acted irresponsibly. Thirteen unarmed civilians were murdered by the forces of The Crown who at first used rubber bullets and then metal ones. The British played right into the hands of the Separatists, giving them exactly what they wanted; martyrs. "Bloody Sunday", as it has become known, lent great momentum to The IRA and the cycle of violence in Ireland that continues today. This compelling film is shot documentary style and is a must see for anyone interested in Irish culture. 110 minutes.
Blue Crush (PG13)
If you are anything like me, you don't know jack squat about surfing, nor do you care to. Furthermore, I seldom see good movies revolving around minor sports such as surfing, snowboarding, skiing, bull riding etc. Blue Crush tells the story of four very young women living together in Hawaii. They live to surf and the most talented of them, Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth), has a chance to get a sponsor and become one of the sport's elite. But first she must do well in the Pipe Masters, a big-time surf competition that attracts the world's best surfers and where the deadly waves can reach 30 feet or more. Razor sharp coral awaits those who fall off their boards. Anne Marie has frequent flashbacks of almost drowning while riding the same pipe three years earlier. Things get more complicated when she falls in love a few days before the competition. This film is beautifully photographed, well acted and exciting. Blue Crush accomplishes what a good movie should. It takes you into a world that you would probably never enter, makes it believable and entertains you in the process. Also starring Michelle Rodriguez (Girl Fight, The Fast And The Furious). 103 minutes.
Born Into Brothels (Not Rated)
A documentary that examines children born to prostitutes and into a cycle of poverty in the slums of Calcutta. Zana Briski, an American photographer, buys them cameras and helps them get started. Some of the photos are quite good and are sold to bookstores, to Amnesty International and auctioned at Sotheby's in New York. Proceeds are then used to send a few of these impoverished kids to boarding schools and away from their abusive families. Some stay home and a grim future awaits. 85 minutes.
The Bourne Identity (PG13)
A wounded and unconscious man with no memory (Matt Damon) is pulled out of the sea by fishermen. He turns out to be a CIA agent who is being hunted by his own agency because of a failed mission. Sound complex? It's really not. The Bourne Identity, based on the Robert Ludlum best seller, is an exciting and violent spy film with just enough plot to justify a plethora of action. Damon puts in a good day's work. If he keeps this up, he could be the next Ben Affleck. A pretty face can take you only so far, and teen film star Julia Stiles, who portrays an assistant, is proof positive. She is given very little to do and makes the least of it. Also starring the excellent Franka Potente (Run Lola Run). 116 minutes.
Bowling For Columbine (R)
Using the 1999 Columbine school massacre as a backdrop, writer/director/producer Michael Moore examines America's love of firearms, history of violence and unbelievably high murder rate. Windsor Ontario, just a stone's throw from Detroit, seems to be light years away from America as far as violent crime, fear and ethnic tolerance are concerned. There are 7 million guns for 10 million households in Canada but almost no firearm homicides. Most Canadians don't even lock their doors. Moore raises more questions than he answers but a few things seem clear. America has become a nation built on fear. It's dished out in heaping helpings by politicians, news media and entertainment. "We have been made to fear", says Moore, "minorities both at home and abroad." The US has often, he points out, propped up foreign governments who, in time, turn out to be our enemies. We are told to fear the very people we gave billions to just a few years ago. Clearly, our government is often misinformed and foreign policy changes like the wind. Other targets such as The NRA, Charlton Heston, Dick Clark and the welfare system get a thorough working over as well. This wonderfully ironic film makes you angry, makes you laugh and MAKES YOU THINK. If you care at all about this great but terribly flawed country, you must see this film! 120 minutes.
Bread And Tulips (Pane E Tulipani) (PG13)
In Bread And Tulips, a bored Italian housewife on a bus tour with her family and friends gets left behind at a rest stop. Instead of waiting for them to return, she decides to hitch a ride to Venice. Once there, she rents a room, finds a job, rediscovers her love of music, makes friends and falls in love. This gentle and funny story of self-discovery is the type of project that Hollywood could not or would not ever make. Mainstream American audiences ought to take a break from the shooting and the car chases to enjoy this simple pleasure. In Italian with subtitles.
The Break-Up (PG13)
Being a huge Jason Bateman fan, I was totally psyched to see his newest movie. The Jason Bateman Film Festival, held last year in his hometown of Rye, NY, was one of the highlights of my life. Not only was it a thrill to see works like Teen Wolf Too (1987), Necessary Roughness (1991) and Love Stinks (1992) in one sitting but I almost got to meet him that day. The waitress said that he had just left the diner that I had gone to for coffee. In The Break-Up, Bateman plays a Chicago realtor named Riggleman. Riggleman is an accomplished agent who also has a conscience and loves his wife and friends. He faces a serious dilemma when a couple with whom he is quite close, decides to end their relationship and sell their beautiful condominium. Although he feels as though accepting a commission for the sale would be wrong, Riggleman is bound by the rules of his agency. Despite the great set-up and cast, The Break-Up never really takes off. As always though, Bateman shines. Also starring Vincent D'Onofrio ("Law And Order CI"), Joey Lauren Adams (love her voice), Cole Hauser (the keeper of the slaw), Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. 106 minutes.
Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE (DVD Not Rated)
In the summer of 1966, while The Beach Boys were on tour, their leader, songwriter and producer Brian Wilson was writing and recording tracks for their new album, Smile. Brian had quit touring in late 1964 because he hated the road and being home enabled him to devote more time and energy into his songs. While the Boys were performing out of town, Brian, back home in L.A., hired the best rock and jazz musicians to record all of the instrumental parts of his new songs. When The Beach Boys returned home, he would teach them their vocals and they would overdub them to the instrumental tracks. This arrangement worked perfectly for a while.
But with the critically acclaimed Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, support for Brian's work began to erode. Resistance came from Capital Records and from some band members. Singer Mike Love in particular felt that this new music was too much of a departure from the Beach Boys' formula of surfing, cars and girls. There was enough of the 'old sound' on Pet Sounds to temporarily appease everyone but disaster was just around the corner.
Brian was very much challenged by the newest Beatles' albums Rubber Soul and Revolver. He wanted to create something better yet completely different. This new album would be called Smile. Wilson enlisted West Coast whiz kid Van Dyke Parks to write lyrics. He had met Parks at a party and was very impressed with his ability to turn a phrase. By 1966 Parks had already amassed an impressive resume. Parks had met Albert Einstein, played with Vladmir Horowitz at Carnegie Hall, played the kid on the Jackie Gleason Honeymooners show, was on Broadway in Hansel And Gretel, was in a movie with Grace Kelly and could play almost any instrument. Wilson described this new project as "a teenage symphony to God." Smile would reflect American history, from New England to Hawaii as well as the basic elements of our planet: fire, earth, water and wind. Certainly an ambitious project but this was the 60's and anything seemed possible.
Returning from their latest tour, The Boys were even more skeptical and Capital Records executives were definitely not smiling about Smile. This new album, though less than half finished and recorded in modular sections, was deemed too weird and thought to have extremely limited commercial potential. Brian became angry and depressed. The rejection of Smile was a blow that he could not handle. He completely ceased work on Smile. The fish was then gutted by Capital Records. Record companies are good that way. Completed songs like "Good Vibrations", "Heroes And Villains" and "Surfs Up" made it on to other albums and Brian retreated into alcohol, drugs and mental illness. In the years that followed, the Smile legend grew. It became a kind of metaphor for the 60's. A beautiful promise that was never realized.
If Smile had been accepted by the band and the record company and completed in 1967, would Brian have been able to write an even better album next? Was Smile the product of a man on the edge; at his creative peak but nearing a collapse from self abuse and mental illness? We will never know.
Fast forward to early 2003. Brian is recovered and has been productive for a number of years. After a successful live appearance on an award show where he and his band performed "Heroes And Villains", Wilson entertained the idea of finishing Smile and performing it live. Parks and Wilson picked up where they left off 37 years earlier and finished the album. Wilson and his amazing 17 piece band performed Smile for the first time in its entirety in the fall of 2003 to enthusiastic London audiences that included Paul McCartney and Beatles' producer George Martin. People came from around the world to witness an event that nobody thought would ever happen. As Brian put it, "Our Smile dream has come true."
Was Smile worth the wait? The reviews: "....a triumph. Five stars," ".....Wilson's masterpiece," "......likely the most coherent long-form composition in rock," and "....a serious contender for the greatest album ever made." Smile is not about rock stars or extended solos. Smile is about brilliant songs which are brought to life by the exceptional talents of the singers and players. Songs about Planet Earth, America, passion, love, spirituality and inner beauty, played with modern orchestral sensibilities. It is without a doubt one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Personally, I wish that Wilson had left "Workshop" and "Vega-Tables" on the computer's hard drive but that's just me.
Like many fine things in life, Smile is an acquired taste. The more that you listen to it, the more you like it and the more you get out of it. Robert Hunter, lyricist for The Grateful Dead, writes beautiful but ambiguous words. Lyrics like "It's a buck dancer's choice my friend, better take my advice. You know all the rules by now and the fire from the ice" from "Uncle John's Band" remind me of the writing of Van Dyke Parks. For Smile, Parks has penned some fabulous lyrics. Songs like the beautiful "Cabin Essence": "Light the lamp and fire mellow cabin essence timely hello welcomes a time for a change," and the haunting "Wonderful": "She knew how to gather the forest when God reached softly and moved her body. One golden locket, quite young and loving her mother and father" contain a depth and complexity that allows for repeated listening. I'll take those lyrics over stuff like "My baby left me with a broken heart" any day. Coupled with Wilson's flair for rich melody, the songs contained on Smile are some of the finest ever written.
The Smile DVD set contains 2 discs. Disc 1, Beautiful Dreamer is a fine introduction. It tells all about the making of Smile and contains some great interviews. Disc 2 is The Smile Concert recorded in Los Angeles, California. If you didn't get a chance to see Smile performed live (I saw it at The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in August 2005) the disc is almost as great. Every note that is played and sung on the CD is performed brilliantly by Wilson's amazing 17 piece band/orchestra. The only difference between the CD and the live performance are the transitions between sections. In the studio, the engineers are able to cross-fade and digitally splice sections together. Performed live, there are short (usually only one measure) added lines that are played, sung or counted that enable the musicians to get from section to section. History will show that getting to see Brian Wilson perform Smile live in the early 21st century was like seeing Beethoven or Mozart perform their greatest works. 240 minutes
Bringing Down The House (PG13)
After meeting in a cyber chat room, a divorced lawyer (Steve Martin) invites his electronic pen pal (Queen Latifah) to his house for a romantic dinner. The joke is that he doesn't know that she is a big, black, street smart woman who has recently escaped from prison. We have already seen the handful of funny scenes countless times in previews. This clash-of-cultures romantic comedy is dumb and embarrassing. Not all white people are unhip bigots and not all blacks are pistol toting, malt liquor swilling dance experts. This film continues an alarming trend that Madison Ave. and Hollywood began about fifteen years ago. Like a funhouse mirror, Bringing Down The House makes everybody look bad. I hated each character and every word of dialogue with the possible exception of Joan Plowright smoking pot. To see Steve Martin at his best in a recent release, rent Novocaine. Also starring Eugene Levy (Serendipity). 105 minutes.
Brokeback Mountain (R)
Two young cowboys partner up for a rugged summer of herding sheep in the desolate mountains of Wyoming. They develop a deep bond that lasts the rest of their lives. Even though they go their separate ways, marry and raise families, they continue to get together two or three times a year to "fish". Unfortunately, they are never quite able to deal with their feelings. This is a sad but beautiful story featuring breathtaking cinematography and first rate acting. Starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Directed by Ang Lee. 134 minutes.
Broken Flowers (R)
Bill Murray stars as Don Johnston, a wealthy retired bachelor who receives an anonymous letter claiming that he has a son. Johnston embarks on a road trip with the intention of dropping in on four ex-girlfriends from twenty years ago. The road trip turns out to be (caution: cliché ahead) a journey of self discovery. When Johnston was a player, he definitely did not have a "type" because these women are all completely different. This is Murray at his low-key best. Great ending too. If you didn't like Lost In Translation, you will hate Broken Flowers. Also starring Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy ("Six Feet Under"), Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton and Julie Delpy. 106 minutes.
Brotherhood Of The Wolf (R)
A "superwolf" terrorizes the 19th century French countryside in Brotherhood Of The Wolf. This stylish but ultra violent French film is a tasty gumbo of political intrigue, martial arts, swashbuckling swordsmanship, romance, mysticism and murderous mayhem. If you don't mind the gore, this is such a fun movie to watch that you forget how ridiculous it really is. In French with subtitles. 146 minutes.
Brown Sugar (PG13)
Friends since they were kids, a man (Taye Diggs) and a woman (Sanaa Lathan) who are now in their 30's and in the music business, toy with the idea of getting together romantically. As a friend (Queen Latifah) who thinks that it's a good idea says, "You get the buddy and the bootie!" Using Hip-Hop as a metaphor from the genre's New York infancy through the present, we follow both the music and the couple through all the ups and downs. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is not compelling enough to motivate the characters and the jokes fall flat but Lathan is a joy to watch throughout. Too bad the film is not. 108 minutes.