Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kam's Kapsules: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

Kam's Kapsules:
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams
For movies opening May 9, 2008


Speed Racer (PG for action, violence and epithets) The Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix) wrote and directed this live-action adaptation of the animated, Japanese TV-series from the Sixties. Big-screen version features the car racing phenom (Emile Hirsch) teaming with an ex-rival (Matthew Fox) to take on the ruthless, corporate-sponsored favorite in a big cross-country rally called The Crucible. With Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Richard Roundtree

What Happens in Vegas (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, crude humor and a drug reference) Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz co-star in this romantic comedy about a couple of losers who meet and marry after a night of debauchery in Las Vegas. Their decision to divorce immediately is complicated when greed sets in after he wins a multi-million dollar jackpot with one of her coins.


All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (R for sexuality, nudity, profanity, violence and pervasive drug and alcohol use, all involving teens) High attrition-rate horror flick about a 16 year-old blossoming beauty (Amber Heard) invited by classmates intent on taking her virginity to a wild weekend party at a remote ranch in Texas where kids start disappearing one-by-one.

The Babysitters (R for profanity, graphic sexuality and drug use, all involving teens) Jailbait drama about a 16 year-old who turns her babysitting service into a call girl ring for married fathers, after she sleeps with one of her clients (John Leguizamo). Cast includes Cynthia Nixon, Louisa Krause and Halley Wegryn Gross.

Battle for Haditha (Unrated) Iraq War documentary reconstructs the events surround the massacre of 24 civilians in Haditha by U.S. Marines ostensibly in revenge for the murder of buddy by a roadside bomb. (In English and Arabic with subtitles)

Before the Rains (PG-13 for sexuality and violence) Cross-cultural romance drama, set in India in the 1930s, about the fallout for a British tea baron (Linus Roache) and his mistress housekeeper (Nandita Das) after their clandestine adulterous affair becomes the talk of the town. (In Malayalam and English)

The Fall (R for violence) Escapist sci-fi saga, set in L.A. in the 1920s, about a little girl (Cantinca Untaru) recovering from a fall who’s befriended by a bedridden hospital patient (Lee Pace) capable of capturing her imagination by spinning a vivid tale mixing fantasy and reality.

The Memory Thief (Unrated) Identity-crisis drama about an aimless tollbooth clerk (Mark Webber) who becomes abnormally obsessed with the plight of the Jewish people after chance encounters with both an anti-Semite and a Holocaust survivor.

Noise (Unrated) Tim Robbins stars in this revenge drama about a NYC attorney turned into a vigilante by the din in Manhattan that’s been driving him crazy. With William Hurt, Billy Baldwin and Bridget Moynahan (NFL QB Tom Brady’s baby mama).

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (Unrated) Deadpan French satire set in the Fifties and revolving around the exploits of Secret Agent OSS 117 (Jean Dujardin), a hapless cross between James Bond and Austin Powers, who has been dispatched to Egypt to solve the murder of a colleague. (In French with subtitles)

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (Unrated) Musical horror comedy about a supernatural force which mysteriously turns all the chicken on the menu at a new fast food restaurant into zombie fowl after the franchise was built atop a sacred Native American burial ground. Ensemble cast includes Jason Yachanin, Kate Graham, Joshua Olatunde, Robin Watkins and Khalid Rivera.

A Previous Engagement (Unrated) Romantic comedy about the hijinks which ensue after a Seattle librarian (Juliet Stevenson) with a secret agenda talks her husband (Daniel Stern) into taking a family vacation on the Mediterranean island of Malta with the faint hope of keeping a date she made with her first love (Tcheky Karyo) 25 years earlier.

The Tracey Fragments (Unrated) Ellen “Juno” Page plays a familiar title role in this dysfunctional family drama about a socially-isolated and emotionally-disturbed teenager with a substance-abusing mother (Erin McMurtry), a failure of a father (Ari Cohen) and a missing little brother (Zie Souwand) she’s hypnotized into believing he’s a dog. The guilt-ridden girl roams the city looking for him, totally naked except for the shower curtain she’s wrapped herself in.

Turn the River (R for profanity) Billiards-driven drama about a small town pool shark (Famke Janssen) whose only hope of regaining custody of her young son (Jaymie Dornan) from her alcoholic ex-husband (Matt Ross) rests with hustling $50,000 by beating the best player (John Juback) in Manhattan with the help of her mentor (Rip Torn).

Unsettled (Unrated) Arab-Israeli tensions are the subject of this Middle East documentary about the contrary reactions of several young Jews (a religious filmmaker, two lifeguards and a pacifist whose sister was killed by a suicide bomber) affected by their government’s plans to dismantle settlements and to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. (In Hebrew and English with subtitles)

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