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|October 2-8, 2008
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A small town suffering under the hand of a rancher hire two men to police the town. When a young widow arrives, complications arise. Rated R. At Flatiron, Colony Square and Century.
The Babes in the Woods (1917)
In order to test his wife’s fidelity, a millionaire disappears after stipulating in his will that his money will go to his two children. Through the butler, the man learns that his wife and brother are contemplating killing the children to inherit the millions. To protect his little son and daughter, he returns and tells them the story of Hansel and Gretel as a warning. Live piano improvisations by Brian Golden. Not rated. At Boulder Public Library. — Boulder Public Library Film Program.
Battle in Seattle
A film based on the Seattle protests of the World Trade Organization. Rated R. At Chez Artiste.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua
A pampered chihuahua from Beverly Hills becomes lost in the mean streets of Mexico. Seriously. Rated PG. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
An epidemic of blindess breaks out, but a doctor’s wife is one of few still able to see. Rated R. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
Burn After Reading
An imperious former spook (John Malkovich) accuses his blackmailers (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) of heading a “league of morons,” in the latest film from Joel and Ethan Coen. As in all Coen japes, stupid has at least a 40 percent chance of getting you killed in spectacularly violent fashion. But the cosmic joke being played on the morons here isn’t much fun in the telling. Rated R (pervasive language, some sexual content, and violence). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Esquire. — Michael Phillips
See full screen review on page 34. Rated R. At Flatiron, Century and Mayan.
Adapted from a story by H.P. Lovecraft. A Seattle history professor, drawn back to his estranged family on the Oregon coast to execute his late mother’s estate, is reaquainted with his best friend from childhood, with whom he has a long-awaited tryst. Caught in an accelerating series of events, he discovers aspects of his father’s New Age cult which take on a dangerous and apocalyptic significance. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
This film dramatizes Amanda Foreman’s popular biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (played by Keira Knightley), a cultishly adored (and sometimes loathed) celebrity of the 18th century known for her outspoken politics as much as her influence over British fashions. The Duchess is a beautifully crafted period piece, but it’s also disturbingly shallow, focused so tightly on one woman’s feelings of repression and loneliness that it lacks any perspective on her causes. Rated PG-13 (sexual content, brief nudity and thematic material). At Century and Mayan. — Tasha Robinson
Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are dragooned into a vast cyber conspiracy involving a super-secret Pentagon surveillance weapon that’s basically a humorless female version of HAL 9000. The screenplay tries like the devil to get you all fussed up about omnivorous cyber-surveillance on a scale George Orwell never imagined, but the result is a hyperactive jumble that fails to whip up the right mixture of dread and propulsion. Rated PG-13 (intense sequences of action and violence and for language). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
A divorcing couple turn to God. Rated PG. At Flatiron and Twin Peaks.
Flash of Genius
A man takes on the entire Detroit auto industry, claiming they stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper. Rated PG-13. At Flatiron and Century.
Flight of the Red Balloon
A new version of the classic 1957 film in which a Parisian boy and his babysitter follow a red balloon. Not rated. At IFS.
Water is the essence of life, sustaining every living being on this planet. But the global water supply isn’t just at risk, it’s already in crisis. Director Irena Salina reveals the emerging global catastrophe: African plumbers reconnect shantytown water pipes under cover of darkness to ensure a community’s survival; a Californian scientist forces awareness of shockingly toxic public water sources; a CEO argues privatization is the wave of the future; a Canadian author uncovers corporate profiteering. With an unflinching focus on politics, pollution and human rights, Flow ensures that the precarious relationship between humanity and water can no longer be ignored. While specifics of locality and issue may differ, the message is the same: water, and our future as a species, is quickly drying up. Unless we instigate change, we face a world in which only those that can pay for their water will survive. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
Here’s a welcome surprise: a supernatural romantic comedy that works, graced with a cast just off-center enough to make it distinctive. A freak accident during a routine colonoscopy takes a loner dentist (Ricky Gervais) to the other side for seven seconds. When he comes back, he can see and hear all the spirits of the dead caught in limbo with unfinished business. One such spirit (Greg Kinnear) promises to leave the dentist alone if he’ll break up the impending marriage of his widow (Tea Leoni). Rated PG-13 (some strong language, sexual humor and drug references). At Flatiron, Century and Colony Square. — Michael Phillips
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
Simon Pegg plays a British writer who struggles to fit in at a high-profile New York magazine. Rated R. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
See full screen review on page 34. Rated PG (some thematic elements, scary images, action and mild language). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
Love and Honor
Yoji Yamada’s Japanese drama Love and Honor (Bushi No Ichibun) follows the heartbreaking plight of Shinnojo (Yoji Yamada), a young man employed as a “food taster” for the imperial family. Shinnojo’s position comes to a sudden and tragic end when he consumes poisoned fish intended for the clan leader and is forever robbed of his sight. Forced to give up his job, Shinnojo thus heads home and sinks into a deep and seemingly inescapable depression. Contemplating suicide, Shinnojo is only stopped by the love of his wife, Kayo, who insists that she will also commit seppuku if he proceeds. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
The Lucky Ones
Three U.S. Army veterans home from Iraq are thrown together and embark on a cross-country road trip full of earnest speeches and awkward narrative contrivances. Director and co-writer Neil Burger has real facility with actors, but Rachel McAdams, Michael Peña and a miscast Tim Robbins cannot make three-dimensional characters out of two-dimensional archetypes. Rated R (language and some sexual content). At Chez Artiste. — Michael Phillips
The Magic Cloak of Oz (1914)
Based on L. Frank Baum’s 1904 Oz book Queen Zixi of Ix, this is the story of a magic cloak woven by fairies which gives the wearer one wish. Complications ensue as the queen and others attempt to gain possession of the cloak. Silent film. Live piano improvisations by Brian Golden. Not rated. At Boulder Public Library. — Boulder Public Library Film Program
It’s funny what you buy completely onstage and resist on-screen. Case in point: Mamma Mia! — the ABBA-fueled stage phenomenon that is now a movie. Meryl Streep handles the ABBA tunes with aplomb, but it’s disappointing to see the film version turn out this way — not lousy, but pushy. Free spirit Donna (Streep) lives with her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) on a Greek island. Sophie, about to marry, learns her father, whom she never knew, is one of three possible candidates (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard), and all are coming to the wedding. Rated PG-13 (some sex-related comments). At Colony Square. — Michael Phillips
Man on Wire
A documentary that follows Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire routine performed between the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City. The act was hailed as the “artistic crime of the century.” Rated PG-13. At Chez Artiste.
Miracle at St. Anna
Spike Lee tackles a great, sprawling subject, adapting James McBride’s novel about four African-American soldiers stranded behind enemy lines in WWII but welcomed by members of a besieged Tuscan community. Lee shoots the story, which spans wrenching battlefield realism and folkloric magical-realism flourishes, every which way, and the tone is uncertain. Why can’t he bring the same clarity and force to his fictional features that he does to his documentaries? Rated R (strong war violence, language and some sexual content/nudity). At Flatiron, Century and Colony Square. — Michael Phillips
My Best Friend’s Girl
A man hires his best friend to take his ex-girlfriend on a date so that she might realize how much she missed her former love. Rated R. At Flatiron and Century.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Michael Cera plays Nick, a rocker in a hardcore band, who meets college-bound Norah and tries to immediately convince her to date him. Rated PG-13. At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks.
Nights in Rodanthe
A recently separated woman (Diane Lane) leaves her kids with her ex and heads to the scenic coastal burg of Rodanthe, N.C., where her pal owns the a picturesque inn. She’s there to spend time alone and prepare the inn for an incoming nor’easter, but the sole scheduled visitor is a doctor (Richard Gere) who recently lost a patient during a routine operation and has come to amends with the grieving widower (Scott Glenn). The result is a feather-light romance based on a feather-light novel by Nicholas Sparks. Rated PG-13 (some sensuality). At Flatiron, Century, Colony Square and Twin Peaks. — Michael Phillips
Pather Panchali (1955)
The first film in the Apu Trilogy is a poetic rendition of the childhood of a boy growing up in Bengal. Winner of several awards and based on the novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Music by Ravi Shankar. In Bengali with subtitles. Not rated. At Boulder Public Library. — Boulder Public Library Film Program
The Pool is the story of Venkatesh, a “room boy” working at a hotel in Panjim, Goa, who sees from his perch in a mango tree a luxuriant garden and shimmering pool hidden behind a wall. In making whatever efforts he can to better himself, Venkatesh offers his services to the wealthy owner of the home. Not content to simply dream about a different life, Venkatesh is inquisitive about the home’s inhabitants — indeed about the world around him — and his curiosity changes the shape of his future. Working in Hindi with young actors and in a country obviously not his own, director/co-writer Chris Smith (Yes Men, American Movie) has nevertheless created a superbly incisive portrait. Not rated. At Starz. — Denver Film Society
The Red Balloon with White Mane (1956)
Red Balloon is one of the most beloved of classic childhood fantasies. Shot in the picturesque Menilmontant neighborhood of Paris, it is a tender and charming story of a little boy (Pascal Lamorisse, the director’s 6-year-old son) befriended by a large red balloon. The amazingly expressive balloon wreaks havoc on the boy’s daily routine, following him everywhere. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Prize, it also won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay — a rare honor for a short film, not to mention foreign and dialogue-free. Director Albert Lamorisse’s earlier White Mane (Crin-Blanc) is the story of a boy’s love for a wild horse that only he can tame. Shot in the wild and lonely marshy region of southern France, La Camargue; narrated in English. Not rated. At IFS. — Denver Film Society
Bill Maher takes on religion in this comedic documentary. Rated R. At Century and Esquire.
A documentary that takes a look at the many state secrets in the United States since WWII. Not rated. At IFS.
Islamic groups are protesting the ethnically charged name of director Alan Ball’s film, which comes packed with so many issues — racial, social, political, familial and particularly sexual — that it often winds up feeling overheated and overburdened, though it’s impossible to look away. Newcomer Summer Bishil stars as Jasira, a precocious, half-Lebanese 13-year-old whose coming of age takes place in an oppressively unloving environment. Rated R (strong disturbing sexual content and abuse involving a young teen, and for language). At Chez Artiste. — Tasha Robinson
Ben Stiller’s big-budget comedy is about the runaway production of a Vietnam War epic. Robert Downey Jr., playing an Oscar-winning actor who undergoes a skin treatment to portray an African-American platoon sergeant, is by far the best thing in Tropic, which has taken heat for its “retard” references, anti-Semitic stereotyping and Downey’s risky impersonation of Russell Crowe doing Fred Williamson. While the film is funny, its size and scale inform the joke half of the time and compete with it the other half. Rated R (pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material). At Boulder Theater. — Michael Phillips