Saturday, April 30, 2005

Movies opening this week

House of D (Anton Yelchin, Tea Leoni, Robin Williams, dir. David Duchovny)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I like David Duchovny. I think he's smart and he's talented. The episodes of The X-Files that he wrote and directed were funny and kind of offbeat and showed that he had a good sense of who the characters were. But this is just a bad movie, plain and simple. It's one of those things where someone is stretching way too hard for respectability, like if they get really serious and "touching," they'll win Oscars or critical acclaim or whatever. Duchovny should've stuck with being sarcastic and offbeat. And stayed far, far away from the coming-of-age drama. Opened limited April 15; in Las Vegas this week

Nobody Knows (Yuya Yagira, Ayu Kitaura, Hiei Kimura, dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I thought this was really well-done, in a very meticulous way that meant every detail contributed significantly to the overall tone and feel. Just the way Kore-eda would linger a little longer than expected over certain objects, or at the end of certain scenes, or the way he kept coming back to close-ups of the children's feet, it all gave off the impression of care, while contributing to both the wonder and unease of the way the children lived. A great example of how a clear but unobtrusive visual style can really enhance the telling of a story that's not generally flashy or stylized. Opened limited February 4; in Las Vegas this week

XXX: State of the Union (Ice Cube, Scott Speedman, Willem Dafoe, Samuel L. Jackson, dir. Lee Tamahori)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
I just can't help thinking about how harsh the producers were to Vin Diesel for not coming back. Not only does his character's death get a one-line mention in this movie, but the recent re-released DVD of the original has a tacked-on scene of the character's death, with another actor in the role. They are really bitter about his leaving. Wide release

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