Alien Trespass

Alien Trespass
Somewhere between parody and homage there's just doing something badly. Alien Trespass was clearly made with the intention to both emulate and satirize the classic B-movie sci-fi films of the 1950s Ė and not in a semi-serious Roland Emmerich kind of way, but in a careful replication of the era, complete with flying saucers, sub-par effects and some overly hammy acting. The problem, unfortunately, is that the movie aims to have it both ways and quite simply can't, straddling the cinematic line for about 10 minutes before falling gracelessly into its own confused voice.

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Drive Angry 3D

Drive Angry 3D
While an incredibly fun and original genre movie is very, very welcome in the midst of this particularly dim winter for wide releases, hereís the shame of it: Late this April, ďsummerĒ will kick off with the fifth entry of a tired and often obnoxiously dumb series built around fast cars. Really, thereís only the slimmest of chances itís better than Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmerís 3D revenge road movie, which is much more befitting of signifying the beginning of hot weather, short shorts and sweet times.

To know DRIVE ANGRY is to love it. Itís brief opening narration from William Fichtnerís The Accountant (who steals the film) musing on the fates of bad-ass motherf**kers sets a stage built on pyrotechnics and the bones of lesser men. The film very much stars Nicolas Cage as John Milton, who after escaping hell is on a singular mission to eradicate the cult leader (Billy Burke as Jonah King) who murdered his daughter and stole her baby. He finds feisty companionship in ex-waitress Piper (Amber Heard) as they charge towards the site of the infantís sacrifice under the full moon, with many misadventures along the way.

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Beach
Let me start with a disclosure: I have not read the Alex Garland novel upon which The Beach is based, so I'm not in a position to discuss firsthand whether or not it butchers its source text (according to some reports, it does). The film represents a reunion of the Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary trio of director Danny Boyle, producer Andrew Macdonald, and screenwriter John Hodge. Missing is star Ewan McGregor, but he has been replaced by none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, in his first post-Titanic role (The Man In the Iron Mask, which was released after Cameron's blockbuster, was filmed before it). Sadly, while DeCaprio does a credible job as the protagonist and The Beach represents a great piece of eye candy, this film as a whole is a mess.

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Can a great work of literature change a person's life? Whether or not you believe so, writer/director Dai Sijie, adapting his own novel (How many filmmakers can make that claim?), clearly does. The problem with the movie Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is that he never convinces us of his thesis. Dai's approach impacts our ability not only to believe that the title character has been fundamentally changed, but causes the film's central romance to seem no more substantive than a diversion.

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Proof
Maybe it's my math/engineering background, but I found Proof to be fascinating both on the stage and on the screen. Actually, appreciation of the film demands little math knowledge (aside from recognizing that a "proof" is a logical set of equations designed to explain and defend the veracity of a theorem). Proof is less about math than it is about the ins-and-outs of intellectual property and the relationships of one women to those around her (father, sister, lover).

When we first meet Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow), it's the day before her father's funeral. During the last years of his life, Robert (Anthony Hopkins) - once a revered mathematician - was caught in the grip of dementia, with Catherine as his lone caregiver. Now, with his death, her sister, Claire (Hope Davis), has jetted in from New York City to pick up the pieces and bring Catherine back with her. And her father's dissertation student, Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal), is poring over Robert's old notebooks, looking for something brilliant amidst all the ramblings. Meanwhile, Catherine, who believes she may have inherited her father's madness as well as his

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Matrix

Matrix
There's no sophomore jinx for the Wachowski Brothers. Andy and Larry, a pair of obviously talented film makers, have returned to theaters with The Matrix, a science fiction thriller that is every bit the match of their debut effort, Bound, for tension, excitement, and intelligence. In an era when movie scripts (especially those pigeonholed into the science fiction genre) are becoming increasingly more stupid and special effects reliant, the Wachowskis prove that style and substance do not have to be mutually exclusive.

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Elizabeth

Elizabeth
The reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England began in 1558, when, at the age of 25, she succeeded her half-sister, Mary. Over the course of the next 45 years, Elizabeth established herself as one of the most popular and successful monarchs ever to rule England. Elizabeth, the pseudo-biographical film from director Shakhar Kapur (Bandit Queen), presents the young queen's struggles in the form of a grand costume melodrama (of the sort that the French are famous for). It's a rousing adventure that keeps the audience involved for the entirety of the two hour running time while opening a window into the culture that gave birth to Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Francis Bacon, and William Shakespeare.

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Jawbreaker

Jawbreaker
For the first time in more than a decade, teen films are all the rage. Stars from TV shows like "Dawson's Creek" and "Party of Five" are crossing over to the big screen in droves, resulting in such lackluster fare as Can't Hardly Wait and She's All That. With a built-in audience of millions who hang out at multiplexes every Friday and Saturday night, these movies, despite being lackluster and underwritten, are guaranteed money-makers. They all use similar formulas - variations on the themes that John Hughes toyed with in the '80s. Every once in a while, however, a teen film comes along with a dark streak and something of an edge. In 1989, it was Heathers. Now, in 1999, it's Jawbreaker.

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Schindler's List

Schindler's List
There have been numerous documentaries and dramatic productions focusing on the Holocaust, including a television mini-series which many consider to be the definitive work. As a result, in deciding to film Schindler's List, director Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park) set an imposing task for himself. His vision needed to differ from that of the film makers who preceded him, yet the finished product had to remain faithful to the unforgettable images which represent the legacy of six million massacred Jews. Those who see this motion picture will witness Spielberg's success.

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The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch
The Wild Bunch
1969, Rated R
Ernest Borgnine, William Holden, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez
Director: Sam Peckinpah

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Good Boy!

Good Boy!
Owen Baker (Liam Aiken) is a 12-year-old loner who has been working as the neighborhood dog-walker so he can earn the privilege of getting a dog of his own. Owen's hard work pays off when his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Baker (Molly Shannon and Kevin Nealon), let Owen adopt a scruffy Border Terrier that he names Hubble (voice of Matthew Broderick).

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The Cell 2

The Cell 2
The FBI Agent Maya has developed the ability of psychically connect with other people after being murdered six times and brought back to live by the sadistic serial-killer Cusp. Now she is tracking down the infamous criminal through his mind using a device to protect herself but after an unsuccessful manhunt, she quits the FBI. One year later, when the niece of Sheriff Harris is abducted by Cusp, Mayas former chief Kassel summons her back to the investigation. Maya teams up with Harris trying to save his niece Penelope, but her time is short and she must risk her own safety to help the young woman.

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It Had to Be You

It Had to Be You
Charlie Hudson, a retired crisis negotiator for the NYPD, is engaged to Claire Parker, a beautiful and successful business woman. Claire has planned a weekend in New York registering at Bergdorf Goodman, staying at The Plaza Hotel, etc., laying the foreground for the ensuing wedding. Due to an unexpected business opportunity, Claire is called away. Anna Penn, a school teacher, is scheduled to register for her wedding with fianc

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It Could Happen to You

It Could Happen to You
Charlie Lang, a New York cop with a heart of gold, wins a share of the lottery. However, the day before, having been caught without enough money to tip waitress (Yvonne), Charlie offers her half the winnings. Charlies wife, Muriel, is the complete opposite of her husband. She wants more and more money, and shes not impressed by Charlies honest and kind nature. As Charlie and Muriel grow apart, Charlie and Yvonne grow together.

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