Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans
A remake of the 1981 cult classic of the same name, Clash of the Titans follows demi-god Perseus (Sam Worthington) as he seeks revenge against the gods after the death of his family. His quest will see him embark on a grand adventure where he must battle many fantastic and horrifying creatures in order to rescue Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) and the doomed city of Argos from the wrath of the gods. That's the story in a nutshell. Many characters from the original film have been jettisoned altogether and plot elements have been shifted around.

The original Clash of the Titans is an example of a movie you liked as a child, but when revisited as an adult it's just not as good as you remembered. Indeed, it's quite hokey and boring, and the special effects as dated as they were even when it came out are really the biggest reason why it's still talked about. But for many people of a certain age, myself included, the original Clash was often one's first exposure to Greek mythology, and at least in this reviewer's case it helped trigger a lifelong interest in the subject. That said, the acting in the film was pretty bad, with Harry Hamlin as a rather drab and passive Perseus who just has things happen to him. While Worthington's Perseus may not have a terribly complicated or original arc, at least he actually drives the narrative forward, makes his own decisions, and has objectives he wants to achieve rather than simply reacting to the actions of others.

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Dodgeball

Dodgeball
Of course, Dodgeball isn't a true underdog anything, but that's all part of the joke. A blistering satire of feel-good sports movies, this film makes its mark via the most direct route: it lampoons by adopting the tried-and-true "straight" formula and tweaking it a little. The approach works because many sports dramas are borderline unintentional parodies with less tension than a flaccid cable; all the filmmakers of Dodgeball had to do was to follow the plot-by-numbers approach, incorporate some obviously comedic material, and toss in a huge dose of over-the-top earnestness. The resulting product offers about 90 minutes of laughter (although the movie runs out of steam during its final third).

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Stuck
Stuck, like many in the thriller/comedy genre, has difficulty handling the tonal shifts between humor and suspense that exist within its framework. That's not to say the movie fails - there are times when it is bitingly funny and times when its bloodiness can cause a wince and a shudder - but director Stuart Gordon is not adept at blending the two extremes into a cohesive whole. Still, the storyline and its presentation are unique enough that it's difficult not to be intrigued about where all this is going once it starts.

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Designated Mourner

Designated Mourner
If you were bored by My Dinner with Andre, The Designated Mourner isn't for you. If Spalding Gray's monologues put you to sleep, prepare to snooze through The Designated Mourner. And if you think Twister is perfectly paced, give The Designated Mourner a pass. This film, a series of often-disjointed ruminations about culture and class, demands active intellectual participation, and those who prefer motion pictures to be passive events will be profoundly unappreciative of its approach.

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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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Drugstore Cowboy

Drugstore Cowboy
The operative word in Drugstore Cowboy is "drug". Matt Dillon plays the leader of a group of dopeheads who wander around the country robbing pharmacies to feed their habits. Dillon's chums include doltish James Le Gros and teen-age junkie Heather Graham; also along for the ride is Dillon's wife Kelly Lynch.

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Governor's Wife, The aka Deadly Suspicion

Governor's Wife, The aka Deadly Suspicion
A manipulative mother increases her plotting to stay in control.

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The Believer

The Believer
The film follows the story of Daniel Balint, a brilliant but troublesome student at a Jewish Yeshiva who has become a fanatically violent Neo-Nazi in New York by his early 20s. The film plots his rise through the ranks of a fascist party while he attempts to reconcile his religious past and ethnic heritage with his anti-Semitism.

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Silent Night

Silent Night
Fact-based World War II story set on Christmas Eve, 1944, finds a German Mother (Linda Hamilton) and her son seeking refuge in a cabin on the war front. When she is invaded by three American soldiers and then three German soldiers, she successfully convinces the soldiers to put aside their differences for one evening and share a Christmas dinner.

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Borstal Boy

Borstal Boy
Brendan Behan, a sixteen year-old republican, is going on a bombing mission from Ireland to Liverpool during the second world war. His mission is thwarted when he is apprehended, charged and imprisoned in Borstal, a reform institution for young offenders in East Anglia, England. At Borstal, Brendan is forced to live face-to-face with those he perceived as the enemy, a confrontation that reveals a deep inner conflict in the young Brendan and forces a self-examination that is both traumatic and revealing. Events take an unexpected turn and Brendan is thrown into a complete spin. In the emotional vortex, he finally faces up to the truth.

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Creepshow 2

Creepshow 2
Three more stories told from a comic book are presented by the Creep. The first is about a dime-store Native American that seeks vengeance on those who killed the stores owners. The second is about a carnivorous mass of pond scum that attacks four people on a raft. The final tale is about a rich woman who accidentally kills a hitchhiker while speeding home from an affair with a male prostitute.

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A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun
Walter Lee Younger is a young man struggling with his station in life. Sharing a tiny apartment with his wife, son, sister and mother, he seems like an imprisoned man. Until, that is, the family gets an unexpected financial windfall...

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Einstein

Einstein
A look at the relationship between renowned scientist Albert Einstein and his first wife, Mileva Maric.

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Just Wright

Just Wright
A physical therapist falls for the basketball player she is helping recover from a career-threatening injury.

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Merantau

Merantau
In Minangkabau, West Sumatera, Yuda a skilled practitioner of Silat Harimau is in the final preparations to begin his Merantau a centurys old rites-of-passage to be carried out by the communitys young men that will see him leave the comforts of his idyllic farming village and make a name for himself in the bustling city of Jakarta. After a series of setbacks leave Yuda homeless and uncertain about his new future, a chance encounter results in him defending the orphaned Astri from becoming the latest victim of a European human trafficking ring led by the wildly psychotic, Ratger and his right-hand man Lars. With Ratger injured in the mle and seeking both his merchandise and bloody retribution, Yudas introduction to this bustling city is a baptism of fire as he is forced to go on the run with Astri and her younger brother Adit as all the pimps and gangsters that inhabit the night hound the streets chasing their every step...

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Me & You, Us, Forever

Me & You, Us, Forever
A love story based in 1974 and 2004. A 47-year-old Christian man, on the other side of an unwanted divorce, reminisces about his old high school girlfriend from 30 years prior.

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