Crouching Pussycats, Hidden Gems

Moviegoers Avoid Big-Budget Pitfalls

The Glass House
Teen adoptees Leelee Sobieski and Trevor Morgan begin to suspect that new parents Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgard might be responsible for their birth parents' deaths. Written by thriller hack Wesley Strick. APRIL 20

Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine
Banned Iranian filmmaker Bahman Farmanara makes a film about his own rather desultory attempts to make a film about his own imminent death and funeral, maintaining the public ruse that it's a film about Iranian funeral rites for Japanese television. Formally tame but filled with exhausted bonhomie. Another NYFF straggler. APRIL 20

The Claim
Scarily prolific Brit Michael Winterbottom tosses off yet another one. Peter Mullan and Sarah Polley star in this Faustian Yukon gold-rush drama; Nastassja Kinski and Milla Jovovich try not to ruin too many takes. APRIL 27

Guy Pearce and Carrie-Ann Moss in Memento
photo: Danny Rothenberg
Guy Pearce and Carrie-Ann Moss in Memento

The End of the Road
Deadheads reconsider their life-style on-camera, after violence and overcrowding force the first cancellation of a Grateful Dead show in 30 years (during the summer of 1995). Of course, then Jerry died and turned them all into peace-loving Phishheads. APRIL 27

The Forsaken
A traveler picks up a hitchhiker, and—what else—the guy turns out to be a warrior battling road-tripping vampires. Starring nobody. APRIL 27

The Luzhin Defence
Antonia's Line's Marleen Gorris goes for the international prestige project and adapts Nabokov, with bizarrely cast John Turturro and Stuart Wilson as 1920s European chess masters facing off, and Emily Watson as the love interest. Not Nabokov's best-known novel for a reason. APRIL 27

The Princess and the Warrior
German showboater Tom Tykwer follows up the breakneck Run Lola Run with an ostentatiously languid and ponderously cosmic romance between a psychiatric nurse and a weepy ex-soldier. APRIL 27

Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Shakespeare in Love's John Madden returns with more amour fou, this set on a Greek island during WWII, where Italian officer Nicolas Cage falls for the wife (Penelope Cruz) of local fisherman Christian Bale. Who knows, but the casting and title do not bode well.

Josie and the Pussycats
The prospect of this is like the hot jaws of hell opening and geysering a hundred thousand raw torments upon us. As a Rachael Leigh Cook/ Tara Reid/Rosario Dawson movie, it's enough to shame us all into willow-switch penitence. Here's five-to-one the cartoons prove superior, particularly the music.

The King Is Alive
Dogma 4: A bus breaks down in the middle of an African desert, and a tour group stages King Lear while waiting for the inevitable freakout. The actors—including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Janet McTeer, and Bruce Davison—are alternately humiliated and overindulged.

Maybe Baby
Blackadder vet Ben Elton drives this Brit comedy about ardent couple Joely Richardson and Hugh Laurie trying to conceive a child.

Russian Doll
Wistful rom-com schmaltz from Australia, in which dumped and lonely private dick Hugo Weaving agrees to be the beard and marry his friend's Russian mistress so she can stay in the country. Antics and mush ensue.

With a Friend Like Harry . . .
Beginning as a hilariously claustrophobic portrait of familial tedium and class tension, this French Hitchcock derivative soon devolves into programmatic schlock provocation, as a creepy Pupkin type murderously insinuates him-self into the life of his too-patient childhood friend.


Moulin Rouge
Baz Luhrmann's doubtlessly garish musical is not a remake of John Huston's biopic, but it is set in fin-de-siècle Montmartre—where poet Ewan McGregor falls for courtesan Nicole Kidman—and (in a stroke of genius or madness) features John Leguizamo as Toulouse-Lautrec. MAY 4

Sidewalks of New York
Ed Burns is back with his particularly forgettable brand of trash-talking romance, this time sans ex-squeeze Maxine Bahns and featuring one-time honey Heather Graham. Stanley Tucci and Brittany Murphy round out the cute love stories, which are punctuated by faux street interviews. Let's hope Burns doesn't fall in love with Madonna next. MAY 4

The Man Who Bought Mustique
Documentary about the Scottish lord who bought a Caribbean island and turned it into a stomping ground for the fabulous and filthy rich. MAY 9

The Mummy Returns
Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and director-writer Stephen Sommers are all back, since every movie called The Mummy must by law have a string of increasingly tiresome sequels. MAY 11
Jehane Noujaim and War Room codirector Chris Hegedus follow a new-media company from hubristic start to backstabbing finish. Un-avoidably insufferable protagonists notwithstanding, a patient, crafty piece of verité doc-making. MAY 11

Bread and Roses
Ken Loach goes American, training his distinctive guns on a pair of South American sisters working in L.A. as janitors who decide to unionize. Adrien Brody shows up as a sympathetic West Coaster. If Loach stays at the top of his game, it'll be an L.A. we haven't seen in movies before. MAY 18

Another collegiate melodrama; we hope it's a metamovie wherein the filmmakers explore the impossibility of making a teen genre flick that doesn't plagiarize other teen genre flicks. MAY 18

Petits Frères
Jacques Doillon brings his trademark—naturalistic kid performances—to the banlieu genre with this story of a 13-year-old and her missing pitbull in the Paris projects. MAY 18

The Antz animators return with the tale of a big green swamp ogre. The lineup of voices is impressive (Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz), though that didn't do Titan A.E. any good. MAY 18

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