Crouching Pussycats, Hidden Gems

Moviegoers Avoid Big-Budget Pitfalls

Our Song
Three best girlfriends, one hot summer in Brooklyn—Jim McKay's second film has been likened to none other than Olivier Assayas's coming-of-age benchmark Cold Water. MAY 23

Pearl Harbor
What, now Michael Bay wants an Oscar? He certainly wants to be James Cameron, turning the eponymous attack into a Titanic-sized romance and trying to one-up From Here to Eternity in the process. MAY 28

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
New Woody, for anyone who still cares. Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd, Charlize Theron, and Elizabeth Berkley evidently do.

Fast Food Fast Women
Depressing-cute New York indie Amos Kolleck hits the bricks again, essaying loneliness and missed connections between Jamie Harris (Jared's brother), Lonette McKee, Mark Margolis, Louise Lasser, and others.

Himalaya
The directorial debut of National Geographic photographer Eric Valli (and the first Nepalese entry for the foreign-language Oscar) uses a mostly nonpro cast to depict a power struggle in a Tibetan mountain village.

The Road Home
Zhang Yimou continues in sentimental neorealist mode, with this tale of a peasant girl (Crouching Tiger's Zhang Ziyi) and her utter devotion to the local schoolmaster.

What's the Worst That Could Happen?
A Donald Westlake novel about an argument over a lucky ring between a wealthy schmo (Danny DeVito) and the burglar that tries to rip him off (Martin Lawrence) gets the aim-low, pay-per-view treatment, complete with William Fichtner and Nora Dunn stealing scenes.


SPRING

Born Romantic
Yet another intersecting-multithread relationship movie—do they teach these in scriptwriting seminars?—by Brit newcomer/Three Coins in the Fountain fan David Kane, and starring Jane Horrocks, Olivia Williams, Catherine McCormack, Craig Ferguson (not on the writing team, thank God), Adrian Lester, and, briefly, Ian Hart.

Just Visiting
For the English-language remake of a 1993 French hit, Jean Reno reprises his role as a nobleman transported from 12th-century France to present-day Chicago; Christina Applegate and Tara Reid are somehow embroiled.

Ring of Fire
The Johnny Cash tune presumably gets trotted out again, in this rodeo-circuit comedy written by James ("son of Robert") Redford. Daryl Hannah, Molly Ringwald, and Kiefer Sutherland try to recapture the '80s.

The Third Wheel
A first date is ruined when a homeless man tags along. With Luke Wilson, Denise Richards, and—together again under the Miramax banner—Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Wakin' Up in Reno
Or Kalifornia 2? Billy Bob Thornton and Charlize Theron are crazy in love, but married respectively to Natasha Richardson and Patrick Swayze. As people in movies are wont to do, they all go on a long car trip together. (And then, we presume, Juliette Lewis shoots them all dead.)


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