By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
So who's the true genius, Charlie Kaufman or Spike Jonze? We may have the answer after Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine, directed not by Jonze but by Michel Gondry, who did Kaufman's not so wonderful Human Nature. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are a couple who break up and attempt to have their memories of the relationship erased.
Neil Young's oddball movie, shot entirely on Super 8, deals with the travails of an extended family in the fictional American town of Greendale. There's a vague plot involving the shooting of a policeman, but the film is best approached as a feature-length music video, with Young (who directed under the pseudonym Bernard Shakey) employing music and montage as his weapons of choice in this activist cry against Patriot Act-era repression.
This Icelandic festival favorite is a deadpan dramedy, about 10 degrees cooler than Kaurismaki. The title character is an albino genius, but the film is confident enough not to make a show of either peculiarity.
Lars von Trier's Brechtian masterwork stars Nicole Kidman as a mysterious stranger who wanders into the fictional Colorado town of Dogville during the Great Depression. Eschewing sets and locations, von Trier sets the entire film on a single stage with chalk outlines marking streets and buildings. Sure to be one of the year's best films.
Allegedly pushed back because of the Gigli fallout, Kevin Smith's latest isn't even a wholehearted Bennifer picture, given that (spoiler warning!) J.Lo's character croaks in the first reel. Liv Tyler plays Affleck's new love interest. Prescience?
The Coen brothers relocate Alexander Mackendrick's Ealing classic to the Deep South, sprinkling it with gospel music andjudging from the traileroutrageously tasteless waffle jokes. Tom Hanks substitutes camped-up gentility for Alec Guinness's Igor shtick.
MAYOR OF THE SUNSET STRIP
This documentary from George Hickenlooper (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse) tells the story of music publicist/DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, credited with helping bands from the Ramones to Coldplay break through to the American mainstream. This one's full of reminiscences from, among many others, Brian Wilson and David Bowie.
Heath Ledger plays the eponymous 19th-century Australian outlaw. Some have criticized the film's supposedly romantic portrayal of the legendary folk hero, but we're always pleased to see Naomi Watts, even in a supporting role.
NEVER DIE ALONE
Ben Stiller and Jack Black, in the same movie! When Black suddenly gets rich by inventing a spray that makes dog shit evaporate, best friend Stiller becomes consumed by the titular green monster. Barry Levinson directs; Christopher Walken co-stars.
Guillermo del Toro directs this adaptation of Mike Mignola's cult comic books. Ron Perlman, co-star of the Mexican-born director's previous Blade II, will "give evil hell" as the title character, a Nazi-created demon who, his name notwith-standing, now fights for the forces of good.
An NYC-set fable from Iranian-born director Amir Naderi (who scored a triumph with The Runner in 1985), Marathon tells the story of a woman who sets out to complete 77 crossword puzzles in 24 hours while traveling around the city.
Patrice Chéreau follows up Intimacy with this story of the gradual reconciliation between two brothers who find themselves together again when the elder one becomes seriously ill.
SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER . . . AND SPRING
Buddhist parable about growth, humility, and the cyclical nature of life from The Isle director Kim Ki-duk. Absolutely no fishhooks are involved.
Blending documentary and fiction, Albertina Carri's film takes her parents' murder by the Argentine junta as a starting point for questions about the nature of family and memory.
Having divided festival audiences worldwide, the latest provocation from Humanité director Bruno Dumont stars Katia Golubeva and David Wissak as a pair of lovers who travel through the SoCal desert having frequent fights and frequent sex.
Jonathan Demme-directed documentary about Haitian activist and radio journalist Jean Dominique, who was assassinated in 2000.
CONNIE AND CARLA
Some Like It . . . Not: Two lounge singers witness a Mafia bloodbath and flee to L.A., where they get a cabaret job by impersonating drag queens. Starring and written by My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos, with no apparent apologies to Billy Wilder or I.A.L. Diamond.
KILL BILL, VOL. 2
Remind us again why they split this in two?
Another comic book character gets his close-up: Marvel's Charles Bronson (Thomas Jane) takes justice into his own hands after the murder of his family. John Travolta plays the bad guy; Mulholland Drive's Laura Harring (!) plays Travolta's wife.