Vision Quest

Get your avant-garde fix with plenty of experimental cinema this season


Hard Candy
April 14

With a titular euphemism that only a pedophile could love, music video director David Slade makes his foray into the arena of the full-length feature, naturally with a thriller about a thirtysomething trolling for teens on the Internet. Concession stand sales of "Tiny Tarts" should plummet.

Make the choice to check out Bill Brand's 1979 
Split Decision
photo: Anthology Film Archives
Make the choice to check out Bill Brand's 1979 Split Decision

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  • Faust Things First
    A mammoth production of the epic verse gets a stateside staging
    by Michael Feingold

  • Don't Call It Noise Music
    Japanese metal bands summon power and energy from the '70s
    by Zach Baron

  • To Serve and Protect: A Freestyle Series Rumbles On
    by Jim Macnie

  • Wonder Women
    A season of old masters, Gumby, biomorphs, and cell phones
    by R.C. Baker

  • A Mechanized Culture and its Equally Mechanical Population Meet
    by Carla Blumenkranz

  • Tweaking Their Legacies: Composers Reinvent Themselves
    by Leighton Kerner

  • Dancing in Your Sleep: Label Microcosm Calms the Nerves
    by Tricia Romano

  • Postmodern Pioneer: The Next Generation
    Bokaer gets physical, digital, and naked
    by Elizabeth Zimmer
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    Look Both Ways
    April 14

    Veteran animator Sarah Watt has been making her hand-painted shorts for 15 years, but this part-live-action, part-animated dramedy about love and death in contemporary Australia is her feature debut. Train crashes, surprise pregnancies, testicular cancer, and man-eating sharks abound, but none is more traumatic than love.


    The Notorious Bettie Page
    April 14

    Before she was enshrined as a national treasure at Hot Topics all over this great land, Bettie Page was a scandalous pinup model, the topic (hot, or otherwise) of this new biopic by director Mary Harron (American Psycho).


    Scary Movie 4
    April 14

    Airplane! and Top Secret! director David Zucker took over for the Wayans Brothers with the series' third installment and, for this entry, he reteams with old writing partner Jim Abrahams for this first time since 1988's The Naked Gun. This horror spoof also introduces a new comedy team to rival greats like Abbott and Costello and Martin and Lewis: Dr. Phil and Shaq.


    American Dreamz
    April 21

    Writer-director Paul Weitz follows his underrated corporate culture comedy In Good Company with an even more ambitious social satire, in which a dim-witted President of the United States (Dennis Quaid) looks to up his approval ratings by appearing as a guest judge on the titular (and blatantly American Idol–like) television singing competition.


    The Sentinel
    April 21

    In a movie that was almost certainly pitched as In the Line of Fire meets The Fugitive, Michael Douglas does his best Clint Eastwood as a loyal Secret Service agent framed for a crime he didn't commit, while Kiefer Sutherland is the Tommy Lee Jones forced to track him down when he cheeses it and goes on the lam.


    Wassup Rockers
    April 21

    Kids, get those fake ID's ready for your local art house: Larry Clark's back. In truth, the word from the Toronto FF (where Rockers premiered) is that Clark scaled back his characteristically icky kiddie-porn tendencies and crafted a heartfelt mash note to iconoclastic South Central Latino teens who skew punk rather than G-funk.


    Art School Confidential
    April 28

    In this highlight of the spring, Ghost World collaborators Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes reunite for a hilariously brutal excoriation of the art world. The standout among the thoroughly superb ensemble is John Malkovich, who plays a mealymouthed art professor who's spent decades refining his circular (i.e., he draws circles) technique.


    Clean
    April 28

    Olivier Assayas's new film finds the Irma Vep director reunited with his ex-wife and Vep vixen Maggie Cheung in a story of drugs, rock 'n' roll and redemption. Cheung gives a potent performance as a Courtney Love–like widow struggling to get clean and a surprisingly not-deranged Nick Nolte plays her conflicted father-in-law.


    Flight 93
    April 28

    This real-time account of the events on the only plane hijacked on 9-11 that didn't reach its intended target comes from Brit Paul Greengrass, who has made several docudramas and one of the smartest American action films in recent memory, The Bourne Supremacy.


    Changing Times
    May 5

    Resisting the temptation to find the latest nubile French ingenue, match her with a rakish, undiscovered garçon, strip them down, and let them frolic among the hyacinths, André Téchiné reunites Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve for the seventh time, with Depardieu's character looking to rekindle a 30-year-old romance with a now married Deneuve.


    Mission: Impossible III
    May 5

    Is it a new movie or the code name of Tom Cruise's publicists' attempts to alleviate his dude-is-crazy persona? Probably both, but if anything can revitalize this stalled franchise it's the writing and direction of J.J. Abrams, whose Alias is probably the best spy show on television since the original Mission: Impossible.


    The Proposition
    May 5

    Nick Cave and longtime cinematic collaborator John Hillcoat reunite for this grisly tale of outback outlaws that's straight out of Cave's Murder Ballads. The full-throated troubadour pens and scores this sun-soaked horse opera about two barbarous brothers (Guy Pearce and Danny Huston) pitted against each other in the Australian badlands by lawman Ray Winstone.


    Wah-Wah
    May 5

    Richard E. Grant, character actor and author of the hilarious memoir With Nails, makes his debut as writer-director with an autobiographical drama that deals with divorce, alcoholism, and Swaziland gaining its independence from England. Could be good, if Grant paid attention while on set with Scorsese, Coppola, or Altman.


    Goal!
    May 12

    With the fake World Cup a foregone conclusion (Dominican Republic wins every game in the "World Baseball Classic" by 843 runs, watch), real sports fans will be hankering for some cinematic excitement before the real deal in June. The dream of a movie about soccer better that Stallone's Victory begins here, or maybe with Arsenal striker Thierry Henry's cameo in Spike Lee's Inside Man.


    Just My Luck May 12

    After a year that found Lindsay Lohan battling allegations of drug use and bulimia, the actress selected the role of a woman who finds her lifelong string of great luck broken after a single kiss. Wilmer Valderrama, you have a lot to answer for.

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