Rack Focus

Don't Come Knocking (Sony)

Wim Wenders revisits the setting (the American Southwest) and screenwriter (Sam Shepard) of his Paris, Texas with this story of a movie cowboy (Shepard) who walks off his Monument Valley set one day only to find himself quickly entangled in an adventure of his own.


Manderlay (IFC)

Lars von Trier's disappointing follow-up to the masterful Dogville repeats most of the earlier film's formal and political ideas, with diminished results. The second installment in a hopefully aborted trilogy, Manderlay follows Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard, badly miscast in the Nicole Kidman role from Dogville) to the post–Civil War South, where she takes up the task of "liberating" some former slaves. The obvious echoes of Iraq merely pander to von Trier's liberal audience without challenging it—indeed, the whole enterprise feels insular and self-congratulatory, as if von Trier had read the negative reviews of Dogville and decided to make the film described therein.

 
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