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Opening Films 

by Inlander Staff


Before Sunset -- A sequel to 1995's Before Sunrise (written with co-stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) has, among its many modest yet grand virtues, that flabbergastingly rare thing -- a generous and (I'll dare to say it) perfect ending. The camera follows 75 minutes of simulated real time, in extended, gliding takes as the pair walk through falling afternoon light on the roundabout back streets of the Latin Quarter. Richard Linklater knows there's grandeur in the smallest of shared, skittery moments. Sharp, funny, and hopeful, Before Sunset is a romantic masterpiece. (RP) Rated: R





De-Lovely -- De-sastrous. The woebegone De-Lovely is homely stodge throughout, with not a single bubble of the "champagne" of Porter's life's work. Director Irwin Winkler alternates between Porter's affairs with young men and his dramatically undeveloped love for wife Linda Lee, played with alarming vapidity by Ashley Judd. The idea that Porter's in love with love is affecting, believable, and lovely, but it's not dramatized. (RP) Rated: PG-13





Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle -- From the makers of Dude, Where's My Car?, an intermittently inspired and often just gross job of making the first munchies road movie. John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg's politically incorrect, homosexual-panic-embracing screenplay is an equal opportunity offender in its pursuit of twentysomething comic touchstones, Sliders, and the perfect rabid raccoon joke. John Cho plays a Korean-American investment banker, and Kal Penn his roommate, an Indian-American slacker whose father insists he go to med school. One smoked-out night gets longer and longer as they prowl the wilds of the Garden State for the one perfect food, meeting all manner of weirdoes along the way, including Neil Patrick Harris on X. (RP) Rated: R





The Manchurian Candidate -- Like the original film from four decades ago, this looks at war (Korean then, Desert Storm now), a returning war hero with political aspirations, bad dreams, a governmental conspiracy, a problematic relationship between a weak man and his strong mother, and a great deal of paranoia. It all revolves around the possibility of terrorism from within, and it's well played by Denzel Washington (nervously) and Liev Schrieber (creepily). Meryl Streep's domineering mom gives Angela Lansbury (who played the original) a run for her money. (ES) Rated R





Metallica: Some Kind of Monster -- This doc's makers, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, spent two years of their lives and $4.5 million of Metallica's money following the veteran heavy-metal band through recording an album and preparing to tour, capturing much bickering, many meltdowns and a couple of regroupings along the way. (The drama includes the near-year lead guitarist James Hetfield spent in rehab.) In 140 graceful, gratifying minutes, the filmmakers manage to transform the comical doings of sheltered millionaires -- something of a miracle. It's patiently observed, lovingly patient, and beautifully structured. (RP) Not Rated





Thunderbirds -- The old TV show from the '60s featured a family of marionettes who flew around in clunky machines, rescuing people from all kinds of disasters. But they wouldn't be able to save this pile of hooey. The first mistake was focusing the story on kids instead of adults (who are trapped in space). The second was hiring kids whose entire repertoire of acting skill is presenting a big, wide smile. The third was accepting a dull, poorly written script. The whole ordeal is more wooden than the original puppets. (ES) Rated PG





The Village -- Even if my expectations weren't low, I think I would have been happily shocked by the rude alchemy of M. Night Shyamalan's latest puzzle-box. Some early viewers have felt cheated, but I was pleased with how the strands of the story resolved neatly -- though not without great resonance about the dangers of fear and isolationism. (RP) Rated: PG-13





Publication date: 07/27/04

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