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Opening Films 

by Inlander Staff


The Grudge -- A ghost or a curse or some such does bad things to anyone who enters a serene house in Tokyo, where Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) has taken a job caring for a dementia-riddled woman. Things go wrong and get worse for our heroine and everyone around her. But the filmmakers don't dole out enough information about what the hell is going on. It's scary, due to lots of visual shockeroos and creepy sounds. But in the end, even with all kinds of explanations, nothing much makes sense. (ES) Rated PG-13





I [Heart] Huckabees -- I don't know if I like I [Heart] Huckabees, but big chunks of this mad philosophical trampoline act I simply love, and the last half hour finds an almost serene equipoise as it completes its buoyant mosaic of unlikely comic and philosophical conceits. Yes, the movie asks big questions, and among the confused are Jason Schwartzman, Lily Tomlin, goofy Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Isabelle Huppert, the radiant Naomi Watts, and a tender, funny Mark Wahlberg. (RP) Rated: R





Libby, Montana -- Up until now, Missoula-based filmmakers Drury Gunn Carr and Doug Hawes-Davis have focused their efforts on small subjects (coyotes) and amusing folks (those who camp in Wal-Mart parking lots). But with their latest, Libby, Montana, the sense of scale has been redefined. It's not solely the film's length (two and a half hours) that gives it its gravitas, it's the film's depth and pace, the hundred hours of tape collected, the fantastic archival footage and the labor-of-love quality that primary director and editor Carr instills in the work. Even viewers unfamiliar with Libby's asbestos nightmare and the W.R. Grace company's corporate cover-up will find themselves empathizing with the townspeople - activist Gayla Benefield, EPA coordinator Paul Peronard and widow Alice Priest to name a few. (Jed Gottlieb) Not Rated. Showing at the Met Cinema on Oct. 24 and 25 at 3 pm, 5:30 pm and 8 pm)





Surviving Christmas -- Hit and miss -- mostly miss -- affair about a rich, selfish Chicago adman (unfunny Ben Affleck) renting a family for the holidays, including James Gandolfini, the always-brilliant Catherine O'Hara and a fetching Christina Applegate. There are some dark laughs, but it's mostly a sleigh-crash of contrivance. (RP) Rated: PG-13





Bottle Rocket -- Nothing is funnier than good guys who want to be bad, especially when they're horribly bad at doing so. Dignan and Anthony (Owen and Luke Wilson) want to shed the shackles of their relaxed, suburban lives by becoming ruthless criminals - and they take a stab at criminal life by pulling off the most innocent of robberies: a bookstore. Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson's debut film and the first starring the Wilson Brothers, exudes that so-awkward-it's-hilarious humor that has become so typical of Anderson's films, and features the Wilson brothers at their pre-popular finest. (Leah Sottile) Rated: R (Showing at midnight on Friday and Saturday night at the Garland)





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 narrative. Some early viewers have felt cheated, but I was pleased with how the strands of the story resolved neatly, resonant with the dangers of fear and isolationism. (RP) Rated: PG-13





Publication date: 10/21/04

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