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MOVIES

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This week's premieres


photo: Continental Films

The Last Samurai (Posledný samuraj) - Action/Drama by Edward Zwick. Nominated for four Academy Awards, most notably a Best Supporting Actor nod for popular Japanese actor Ken Watanabe. Tom Cruise plays Captain Nathan Algren, a hero of the American Civil War enlisted by the Japanese government to train its troops in modern warfare to rid the country of its samurai. But after being taken prisoner by the samurai, Algren begins to understand and appreciate the very culture he was hired to eradicate.


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Big Fish (Veľká ryba) - Drama/Fantasy by Tim Burton. Burton has proven himself over and over to be one of Hollywood's most creative and intriguing filmmakers.


photo: Itafilm

Thus, it was incredibly disappointing when his previous film, a remake of Planet of the Apes - seemingly a perfect choice for a man who blends fantasy, humour, and genuine emotion so beautifully - was so utterly awful. His new film, Big Fish, has been alternately called a return to form and Burton's best film. A young man (Billy Crudup) tries to dig through legend to somehow arrive at the truth about his dying father, Ed Bloom (Albert Finney). Ewan McGregor plays Ed in his younger days, and Alison Lohman and Jessica Lange, respectively, play his wife, young and old.


Mona Lisa Smile (Úsmev Mony Lisy) - Drama by Mike Newell. This Julia Roberts vehicle wears its intentions on its sleeve - a sleeve covering an arm that is repeatedly shoved down your throat. Though its proto-feminist message is well-meaning (you can do something other than be housewives, girls!), in 2004, it comes across more than a trifle old-fashioned. If the film were particularly effective, or if it at least were an accomplished period piece, this would be excusable. Instead, it is a shallow and predictable, if inoffensive, film that begs to be considered important. And though Roberts' character is meant to be as a progressive outsider in the rigid atmosphere of a blue-blooded women's college in the early 1950s, she actually seems more like a 21st century woman awkwardly placed in 1950s America.


Prepared by Jonathan Knapp

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