This week's premieres
Open Range - Western by Kevin Costner. Let's be honest, Costner's fall from grace was no great tragedy. It was never clear how he - slightly less attractive and charming than Gary Cooper - achieved such notoriety in the first place. All the same, there wasn't really that much to dislike per se, apart from his insistence upon making and starring in epic period films that seem to serve no purpose other than trying (and, thankfully, failing) to increase his popularity. Well, with Open Range, which depicts the dangerous world of cattle ranching, he's at it again. But, perhaps he now deserves the benefit of the doubt: at least someone's trying to revive the traditional Western. And any movie that has Robert Duvall in it has at least one good thing going for it.
photo: Continental Film
Lost in Translation (Stratené v preklade) - Comedy/Drama by Sofia Coppola. Though it occasionally resorts to caricature that isn't worthy of the rest of the film's elegant restraint, this love letter to Bill Murray proves that it deserved its hype, or at least most of it. Murray is truly brilliant, equally hilarious and tragic. But, then again, he always is - something that Coppola was clearly aware of when she wrote the script. A slightly bigger surprise is Scarlett Johansson, who proves she is much more than jailbait with gorgeous lips and a husky voice. The fact that she can believably play Murray's less experienced intellectual equal shows that her promising turns in Ghost World and The Man Who Wasn't There were no fluke. Highly recommended.
photo: SPI International
My Boss' Daughter (Šialené rande) - Comedy by David Zucker. The director of such idiotic comedy classics as The Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane!, and The Naked Gun focuses his attention on the zany antics that ensue when a young executive (Ashton Kutcher) agrees to housesit for his boss (Terence Stamp) to try to impress him and win over his daughter (Tara Reid). Expect lots of idiocy and lots of cameos.
Dawn of the Dead (Úsvit mŕtvych) - Horror by Zack Snyder. A remake of George Romero's 1979 masterpiece, which, like its predecessor, Night of the Living Dead, seamlessly combined intense gore with pointed social commentary. This one reportedly tones down the critique and therefore probably doesn't quite live up to the original, but perhaps that's not the point. Starring a whole lot of flesh-eating zombies, Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction), and the always-radiant Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter).
Cheaper by the Dozen (Dvanásť do tucta) - Comedy by Shawn Levy. A group of children run amok when their father (Steve Martin) becomes preoccupied with coaching a college football team and their mother (Bonnie Hunt) goes on a book tour to promote her recently released memoirs. Two of the lovable delinquents are played by popular television stars: Tom Welling, who plays the teenage Superman in Smallville, and Hilary Duff (of the Disney Channel's Lizzie McGuire), who plays a teen pop star in real life.
Prepared by Jonathan Knapp