This week's premieres
photo: Saturn Entertainment
The Village (Osada) - Thriller by M Night Shyamalan. Ever since The Sixth Sense, it seemed as if Hollywood wunderkind Shyamalan could do no wrong - at least in the eyes of the public, the studios, and most mainstream critics. But, come on, he's never been as good as they all claim: He's basically a one-trick pony. Indeed, he does know how to create genuine suspense; he suggests terror very well, both visually and aurally. But his movies rely far too much on his patented twist - when, suddenly, not everything is as it appears. The Sixth Sense was novel, but it suffered from that obnoxious Haley Joel Osment (and too much brooding Bruce Willis). Signs seemed pretty good, until M Night chose to abandon visual (and emotional) restraint. Interestingly, his best film, Unbreakable, is his least celebrated. Of course, it relies on a twist. By now, the twist is not only expected; it's become a joke. And that's precisely what The Village is. Shyamalan deserves respect for trying to make a different sort of film in some ways - he now opts for prescient political allegory - but his by-now clichéd narrative structure is far too distracting. In any case, the film depicts an isolated American village surrounded by demon-filled woods. Normally the demons don't bother the villagers, but that seems to be changing. But, shockingly, not all is as it seems.
Fahrenheit 9/11 - Documentary by Michael Moore. As a work of cinema, truthfully it's not so good. But it's not for nothing that it's by far the most successful documentary in American history. Moore manages to get his hands on some amazing material: hilarious "off-the-record" footage of President Bush and his administration, as well as damning and upsetting evidence of shady goings-on. Is it biased? Is it worth seeing? Is it as good as everyone says it is? Most definitely yes, yes, and no.
Other movies playing
Hellboy - Action by Guillermo del Toro. Ron Perlman stars as Hellboy, a demon summoned from hell by the Third Reich with help from an evil man named Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden). But Hellboy is captured by the Americans, who, through the guidance of Professor Broom (John Hurt), raise him to become a compassionate young demon. All seems well until Rasputin returns, 60 years after the war, to recruit Hellboy for his latest plan to rule the world. Selma Blair also stars.
The Terminal (Terminál) - Comedy by Steven Spielberg. Yet again, Spielberg can't seem to decide what he wants to do.
photo: Continental Film
Kill Bill Vol 2 - Action by Quentin Tarantino. Though it still revels in violence and trash, Volume 2 is quiet and contemplative where Volume 1 was loud and unabashedly shallow. Oh, it's still Tarantino and, as such, made for a very limited audience: himself. It remains brutal, irreverent, and full of too many references to fathom. But it's surprisingly relaxed at points; it seems that Quentin has taken note of the fact that so many of the westerns and samurai movies he loves are as much about silence and open space as they are about anything else. It's much more talky and full of information than the first installment. And, once again, Uma Thurman proves his perfect muse. Well, worth seeing.
Prepared by Jonathan Knapp