This week's premieres
The Stepford Wives(Stepfordské paničky) - Sci-fi comedy by Frank Oz. The 1975 sci-fi thriller that came out of nowhere to become a feminist cult classic gets remade as a campy post-feminist comedy starring Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick. Kidman is Joanna, a successful television executive who decides to take some time off from her hectic career to move to the suburbs with her somewhat boring, somewhat less successful husband Walter (Broderick). Walter immediately loves the calm surroundings and enthusiastically joins the local men's organisation, but Joanna finds herself bored and put off by the monotonous conformity of it all. In fact, the wives of picturesque Stepford all seem a bit too similar, as if they were incapable of thinking and acting for themselves. Hmm... perhaps there's something sinister beneath the surface. Christopher Walken stars as the leader of the men's organisation, and Bette Midler stars as the one woman in Stepford who seems to share Joanna's observations... at least at first.
Other movies playing
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. 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.
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. At times The Terminal seems an attempt at seriously dealing with September 11, while at other times it reaches for (but misses) the kind of absurd, yet warm, humour found in Wes Anderson's films (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums). Tom Hanks is fine as a man who gets stranded indefinitely at New York's JFK airport after his home country (a non-existent Slavic country) crumbles. But the love story with Catherine Zeta Jones is completely pointless. The supporting players - particularly Stanley Tucci, Diego Luna, and Chi McBride - are the most interesting.
photo: Continental Films
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
20. Sep 2004 at 0:00