This week's premiere
photo: Lion's Gate
Open Water (Otvorené more) - Thriller by Chris Kentis. Though this low-budget, digitally shot movie has drawn comparisons to both Jaws and The Blair Witch Project, it's with the latter that it shares the most. Like Jaws, it has sharks. But its grainy style and the ridiculous hype that accompanied its release make it much closer in quality and in spirit to the disappointing Blair Witch. Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel (Daniel Travis) are a young married couple who retreat to a resort island to try to rekindle their marriage. While scuba diving with a tour boat, they are accidentally left behind. By the time the abandoned divers realise this, the boat is long gone. So the couple must keep each other awake and afloat - a challenge that proves exceedingly difficult as the hours tick away and tempers flare. The biggest obstacle, however, is what lurks beneath them: a whole lot of hungry sharks. Perhaps it's better than Blair Witch, but Jaws can swim circles around it any day.
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (Život a smrť Petra Sellersa) - Drama by Stephen Hopkins. Geoffrey Rush plays the title character in this biopic of the man many consider the greatest comic actor of them all. Anyone who has seen his movies most certainly knows why. Just take Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove: in that one movie, Sellers gave three of the funniest performances ever captured on film. The man was, without a doubt, a genius. But, like so many other geniuses, Sellers constantly struggled to find happiness. The movie also stars Charlize Theron, Emily Watson, and John Lithgow.
Other movies playing
photo: SPI International
Bad Santa (Santa je úchyl) - Comedy by Terry Zwigoff. The perfect antidote to all the schmaltzy feel-good holiday crap that will bombard us in the coming weeks. Billy Bob Thornton's incredibly vulgar and bitter Santa Claus may be shocking to some; the true revelation, though, is how good his performance actually is. He takes a completely unlikable character and makes you love him - even as you cringe at so much of what he says and does. This is ultimately why the movie works so well. But even without Thornton, it still would have been a hell of a good time: Tony Cox, John Ritter, Bernie Mac, Brett Kelly, and Lauren Graham are each a joy to watch.
Man on Fire (Muž v ohni)- Action thriller by Tony Scott. In this remake of the 1987 French/Italian co-production starring Scott Glenn, Denzel Washington stars as Creasy, a jaded former intelligence agent hired to protect Lupita (Dakota Fanning), the young daughter of a wealthy family in Mexico City. Everything seems to be going well until gunmen abduct the girl and leave her bodyguard bleeding to death... or so they think. After recovering, Creasy goes on a bloody rampage, destroying anyone who stands in the way of his quest to retrieve Lupita. This revenge tale also stars B-movie stalwarts Christopher Walken and Mickey Rourke, as well as Australian actress Radha Mitchell and Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini.
Exorcist: The Beginning (Vyháňač diabla: Začiatok) - Horror by Renny Harlin. Though not nearly as good as its reputation would suggest, William Friedkin's The Exorcist stands as a popular classic of the horror genre. It spawned two sequels, countless spoofs, and, for years, a planned prequel. But the whole production seemed doomed: The first planned director, John Frankenheimer, died before shooting started, which then precipitated the exit of star Liam Neeson, who was to play Max von Sydow's Father Merrin role. Paul Schrader then completed the film with the great Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgaard in the lead, but the studio rejected it, reportedly wanting more gore. Enter Renny Harlin, whose previous credits include successful action movies like Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger and box office bombs like Cutthroat Island. Skarsgaard remains in the role of Father Merrin, who comes across a boy possessed by demons while in the wilds of Africa following the second world war. Will he expel the boy's demons? Will the movie overcome its own?
Prepared by Jonathan Knapp
6. Dec 2004 at 0:00