Here's a selection of new movies on DVD for April, 2006.
Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche star in this unconventional
family drama based on Myla Goldberg's novel. Saul (Gere) is a religious studies
professor with a special interest in the Kabbalah. When his 11-year-old daughter
Eliza turns out to have a mystical gift for spelling, Saul focuses on developing
her talent, and she wins a series of bees. Meanwhile, Saul's wife (Binoche) behaves
strangely and their teenage son gets involved with Hare Krishna. As Eliza becomes
increasingly successful, the family begins to fall apart.
Starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, this melancholy
drama about forbidden love was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three,
including Best Director (Ang Lee). Set in Wyoming and Texas, the story opens in
1963 and spans two decades. Ennis (Ledger) and Jack (Gyllenhaal) are rugged ranch
hands who fall hard for each other. Nevertheless, both men take wives and father
children. Still, Ennis and Jack get together off and on over the years, and as
their marriages sour, they struggle with their feelings.
Cheadle, Matt Dillon, and Sandra Bullock are among the actors in this drama centering
around the theme of racism. A black police detective (Cheadle) and his Latina
girlfriend (Jennifer Esposito) have a car accident. A racist white cop (Dillon)
gets into a hassle with an African-American HMO administrator. The D.A.'s wife
(Bullock) has her S.U.V. stolen at gunpoint by black thugs (one of whom is played
by Ludacris). These and other interconnected incidents are used to explore racial
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
the book by C.S. Lewis, this is a family-friendly movie. During World War II,
four British kids discover that a wardrobe in the house where they're staying
is a portal to an alternate world called Narnia. That world, which is ruled by
the evil White Witch (Tilda Swinton), is inhabited by fantastic creatures. The
kids have marvelous adventures in Narnia and try to set things right there with
the help of a lion named Aslan (voice of Liam Neeson), who sacrifices himself
and is resurrected.
humorous little film takes place in the Hasidic community of modern-day Jerusalem.
The main characters are Moshe and Malli, a married couple. They are so poor they
can't afford to build a sukkah, the temporary shelter their religion requires
them to move into during the festival of Sukkot. But their immediate problems
seem solved when both a sukkah and some money unexpectedly come their way. Then
two criminals on the lam show up, and Moshe and Malli feel obligated to welcome
them as guests during Sukkot.
With Dick and Jane
Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni star in this comedy,
an update of the 1977 film starring George Segal and Jane Fonda. This time around,
Dick (Carrey) gets promoted to a top position at Globodyne and his wife Jane (Leoni)
quits her job to spend more time with their son. Then Globodyne implodes like
Enron did, and Dick and Jane can't find new jobs. With debts mounting, they begin
to pull off robberies, starting small before moving up to bigger things. Alec
Baldwin and Richard Jenkins appear as corrupt Globodyne executives.
Greatest Game Ever Played
Based on a true story, this movie is about
golf, and the title refers to the 1913 U.S. Open. The main character is Francis
Ouimet (Shia Labeouf), a working-class 20-year-old Massachusetts resident who
was unknown when he entered that tournament. He faced stiff competition, especially
from British golfers, particularly the great Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane). But
competing in the Open accompanied by his 10-year-old caddy, Ouimet became something
of a folk hero and changed American golf forever.
Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Lopez star
in this drama, which was directed by Lasse Hallström. Einar Gilkyson (Redford)
owns a ranch where he lives with Mitch Bradley (Freeman), who was badly injured
when he was mauled by a bear. Then one day Einar's estranged daughter-in-law Jean
(Lopez) moves in, bringing her daughter, which gives Einar an opportunity to get
to know his granddaughter. But trouble arises when the bear that attacked Mitch
resurfaces, as does Jean's abusive boyfriend.
This gruesome horror movie is loosely based on the real-life
Backpack Killer murders. Three 20-somethingstwo British gals and a guy from
Sydneytravel around Australia in an old car and end up in remote Wolf Creek
National Park. They go on a hike and return to their car to discover it won't
start. A rugged outback type shows up and takes them to his camp, and that's where
the grisly torture begins. Soon the young travelers find themselves fighting for
their lives against a psychopathic killer.
and directed by Neil Jordan, this offbeat film is based on the novel by Patrick
McCabe. The central character is a transvestite called Kitten (Cillian Murphy).
Abandoned as a baby, Kitten is brought up in a strict foster home in Ireland.
But from an early age, he dresses in drag and wears lipstick, and as a young man
he goes to London in the 1970's in search of his mother. Kitten's quest leads
him through a quirky series of adventures, including a stint as a street prostitute,
but he always remains optimistic.
horror movie is about two American college pals (Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson)
who are backpacking Europe with a guy from Iceland. These three young men seek
drugs and sex, and they hear of a hostel in Bratislava, Slovakia, where the women
are crazy about foreigners. The guys go there and meet two attractive young women.
But soon the Icelander goes missing, and the Americans find they have stumbled
into a bizarre business where customers pay to torture and kill people.
Judi Dench received a Best Actress Oscar nomination
for her portrayal of the title character in this fact-based British period piece.
In the late 1930's, Mrs. Henderson opens the Windmill Theatre in Soho, hiring
Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins) to help her stage revues there. During World War
II, her theater became famous for nude women appearing in artistic tableaux vivants.
The Windmill was also celebrated for its refusal to close during the Blitz. But
the movie's strength is that Dench creates a memorable character.
Charlize Theron stars in this sci-fi adventure movie based on
an animated series that aired on MTV. The film is set in 2415, four centuries
after a virus wiped out most of the world's population. Civilization has survived
in a single walled city ruled by Trevor Goodchild and his brother. Also, there
are rebels, Aeon Flux (Theron) among them, and the rebel leader sends Aeon in
to assassinate Goodchild. But when Aeon sees her target, she experiences emotions
and memories that move the story off in a curious direction.
Ledger plays the title role in this silly comedy that is sketchily inspired by
the renowned historical lothario. The movie is set in 1753 Venice, where the Doge
decrees Casanova must get married and settle down. He sets his sights on Francesca
(Sienna Miller), who is the kind of woman who dons men's clothing so she can participate
in a sword fight. But Francesca is betrothed to an obese man known as the Lard
King of Genoa. Meanwhile, the Inquisition sends Bishop Pucci (Jeremy Irons) to
go after Casanova.
Although written and directed by Woody Allen and featuring some
humor, the overarching tone of this film is quite serious. In London, Chris (Jonathan
Rhys Meyers) is the tennis pro at an exclusive club, where he meets Tom (Matthew
Goode) of the wealthy Hewett family. While Chris falls hard for Tom's girlfriend
Nola (Scarlett Johansson), he marries Tom's sister (Emily Mortimer) and goes to
work for Tom's father (Brian Cox). Chris likes his comfortable life with the Hewetts,
but his attraction to Nola leads to tragedy.
from Steve Martin's novella, this drama stars Claire Danes and Steve Martin. Mirabelle
(Danes) is an emotionally vulnerable young woman who is a salesclerk at Saks in
L.A. She meets and goes out with the socially awkward Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman),
but that doesn't work out too well for her. Then the sophisticated, wealthy, middle-aged
Ray (Martin) buys some gloves from her, and they begin dating. Although Ray treats
Mirabelle extremely well, he doesn't want a committed relationship, leading to
a bittersweet ending.
This epic is set in the Dark Ages. Ireland is united under
a king, who also rules England, which is inhabited by rival squabbling tribes.
However, Lord Marke (Rufus Sewell) seeks to unify England and free it from Irish
rule. Marke raises as his own an orphan named Tristan (James Franco), who ends
up in Ireland badly wounded. He's nursed back to health by the Irish king's daughter
Isolde (Sophia Myles), and they fall deeply in love with each other. But their
fathers are enemies, and the fates of many people are at stake.
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