2003 Master Alphabetical List of All Films Watched

In 2003 I watched a total of 480 films.

My Top 10 films for 2003  (expanded for 10 fiction films, 1 tv movie, and 3 documentaries)

1.   Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2.   Angels in America: Millenium Approaches 
3.   Capturing the Friedmans
4.   Irreversible
5.   My Life Without Me
6.   My Flesh and Blood 
7.   Kamchatka
8.   American Splendor
9.   The Secret Life of Dentists
10. The Barbarian Invasions
11. A Little Bit of Freedom
12. Prisoner of Paradise
13. 21 Grams
14. School of Rock

Links are to longer reviews on site.  All ratings based on 4 stars best.  A film defined as 70 min.+  visual event.  
(V) =  TV, Video or DVD    ( +) = repeat viewing      (WO)= walked out  (AFF)  Academy foreign film entry

10 (d. Abbas Kiarostami) Ten vignettes of lady cab driver & her passengers (including her son).  Static camera, droning voices. I snoozed.  * 1/2
100 MILE RULE (d. Brent Huff) Caper film about a salesman at a conference who is entrapped into an illicit affair.  *** 1/4
11'9''01  (France doc. d. various)  11 short films by various directors based on 9/11.  Mostly a waste of celluloid.  ** 1/2
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS  (d. John Stockman)  Great action & sound; but the longest 65 minutes of  repetitive testosterone tweaking ever.  * 3/4
21 GRAMS (d. Alejandro Gonzálas Iñárritu) Art film about love & dying with a choppy non-linear narrative & some great acting by all involved.  *** 1/2
23  (Germany  d.  Hans-Christian Schmid) True life story of youg German hackers who provide crucial passwords to the Russians.  ***
28 DAYS LATER (d. Danny Boyle) DV looked terrible, but story gripped and terrific visuals. Cillian Murphy, so great in Disco Pigs, is hot!  ***
800 BULLETS (d. Alex de la Iglesia)  Comedy moden day homage to spaghetti Westerns & their genre.  Funny, poignant.  *** 1/2
(d. Umit Unal)  Turkey AFF.  Docudrama. Videotaped interrogation of 6 suspects in murder rape.  ** 1/2
ABOUNA  (d. Mahamet Saleh Haroun) Chad AFF.  Two young brothers and their trials finding their father.  ** 
ADVENTURES OF SEBASTIAN COLE, THE  (d. Tod Williams) V. Coming of age/disfunctional family story nicely, if eliptically realized. Adrian Grenier! ** 3/4
AFTERLIFE (d. Alison Peebles) Affecting drama: ambitious man forced to care for Down's Syndrome sister. Tear jerker, never goes over the top.  *** 1/4
AIME TON PERE (d. Jacob Berger) Swiss AFF. High gloss road picture about Literature Nobelist and his estranged son.  *** 1/4
ALEX & EMMA  (d. Rob Reiner) Romantic comedy. A novelist & a steno who are writing and acting out a novel. A real turkey, both novel and script.  *
ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL (d. W.R. Fassbinder) V. Indictment of conformest, xenophobic German character; old woman marries nice young Moroccan.  ***
ALL OVER THE GUY (d. Julie Davis)+ V. One of the better gay films...bittersweet romantic comedy which has the ring of truth and originality.  *** 1/4
ALL THE REAL GIRLS (d. David Gordon Green) Appalachian love story; poetry of the ordinary. Schneider & Deschanel are great.  *** 1/2
AN ALMOST ORDINARY STORY  (d. Milos Petricic) Romantic comedy about a couple who may or may not be fated to marry.  ** 3/4
ALMOST PEACEFUL (d. Michael Deville) Post WWII Jews trying to return to normal life in Paris dressmaking atelier.  Gentle, pastoral, slow.  ** 3/4
ALQUIMISTA IMPACIENTE, EL (d. Patricia Ferreira)  Thriller/policier...lurid murder of a nuclear plant worker.  ** 3/4
AMEN (d. Costa-Gavras) Shattering Holocaust drama from pov of conscientious SS Lt. and an Italian priest with the ear of the pope.  *** 1/2
AMERICAN COUSINS (d. Don Coutts) The mob (Ukraine and New Jersey versions) come to Glasgow.  **
AMERICAN RHAPSODY, AN  (d. Éva Gárdos) V. Maladjustment of child of Hungarian emigres. Well acted, subtle, true to '50s & a little stolid.  ** 3/4
AMERICAN SPLENDOR  (US  d. Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini) Clever biopic/documentary about Harvey Pekar, comix writer.  *** 3/4
AND NOW...LADIES AND GENTLEMEN  (France  d. Claude Lelouch)  Fine, lush melodrama about a jewel thief & a chanteuse each with memory blackouts.  ***
ANGELA (Italy  d. Roberta Torre) Slow, impressionistic drama based on the true story of a drug running family in Sicily-a torrid love triangle.  ** 3/4
ANGELS IN AMERICA:  PARESTROIKA V. Uneven...some parts superlative, some long political speeches I phased out. I'm in lust with Patrick Wilson. *** 1/2
ANGELS IN AMERICA: MILLENIUM APPROACHES (d. Mike Nichols) V. Superb adaptation, utterly absorbing, fabulous acting.  Great tv.  ****
ANGER MANAGEMENT (d. Peter Segal) Star power. Nicholson mugs & Sandler is quite fine. Embarrassingly bad script & even worse direction!  * 1/4
ANGST (d. Oskar Roehler) Drama about a failing marriage, he has sex problems, she's an hysteric.  Well acted, if over-the-top, hard to watch.  ** 1/2
ANIMATRIX  (US/JAPAN  d.  Various)  9 animated shorts from the Matrix universe.  Some better than others.  ** 3/4
ANYTHING ELSE (d. Woody Allen) A failure. Occasionally funny romantic comedy; but Allen's dialog seems false coming from 20-somethings.  ** 1/4
ARCHANGEL'S FEATHER, THE (d. Louis Manzo) Venezuela AFF.  Allegory, maybe about Archangel Gabriel vs. Big Brother..  ** 3/4
ARDILLA ROJA, LA (d. Julio Medem 1993)  Romantic thriller about a man's fascination with an amnesiac woman.  ***
ARO TOLBUKHIN, EN LA MENTE DEL ASESINO (d. Agusti Villaronga etc.) Faux documentary about mass murderer in Guatemala.  **
ASSASSINATION TANGO (d. Robert Duvall) Thriller on valium.  Duvall is a fine actor; but lousy writer/director from this film.  * 3/4
AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE, L'  (France-Spain  d. Cedfric Klapisch) Crowd pleasing comedy about a young Frenchman's defining school year in Barcelona.  ***
AUTUMN SPRING  (d. Vladimir Michátek) Czech comedy/drama about an old couple.  Academy bait...so why did Czechoslavakia nominate another film?  ***
BAD BOYS II (d. Michael Bay) A new morally reprehensible low for the Hollywood mega-violent film.  Only Jordi Molla, a kick-ass baddy is worth it.  0*
BAD GUY (S. Korea d. Kim Ki-duk) Circular, confusing story: ruthless pimp subjugates a college girl & makes her into a cooperative prostitute.  ** 3/4
BAD SANTA  (d. Terry Zwigoff) Funny, profane, wonderfully perverse comedy about group of innately bad losers. Kid who could see no evil was great!  ***
BANDE À PART (d. Jean-Luc Goddard) V.  A '60s version of the gang who couldn't shoot straight, a cockeyed noir which holds up well.  ***
BARBARIAN INVASIONS, THE (d. Denys Arcand) Art film about love and dying, literate script, excellent ensemble acting, enormously moving  *** 1/2
BARBARIAN INVASIONS, THE  (d. Denys Arcand) + Worth a 2nd viewing, just for the philosophy.  *** 3/4
BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS (d. Potelle & Rankin) Indispensible companion to Proj Greenlight. Shia Lebeuf incredible, movie better than expected.  ** 3/4
BEHIND THE RED DOOR (d. Matia Karrell) (V)  Showtime Aids drama.  Kyra and Kiefer are 2 of my least favorite actors.  * 1/2
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (d. Gurinder Chadha) Feel good Indian girl's soccer story set in Britain. Predictable script saved by fine direction.  ***
BENEDICT ARNOLD: QUESTION OF HONOR  (d. Mikael Salomon)  (V)  A&E historical movie.  Unwatchably bad.   WO
BERGA:  SOLDIERS OF ANOTHER WAR (d. Charles Guggenheim) (V) docu. on valium about American WWII  POWs.  ** 1/4
BEST OF TIMES, THE (d. Chang Tso-Chi) Taiwan AFF.  Family drama, kitchen sink style.  *** 1/2
BETTER LUCK TOMORROW (d. Justin Lin) Well directed, but confusing, Asian-American teenage gang film...only the actors looked too old.  ** 1/2
BETWEEN LAND AND SKY (d. Guiseppe Feruto ) Italian political satire about media overkill.  ** 1/2
BHAJI ON THE BEACH (d. Gurinder Chadha) V. Chadha handles ensembles well; but this Indian woman's lib story was clichéd and obvious.  **
BIG EMPTY, THE  (d. Steve Anderson) Mixed genre.  Is it a noir? Alien abduction flick? Black comedy? An honorable failure at all three.  **
BIG FISH (d. Tim Burton) Story of fabulist (convincingly played by Ewan McGregor & Albert Finney). Burton's most appealing and "normal" film.  ***
BLACK ICE  (d. Mikhail Brashinsky) Incoherent film about something or other.  Jittery camera and unengaging plot were too much to stick around.  W/O
BLESSING BELL, THE   (Japan  d. Sabu)  A formally beautiful, but boring, slow paced day in the life.  ***
BLUE CAR (d. Karen Moncrieff) Viscerally disturbing story-troubled teenage girl and troubled broken family. Understated, with subtle acting.  *** 1/2
BLUE MOON  (Austria   d. Andrea Maria Dusi)  Road picture about a man on a quest to re-find a woman he meets by chance.  ** 1/4
BLUES, THE  (d. various) PBS series edited down to 5 ahortened sequences about the blues music.  Some sequences worked, some didn't.  ** 3/4
BON VOYAGE  (d. Jean-Paul Rappeneau) Big French WWII melodrama, hugely entertaining & wellmade throwback to old-fashioned classic French cinema. *** 1/4
BONAERENSE, EL  (Argentina/Chile  d.  Pablo Trapero) Naive country bumpkin makes good in the big city police department.  ** 3/4
BORN RICH (d. Jamie Johnson) V. Doc by millionaire heir about his wealthy contemporaries. Mostly talk; but inherently interesting & well made.  *** 1/4
BROKEN WINGS  (d. Nir Bergman) Israel AFF.  Drama about family riven by grief after father's death.  *** 1/4
BROTHER BEAR  (d. Blaise, Walker) Traditional Disney animation with overly simplistic amerind legend theme. Still, I was move. Good kid film.  ** 3/4
BRUNO (d. Shirley MacLaine) V.  Limp, soppy comedy - 8 year old spelling genius boy (phenom kid actor Alex Linz) who needs to compete in a dress. * 3/4
BUBBA HO-TEP (d. Don Coscarelli) Horror comedy in an old-folks home:  Elvis & JFK take on an Egyptian mummy.  Silly fun.  ** 3/4
BUDDY (d. Marten Tyldum) Young guy turns his & 2 eccentric roommates liver into a commercially successful video journal.  Touching, fun comedy.  ***
BUFFALO SOLDIERS (US d. Gregor Jordan) Glossy, high-budget, somewhat over-the-top satire about army corruption in German occupation in '89.  *** 1/2
BULGARIAN LOVERS (d. Eloy de la Iglesia) Tongue in cheek drama about a straight Bulgarian expat in Madrid taking advantage of a gay Spaniard. ** 1/4
BURNING IN THE WIND  (d. Silvio Soldini)  Bleak but well acted story of East Euro life transported into France along with ill-fated love  ***.
BUTTERFLY, THE  (France  d. Philippe Muyl)  Sappy, Kolya type drama about old butterfly collector & the little girl who runs away with him.  ** 1/2
CABALLERO DON QUIXOTE, EL  (d. Manuel Gutierrez Aragon) Boring sequel to Don Quixote.  * 3/4
CA-BAU-KAN (d. Nia Dinata) Indonesia AFF.  Historical drama about a beautiful pleasure girl who marries a shady businessman.  * 1/2
LA CAJA 507 (d. Enrique Urbizu)  Thriller about a meek bank director who gets involved in a huge Mafia inspired international conspiracy.  ** 3/4
CAMP  (US  d. Todd Graff)  Aimiable, but predictable (we've seen it before), musical comedy about a summer camp for budding entertainers.  ** 1/2
CAMP  (d. Todd Graff) + Just hits me squarely in my wheelhouse. 2nd viewing confirms its cleverness & skills of the cast despite inherent clichés.  ***
CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS  (US doc.  d. Andrew Jarecki)  A great documentary which peels the layers off of a family's secrets & justice mislaid.  ****
CASA DE LOS BABYS  (d. John Sayles) Intermittently interesting Mexican baby mill story, unexpectedly flawed by a poorly structured script.  **
CHARLIE'S ANGELS FULL THROTTLE (d. McG)  Some inventive stuff, though the CGI was cheesy; but ultimately tedius and familiar action thriller.  ** 1/4
CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES (d. Eric Byler) 4 Asian-American characters and their tangled relationships.  Haunting, eliptical, subtle, well played.  *** 1/4
CHINESE ODYSSEY: 2002  (Hong Kong  d. Jeff Lau)  Funny and assured satire of a martial arts, Chinese Emperor's court film.  *** 1/4
  (d. Jean-Pierre Melville) 1970 noir, typical Melville which means lean and taut.  Montand & Delon great.  *** 1/4
CITY OF GHOSTS (d. Matt Dillon) Pseudo Graham Greene. Stifling atmosphere well done, as were characterizations. Story falls down.  Good try.  ** 1/4
CLAY BIRD, THE (d. Tareque Masud) Bangladesh AFF.  A family uprooted by political upheaval in '68.  ** 3/4
COAST GUARD, THE  (d. Kim Ki-duk) Overwrought drama about the soldiers who guard the Korean coastline from spy incursions.  Way over the top.  * 3/4
COLD MOUNTAIN (d. Anthony Minghella) Fine production, good acting, but the "well made" story was too predictable. Jude Law is a bonafide star. ***
COMPANY, THE (d. Robert Altman) Little narrative, lots of good dancing. Neve impresses, and James Franco underplays to splendid effect.  *** 1/4
CONDOR: AXIS OF EVIL (d. Rodrigo Vasquez) A doc linking the U.S. to South American dictators and disappearances of the '70s.  Too unstructured.  ** 1/4
CONFIDENCE (d. James Foley) Foley has style to burn.  Too bad he didn't burn this derivative script. Why I like Ed Burns is the question.  ** 1/2
CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE (d. John Deery) Ernest, polemic drama: celebacy and the Catholic church. Nice production, but too on-point for good drama.  **
COOLER, THE  (d. Wayne Kramer) The acting's pretty good, especially Alec Baldwin; but the plot, direction & cinematography pretty well suck.  **
CORE, THE (d. Jon Amiel) F/x end-of-world flick fun enough to overcome implausibilities.  First hour great & then film degrades to clichés.  ** 3/4
CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO, EL  (d. Carlos Carrera)  Mexico AFF.  Anti-clerical satiric melodrama in small Mexican parish.  *** 1/4
CROOKED E, THE  (d. Penelope Spheeris) V.  CBS film docudrama about fall of Enron.  Predictable script, Christian Kane actor to watch.  **
CRUDE  (Turkey  d. Paxton Winters)  Road film about 2 young American guys and their travels through Turkey looking for fame & fortune.  ** 3/4
CRUEL JOYS  (d. Juraj Nvota) Slovakia AFF.  Relationship drama in pre-war small Slovak town.  ** 3/4
DAREDEVIL (d.Mark Steven Johnson) Better stunts than Spiderman; but rather wan story.  I enjoyed it, especially Affleck.  ** 3/4
DAUGHTER FROM DANANG (d. Dolgen and Franco) (V)  docu. Mixed race Viet Nam war child sent to US at 7 meets her mom.  *** 1/4
DAY A PIG FELL INTO THE WELL, THE  (S. Korea  d. Hong Sang-soo) Muddled story of multiple affairs going nowhere.  Film does too.  1/2*
DEAD MAN'S HAND (d. Boon & Brandenbourger) Luxembourg AFF.  High gloss consumerist satire.  ** 3/4
DEMONLOVER  (France  d. Olivier Assayas)  Stylish, mysterious business scullduggery among the rich and successful international cyber-crowd.  *** 1/4
DEPENDENCIA SEXUAL (d. Rodrigo Bellott)  Sexual adventures of youths in Bolivia & U.S. done in split screen. Wildlly uneven, but also a turn-on.  ***
DEVDAS (d. Sanjay Leela Bhansali) India AFF.  Bollywood musical:  overblown tragic love story.   * 3/4
DIABLES, LES  (d. Christophe Ruggia) Harrowing story of 2 abandoned children, incredible acting.  Hard to do this one justice in a line.  *** 1/2
DICKIE ROBERTS:  FORMER CHILD STAR (d. Sam Weisman)  Infantile, arrested-development story, occasionally funny, very meta, embarrassing to watch.  *
DIE, MOMMIE, DIE (d. Mark Rucker) Camp take-off on Mommy Dearest, a showcase for tranny Charles Busch, which just didn't cut it.   ** 1/4
DIRT  (US  d. Nancy Savoca)  Entertaining humanist drama about an undocumented Salvadorian family...mother a cleaning woman.  *** 1/4
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS  (Great Britain  d. Stephen Frears)  Excellent romantic drama about refugees living and being exploited in London.  *** 1/4
DISTANT (d. Nuri Bilge Ceylan) Arty Turkish film about alienating effects of big city on two men, one older & established, other new to town. *** 1/4
DISTANT LIGHTS  (Germany  d. Hans-Christian Schmidt) Hand held, documentary feel: about refugees trying to get to Germany.  *** 1/4
DIVINE INTERVENTION (d. Elia Suleiman) Palestine's AFF nomination is an unfunny absurdist comedy which didn't work for me. **
DIVORCE, LE  (d. James Ivory) Something between glowing romantic comedy and lame farce re: culture clash between France & America. Guilty pleasure.  ***
DOING TIME  (Japan  d.  Sai Yoichi) Intelligent comedy about regimented life in a modern Japanese prison. ***
DOLLS  (d. Takeshi Kitano) Gorgeously photographed, metaphorically opaque.  Three stories of regret that I regret that went over my head.  **
DOPAMINE (d. Mark Decina) Indie romantic comedy; 3geeky programmers in S.F. Genuine characters, well written, actors have real chemistry.  *** 1/4
DOWN BY LOVE (d. Tomás Sas) Weird, annoying one-actor monologue of effects of child sexual abuse. Ultimately pays off. Patricia Kovács amazing.  ** 3/4
DOWN WITH LOVE (d. Peyton Reed)  Retro, ironic '60s sex comedy, gorgeous production design, often ridiculous script but fun and truly hip.  *** 1/4
DREAMCATCHER (d. Lawrence Kasdan) Absurd Stephen King story, 4 boys/men against familiar movie aliens.  Scary, funny, overwrought.  ** 1/4
DUMMY  (U.S.  d. Greg Pritikin 90 min.)  Adrien Brody is incredible as a shy ventriloquist in this touching, truly funny romantic comedy.  *** 1/2
EDI (d. Piotr Trzaskalski)  Poland AFF  Drama about a down and outer in present day Poland.  ***
THE EDUCATION OF GORE VIDAL  (US doc.  d. Deborah Dickson)  Fine, intelligent documentary about Vidal through his words & work.  *** 1/2
ELDRA (d. Tim Lyn) UK AFF.  Charming story about a young gypsy girl's coming of age.  ***
ELEPHANT (d. Gus Van Sant) I'm still reeling from the cumulative effect of this ephebiphile's dream. Shot amazingly like Le Fils, stomach churning ***
EMBRUJO DE SHANGHAI, EL (d. Fernando Trueba) Drama of post-WWII in Barcelona from a teenage boy's pov. Pretty but confusing.  **
EVENT, THE   (Canada  d. Thom Fitzgerald) Emotionally shattering AIDS drama about a sick man whose friends throw an assisted suicide party  *** 1/4
EYE, THE  (Thailand  d. Danny & Oxide Pang) Horror film, not especially scary, blind woman cured with a corneal transplant who sees dead people. ** 1/2
FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (d. Terry Gilliam) V. Like watching a lurid train wreck & almost needing to turn away. Depp & del Toro are amazing.  **
FILME FALADO, UM  (d. Manoel de Oliveira) Travelogue cum philosophical meditation on feminism and language. Interesting, if unsatisfying.  ** 1/2
FINDING NEMO  (d. Andrew Stanton)  Another engaging Pixar/Disney film with superb 3-D animation but a fairly simplistic plot.  ** 3/4 (REV. *** 1/4)
FLICKERING LIGHTS (d. Anders T. Jensen) Clever Danish caper film about gang who can't shoot straight trying to go straight.  ***
FLOWER OF EVIL, THE  (d. Claude Chabrol) Skewering the haut bourgeoisie, a winner. Magimel is sexiest actor alive and Suzanne Flon magnificent! *** 1/4
FOREST (d. Benedek Fliegauf) Boring, pretentious ordeal of a film...7 droning vignettes vaguely connected by people's proximity in a shopping mall.  *
FRAMED (d. Daniel Petrie, Jr.)  (V.) TNT tv movie about NYC cop (Rob Lowe) vs. classy mob squealer (Sam Neill).  Predictable.  * 1/2
FREAKY FRIDAY (d. Mark Waters) Enjoyable, but empty change-of-identity comedy with some nice acting by Jamie Lee Curtis & Lindsay Lohan. ** 1/2
FREE RADICALS (d. Barbara Albert) Interconneced year-in-the-life story of capricious fate. Confusingly written and edited, but nicely directed.  ** 3/4
GARAGE DAYS (d. Alex Proyas) Familiar rock film about a garage band trying to get established in Australia. Sometimes clever direction, clichéd. ** 1/4
GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, THE  (d. Vittorio De Sica) V. Gorgeous, subtle, inscrutable. Jews in facist Italy, more thwarted love than political.  ***
GAY HOLLYWOOD  (d. Jeremy Simmons) V. Doc. notable since I'm acquainted with 2 of the subjects. Dustin Lance Black is a personal fave.  ** 3/4
GEBIRTIG (d. Lukas Stepanik, Robert Schindel) Austria AFF.  Drama about present day Holocaust participants.  ** 1/2
GERRY (d. Gus Van Sant) Boring existential drama about 2 dumb guys metaphysically lost in the desert.  Great steady-cam.  **
GIFT, THE  (US doc. d. Louise Hogarth)  Important documentary about some gays, especially the young, who purposely contract HIV.  *** 1/2
GIGLI  (d. Martin Brest) An embarrassing film for all, especially Affleck and Brest. Tacky, squicky, homophobic; but Justin Bartha a find.  1/2*
GIRL FROM PARIS, THE  (France d. Christian Carion) +  Lovely movie about a woman who forsakes the city and buys and runs a mountain farm.  *** 1/2
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING (d. Peter Webber) Cinematography worthy of Vermeer; but the film's story was like watching paint dry. **
GLI INDESIDERABILI (d. Pasquale Scimeca) Confusing gangster film. Desires to be Once Upon a Time in America and fails utterly. Vincent Gallo OK * 1/4
GODS AND GENERALS (d. Ronald Maxwell) Civil War epic, centered on Stonewall Jackson.  Well made; but not as good as Gettysburg..  ** 3/4
GOOD BOY! (d. John Robert Hoffman) A sweet and inoccuous kids film, with some tacky effects, but mostly successful on the level it was intended.  ***
GOOD NIGHT TO DIE, A (d. Craig Singer) Arty,  ironic thriller about 2 hit men and their destiny.  Good cast, but pretentious.  * 3/4
GOOD THIEF, THE  (d. Neil Jordan) Based on Bob le flambeur which was infinitely better.  Atmospheric caper film with large holes.  * 3/4
GOODBYE DRAGON INN (d. Tsai Ming-Liang) Weirdly paced allegory? ghost story? shaggy dog story? Tsai's most formal exercise in boredom as style.  ***
GOTHIKA (d. Mathieu Kassovitz) Kassovitz stories tend towards supernatural claptrap. Excellent acting & direction overcome ridiculous plot.  ***
H (S. Korea  d. Lee Jeong-hyuk) Serial killer melodrama with the creepiest villains since Hannibal Lector.  Very much in the same vein as Cure.  ***
HAPPY HOUR (d. Mike Bencivenga) Anthony LaPaglia doing a Leaving Las Vegas dramatic turn, well acted but ultimately derivative.  ** 1/2
HARD GOODBYES:  MY FATHER  (Greece/Germany   d. Penny Panayotopoulou) Slight story about young boy in denial about his father's death.  ** 1/4
HARD WORD, THE   (Australia/Great Britain  d. Scott Roberts)  Delightful caper film.  ***
HE LOVES ME, HE LOVES ME NOT (d. Laetetia Columbani) Clever thriller about a woman literally crazy about a cardiologist.  ***
HEART OF ME, THE   (Great Britain/Germany   d. Thaddeus O'Sullivan) Unabashed weepy romance about 2 sisters in love with the same man.  ***
HEIR TO AN EXECUTION  (d. Ivy Meeropol)V. Doc. Rosenberg's grandaughter searches for the truths of family's past. Moving, well made, informative. ***1/2
HERO (d. Zhang Yimou) China AFF.  Huge marshall arts epic in Crouching Tiger vein.  Gorgeous & well made; but cold.  ***
HIT, THE  (d. Stephen Frears) V. 1984 noir with superb performances.  Wonderfully nihlistic & typical of later Frears. *** 1/4
HOLD MY HEART (d. Trygve Allister Diesen) Norway AFF.  Drama about father who kidnaps estranged young daughter.  *** 1/4
HOLES (d. Andrew Davis) It's sort of churlish to complain about a bad script with such a feel-good movie.  Shia LaBeouf is great.  ** 3/4
HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE (d. Ron Shelton) Cop flick where quirky cops are more interesting than the case. Shelton better director here than writer.  ** 1/2
HOMELESS TO HARVARD (d. Peter Levin) (V) Lifetime tv movie (Thora Birch) about girl who surmounts incredible odds to get an education.  ** 3/4
HONEY (d. Bille Woodruff) Is there a cookie-cutter factory for recycled plots like this? Ok music & dancing don't make up for terrible direction. * 1/4
HORNBLOWER: DUTY (d. Andrew Grieve)V. #8, not quite up to #7. Still, this series is best thing ever to happen on high seas, despite Russell Crowe.  ***
HORNBLOWER: LOYALTY (d. Andrew Grieve) V.  #7 in the series, and one of the best. Ioan Gruffudd was born to play this role.  *** 1/4
HOUSE OF FOOLS (d. Andrei Konchalovsky) Russia AFF.  Off-center drama.  Chechan war comes to insane asylum.  ** 1/2
HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG (d. Vadim Perelman) Classic tragedy: good but flawed people who make fateful mistakes. Incredibly well acted & directed.  *** 1/2
HOUSEKEEPER, THE   (France d. Claude Berri)  Wry, romantic comedy about a May-November romance.  ***
HOW THE WEST WAS WON (d. Henry Hathaway et al)+ Pristine print in 3-screen Cinerama of gorgeous overblown star-driven turkey. Great experience. ** 1/4
HOW TO DEAL (d. Clare Kilner) Rather innocuous teen romantic comedy. Mandy Moore is OK, Trent Ford one to watch; but Nina Foch steals the film.  ** 1/2
HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS (d. Donald Petrie) Fairly clever high concept romantic farce: 2 people trying not to fall in love.  Empty calories.  **
HULK  (d. Ang Lee) Turgid, overlong King Kong vs. Crouching Tiger takeoff. Good effects, but constant barrage of novel transition device wearing. * 1/2
HUMAN STAIN, THE  (d. Robert Benton) Surprisingly effective melodrama with a star-making debut by Wentworth Miller and another Kiddman triumph.  ***
HUNTED, THE (d. William Friedkin) Well made, exciting chase film: army trained killer on a rampage hunted by his teacher.  *** 1/4
I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SAINT (d. Geneviève Mersch) Luxembourg AFF (though Belgian), about disfunctional family from the pov of the daughter. ***
I CAPTURE THE CASTLE  (United Kingdom  d. Tim Fywell) Three hankey weeper, British upper class period romance better than most.  *** 1/4
I MURDER SERIOUSLY  (Mex.  d. Antonio Urrutia)  Off kilter serial killer film, midnight movie fare.  W/O
I NOT STUPID  (Singapore d. Jack Neo) Raucus, amusing comedy about 3 educationally challenged kids in a Singapore school & their zany parents.  ** 1/2
ICE AGE  (d. Chris Wedge)  DVD. Animated film, road trip with Mammoth, Sabre Tooth, Sloth & Neanderthal baby  ** 1/2
IDENTITY (d. James Mangold) Stifling psycho thriller which holds together pretty well, considering it's pure claptrap. Figured it out too early. ** 1/2
I'M NOT SCARED (d. Gabriele Salvatores) 10 year Sicilian boy makes friends with victim of his village's kidnapping plot. Beautiful & well acted.  ***
I'M TARANEH, 15 (d. Rassul Sadr-Ameli) Iran AFF.  "Good" young girl gets in  trouble in modern Iran.  ***
I'M THE FATHER  (Germany  d. Dani Levi)  A German Kramer vs. Kramer, which ultimately worked for me, though it sometimes flagged.  ***
I'M THE KING OF THE CASTLE (d. Régis Wargnier) Gothic thriller cum Lord of the Flies with some remarkably naturalistic acting by 2 French kids. *** 1/2
IMPULSOS (d. Miguel Alcantud) Thriller about a Ted Bundy type of serial killer who meet his match with a suicidal woman.  ** 3/4
IN AMERICA (d. Jim Sheridan) Tender weeper which earns tears honestly with flawless performances & heartfelt script. A near perfect little gem. *** 1/2
IN JULY  (Germany  d.  Fairth Akin)  Delightful road film.  ***
IN THE CITY (d. Cesc Gay) 3 couples explore variations of marital infidelity in modern Barcelona. Mostly boring, til it clicked after an hour. ** 3/4
IN THE CUT (d. Jane Campion) Stylish, creepy, sexy, edge of seat thriller.  Meg Ryan is Oscar-worthy, Ruffalo miscast, but fine.  *** 1/4
IN THIS WORLD  (d. Michael Winterbottom) Quasi-documentary style film about 2 refugees trip from Pakistan to England. I wasn't engaged enough.  ** 3/4
INFERNAL AFFAIRS  (Hong Kong  d. Andrew Lau, Alan Mak) High production value policier about long-term moles infiltrating an evil gang.  *** 1/4
INHERITANCE  (d. Per Fly) Heavy, well made drama about scion of a steel factory owning family and his choice between business and happiness.  *** 1/4
INHERITANCE: A FISHERMAN'S STORY (d. Peter Hegedus) V. Australian doc about an ecologic disaster in Hungary. Well put together, somewhat slight. ** 3/4
INTOLERABLE CRUELTY (d. Joel Coen)  The usual Coen Bros. hipster triumph of style over substance, only much too cynical for my tastes.  ** 1/2
INVISIBLE CHILDREN, THE (d. Lisandro Duque Naranjo) Columbia AFF.  Nostalgic comedy about boys & black magic.  ** 1/2
IRREVERSIBLE (d. Gaspar Noe)  Assault by celluloid?  Or masterpiece of modern cinema.  I'm firmly in the latter camp.  ****
IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY (d. Fred Schepisi) Unaccountably entertained by this schlocky piece of emotionally manipulative crap. Family star power.  **
ITALIAN JOB, THE  (d. F. Gary Gray) Caper thriller which works like gangbusters until it runs out of steam at the end.  ***
JAIL BREAKERS  (S. Korea d.  Kim Sang-jin)  Well made slapstick comedy about two jailbreakers who have to break back into prison.  ***
JAPANESE STORY (d. Sue Brooks) Road movie which shifts from romance to some other place in the blink of an eye. Enjoyed ; but not much happens. ** 3/4
JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK (d. Kevin Smith) (V) Why? I knew it was crap; but I've seen everything else on tv tonight.  1/2*
JEALOUSY IS MY MIDDLE NAME  (Korea  d.  Park Chan-Ok) Weird relationship drama about older man and younger man involved with the same women. ** 1/2
JET LAG  (France  d. Daniele Thompson) Overblown romantic comedy about two people meeting frenetically at a closed De Gaulle airport.  **
JOHNNY BE GOOD (d. Bud Smith) V. Horrendous '88 teener Anthony Hall football movie. Watched to see early Robert Downey Jr. & Uma Thurman. Ugh.  1/2*
JULIE WALKING HOME  (Canada/Germany/Poland  d. Agnieszka Holland) Riviting & involving film about a housewife & a Russian faith healer.  *** 14
JUSTINE (d. George Cukor) V. Nicely mounted large-scale adaptation of the Alexandria Quartet, good cast but a mishmash of a script. ** 3/4
KAMCHATKA (d. Marcelo Piñeyro) Argentina AFF.  Superb family drama about "The Disappeared" from the pov of a 10 year old. *** 3/4
KIKI & TIGER (d. Alan Gsponer) Boring, ugly DV about a straight Albanian illegally in Germany and the Serb closet case who loves him. * 1/2
KILL BILL VOL. 1 (d. Quentin Tarantino) Stylized violence to no purpose. Looks great, but empty and boring...but then I'm no fan of the genre.  **
KILL ME TENDER  (d. Ramon de España) Another Spanish winner, a sexy, romantic black comedy, a gentle farce, well acted with a good script.  ***
KING OF ANTS  (U.S.  d. Stuart Gordon)  Weird midnight movie type noir about young guy turned hired killer who wrecks revenge. Gruesome fun.  ***
KING OF THIEVES (d. Ivan Fila) Energetic, splendid drama-2 Ukranian kids sold by father to Berlin circus & into life of thievery & prostitution. ***1/4
KITCHEN STORIES  (d. Bent Hamer) Minimalist, wry comedy about a '70s Swedish "scientific" study of single men's activities in the kitchen.  ** 3/4
LABYRINTH  (d. Miroslav Lekic)  Yugoslavia AFF.  Enigmatic political allegory mystery.  ** 1/2
LAST DANCE  (d. Mirra Bank) (V)  Docu.  Pilobolus dance troupe collaborates with Maurice Sendak on Holocaust ballet.  ***
LAST GREAT WILDERNESS, THE  (Great Britain  d. David Mackenzie)  Weird combo of road movie & horror show house.  ** 1/4
LAST LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE (d. Pen-ek Ratanaruang) Superb, absurdist film about suicidal, obsessive Japanese Yukasa who meets messy Thai B-girl. *** 1/2
LAST SAMURAI, THE  (d. Edward Zwick) Zwick does it again, imbue an action flick with veracity & emotional truth.  Maybe Cruise's best role ever.  *** 1/4
LAST SCENE (d. Hideo Nakata)  Nostalgic, slow drama about an old man, once a successful leading man, returning to his last film acting job.  ** 1/2
LAST TRAIN, THE (d. Diego Arsuaga) Uruguay AFF. Old codgers steal a steam locomotive to keep it in Uruaguay.  ** 3/4
LAUREL CANYON (d. Lisa Cholodenko) Hi-jinx up the block from me.  Dialog so real, acting so spot on, I loved it more than it deserved.  *** 1/4
LEAVING METROPOLIS (d. Brad Fraser) Ludicrously pretentious straight melodrama masquerading as a gay film.  Beware films from Winnepeg!  1/2*
LEVITY (d. Ed Solomon) Film about redemption with no redeeming qualities. Manipulative, predictable, dreary. Great cast directed on downers.  * 3/4
LIFE AFTER WAR  (U.S.  doc.  d. Brian Knappenberger)  Re-building a village destroyed in the Afghani war against the Taliban.  Propaganda.  W/O
LIFE OF DAVID GALE, THE (d. Alan Parker)  Drama about Texas anti-death penalty group and their condemned member.  ** 1/2
LILJA 4-EVER (d.Lukas Moodysson) Sweden AFF.  Drama of child abuse in modern Russia.  Downer; but great film.  *** 3/4
LIMELIGHT  (U.S.  d. Terry Lukemire)  Mocumentary about karaoke competitors gone horribly wrong.  *
LITTLE BIT OF FREEDOM, A  (d. Yueksel Yavuz) Stunningly real drama: life of illegal Kurd boy in Hamburg. Exciting, relevant filmmaking.  *** 3/4
LITTLE CITY (d. Roberto Benabib) V. Sympathetic '97 romantic rondelay comedy re young S.F. couples. Worthy Josh Charles & ensemble.  ** 3/4
LITTLE MONK, A  (S. Korea  d. Joo Kyung-jun)  Story of an 8 year old kid in a Buddhist monestary yearning for his mother.  ** 1/2
LIVE FROM BAGHDAD  (V) (d. Mick Jackson)  HBO film docudrama about CNN crew in Baghdad during Gulf War I.  ***
LONGTIME COMPANION (d. Norman René) V.+++ Remarkable document of '80s, not dated, still rings true.  The first & one of the best AIDS films. *** 1/2
LOOK, THE  (d. David Sigel)  Mockumentary about a NY contest for models.  Some good bits; but overall pretty average. I've seen worse.  ** 1/4
LOST BOYS OF SUDAN, THE (d. Megan Mylan & Jon Shenk) V. Documentary about two Sudanese refugees in U.S. Interesting, if somewhat uninvolving.  ** 3/4
LOST IN TRANSLATION  (d. Sofia Coppola) Minimalist wry comedy; 2 people adrift in Tokyo who fleetingly connect. Beautifully performed & directed. ***1/4
LotR: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (d. Peter Jackson)++ (ext. edition) Stunningly re-edited with quiet scenes added. Brand new experience on big screen. ****
LotR: THE RETURN OF THE KING (d. Peter Jackson) Quibble about too many endings; but exceded expectations. Whole is greatest film of all time. ****
LotR: THE TWO TOWERS (d. Peter Jackson)+ (ext. version) Making it longer didn't help the sagging middle. Helm's Deep still a great set piece.  *** 1/2
LOVE ACTUALLY (d. Richard Curtis) Pleasant enough multi-story romantic comedy.  About 1/3 of the stories misfired, the others really worked.   ** 3/4
LOVE AT 7-11  (Taiwan  d. Teng Yung-shing)  Languid, moody, arty, boring story of two couples who fail to connect.  ** 1/4
LOVE DON'T COST A THING (d. Troy Beyer) Nick Cannon, worthy star; but this paean to mindless consumerism and teen conformity is horrendous film.  1/2*
LOVE FORBIDDEN (France d. Rodolphe Marconi)  Dark drama about a sexually confused young filmmaker who gets hung up on an Italian man.  ***
LOVER, THE  (Russia d. Valery Todorovsky) Involving drama about a man who discovers is recently deceased wife had had a secret long time lover.  *** 1/4
LUGAR DONDE ESTUVO EL PARAISO, EL (d. Gerardo Herrero) Diverting melodrama of intrigue in the Peruvian Amazon.  ** 3/4
LUSTER (d. Everett Lewis) + Forgot I'd seen this primative, sexy, minor gay film effort before. Justin Herwick memorable, not much else. ** 1/2
MA VRAIE VIE À ROUEN (d. Ducastel and Martineau) Coming of age video diary by a proto-gay ice skater, wonderfully observent, my cuppa!  *** 1/2
MADAME SATA  (Brazil/France  d. Karim Ainouz) Period biopic of famous drag queen in Rio in the '30s.  Steamy sex, well made film.  *** 1/4
MADE UP (d.Tony Shalhoub) Clever, well made mockumentary about making a documentary about women aging.  *** 1/4
MADELEINE (d. Park Kwang-Chung) Korean story of kooky, modern young romance.  Simple story, fun and touching.  ***
MAGDALENE SISTERS  (UK  d. Peter Mullan) Disturbing drama about the abuses of the Catholic "fallen women" nunneries in Ireland.  Fine acting.  *** 1/4
MAGIC BOX, THE  (d. Ridha Behi) Tunisia AFF.  Drama about film director writing a script about his childhood.  *** 1/4
MAMBO ITALIANO (d. Émile Gaudreault) Gay family comedy, nice performance by Luke Kerby which almost makes up for clichéd ethnic coming out plot. ** 1/2
MAN WITHOUT A PAST, THE (d. Aki Kaurismäki)  Finland AFF.  Amnesiac man builds a new life.  ** 3/4
MAN'S BEST FRIEND (d. Rob Lundsgaard) Fun, screwball romantic comedy about straight guy who is supposedly gay. .  ***
MARION BRIDGE (d. Wiebke Von Carolsfeld) 3 sisters play out their neuroses as mother lay dying in bleak Nova Scotia. Molly Parker was fine.  ***
MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN, THE  (d. W.R. Fassbinder) V. Schygulla's riviting perf lifts this post-WWII German reconstruction epic to greatness.  *** 1/2
MASTER & COMMANDER (d. Peter Weir) Rip-roaring seafaring epic, no disappointments here.  Crowe does it again. A 2nd viewing seems called for.  *** 1/4
MATCHSTICK MEN  (d. Ridley Scott) Morally ambiguous multi-level con scam film - good performances and solid direction, but a hole-filled script.  ** 1/2
MATRIX RELOADED, THE  (d. Bros. Wachowski) About what I expected: fun; but the novelty of invention has worn thin. Dynamite effects, too wordy.  ** 3/4
MATRIX: REVOLUTIONS, THE  (d. Washovski Brothers) Another visual & sonic tour de force. Much better than the 2nd film, though slow parts boring.  ***
MERCI DOCTEUR REY (d. Andrew Litvack) Farce, a fine international cast but plot holes and a silly resolution kept it from living up to promise.  ** 3/4
MIGHTY WIND, A (d. Christopher Guest) Folksinging mocumentary.  Not as funny as Guest's previous...sort of forced.  But enjoyable.  ** 1/2
MILWAUKEE, MINNESOTA  (U.S.  d. Allan Mandel)  Quirky character study of greedy people trying to fleece a somewhat retarded young man.  *** 1/4
MINIMAL STORIES  (Argentina  d. Carlos Sorin) Road pic about 36 hours of nice ordinary people living ordinary lives, only without irony.  ***
MINUS MAN, THE  (d. Hampton Fancher) V. Ted Bundy type serial killer (good job Owen Wilson!), great Brian Cox role, stylish well made thriller.  ***
MIRACLE OF BERNE, THE  (d. Sonke Wortmann) Crowd pleaser about Germany's world cup victory in 1954. Made soccer interesting even to me.  ** 3/4
MIRACLE OF MORGAN CREEK (d. Preston Sturges) V. Nicely structured comedy, if too silly for my taste; but almost Capraesque in its earnestness.  ** 3/4
MIRANDA (Great Britain d. Mark Munden)  Cross between a caper film and a romantic comedy.  Enjoyable, but minor.  ** 3/4
MISS ENTEBBE  (Israel  d. Omri Levy)  Afterschool Specialish film about Israeli kids running wild during the Entebbe air hijacking.  ***
MISSING, THE  (d. Ron Howard) One of the better westerns of the last few decades, marred only by excessive spiritualty and predictability. *** 1/4
MONA LISA'S SMILE (d. Mike Newell) The Dead Poetesses Society with Julia R in the Williams role. 50's sexual politics too obvious. Pleasant. ** 1/2
MONDAYS IN THE SUN (d. Fernando Leon de Aranoa) Spain AFF.  Drab bar-room drama about out-of-work laborors.  *** 1/4
MONSIEUR BATIGNOLE (d. Gérard Jugnot) Another Jews vs. Nazis (French colabos) & oldster-learns-life-lesson-from-young-kid film.  ** 1/2
MONSIEUR IBRAHIM (d. François Dupeyron) Subtle coming of age film about 16 year old Jewish boy and his elderly Sufi mentor.  Pierre Boulanger! *** 1/4
MONSTER (d. Patty Jenkins) Excruciating (for me) to watch "true" story of a female serial killer.  Theron was remarkable, but I wanted to walk out.  **
MR. DEEDS (d. Steven Brill) V. Adam Sandler vehicle which mostly misses due to lame, unfunny script. But I like him, what can I say? * 1/2
MUDGE BOY, THE  (U.S.  d. Michael Burke  94 min.)  Drama about a sexually confused teen-age farm boy.  ***
MUSA THE WARRIOR (d. Kim Sung-su) Well constructed epic of 14th Century Mongol-Chinese wars and a Korean delegation caught in the middle. ***
MUSIC MAN, THE (d. Jeff Bleckner) (V) Disneyfied tv version.  Love Matthew Broderick; but he didn't make it as Harold Hill.  * 3/4
MY ARCHITECT (d. Nathaniel Kahn) Touching documentary of an illigitimate son searching for the soul of his famed, but flawed, architect father. *** 1/2
MY FLESH AND BLOOD (d. Jonathan Karsh) V. Heartbreaking, emotionally devastating doc - a woman raising a family of disabled adopted children.  *** 3/4
MY HOUSE IN UMBRIA (d. Richard Loncraine) V. Terrorism survivors recovering in sprightly Maggie Smith's home amid gorgeous Italian scenery.  ** 1/2
MY LIFE WITHOUT ME (d. Isabel Coixet) Wonderful, emotionally shattering film, some great acting, esp. Sarah Polley & Mark Ruffalo.  *** 3/4
MY RUSSIA  (d. Barbara Gräftner) Family drama about Austrian guy marrying a Ukranian girl & the interactions of the two families.  Way too long.  * 3/4
MYSTIC RIVER (d. Clint Eastwood) I'd read the strong book and knew all the surprises, seemed clunky and overwrought. Still, good Hollywood fare. ** 3/4
NAKED PROOF  (U.S.  d. Jamie Hook)  Amateurville romantic comedy about a blocked PhD candidate whose life is in upheaval.  * 3/4
NATE DOGG  (U.S.  d. Thomas Farone) El cheapo digital production about a boy with ADHD who goes bad.  **
NICOTINA (d. Hugo Rodriguez) Black comedy noir - misadventures of gang of cyberthieves. Diego Luna fine; Lucas Crespi a future latino star. ***
NICOTINA (d. Hugo Rodriguez)+ Worth a 2nd look, never underestimate the babe factor and Lucas Crespi is for me the ultimate. A real audience film. ***
NINA'S TRAGEDIES (d. Savi Gavison) Involving coming of age story of 14 year old boy and his crush on his pretty aunt (and weird family dynamic).  ***
NINE DEAD GAY GUYS (d. Ky Mo Lab) Fun, frothy comedy: People keep dying all around 2 Irish hustlers in London. Some yuks pretty silly stuff.  ** 1/4
NINE QUEENS (d.  Fabián Bielinsky) V. + Fine Argentinian caper film worth a 2nd look via TiVo.  I expect a Hollywood remake is in the cards.  ***
NO DEBES ESTAR AQUI (d. Jacobo Rispa) Spanish thriller about killings in an internet chat room.  Potboiler.  *
NOBODY'S BABY (d. David Seltzer) V.  Silly, but watchable dumb & dumber comedy melodrama with two fine leads in Gary Oldman and Skeet Urich.  ** 1/2
NORTHFORK  (U.S.  d. Michael Polish)  Another boring allegory by the Polish brothers.  *
NOTHING  (d. Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti) Cuba AFF+.  Wacky comedy set in Cuban post office.  Tries too hard  * 1/2
NOVIA DE LAZARO, LA (d. Fernando Merinero)  Life and loves among the Cuban immegrants in Madrid.  ** 3/4
NOWHERE IN AFRICA (d. Caroline Link) German AFF  Epic of refugees in Africa during WWII.    *** 1/2
O DELFIM (d. Fernando Lopes) Portugal AFF. Insufferably pretentious drama about poor suffering rich people.  *
OGU & MAMPATO ON EASTER ISLAND (d. Alejandro Teilez)  Chile AFF.  Children's cartoon.   WO
ON_LINE  (d.  Jed Weintrob)  Digitally shot indie drama about relationships made and broken on a net sex line. Clever, innovative and involving.  ***
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO (d. Robert Rodriguez) Some good set-pieces and interesting acting; but ultra-violent and shrill.  ** 1/2
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE MIDLANDS  (Great Britain  d. Shane Meadows)  Predictable British family drama with inaudible dialog.  ** 1/4
ONLY JOURNEY OF HIS LIFE, THE (d. Lakis Papasththis)   Greece AFF.  Magical realism with no coherent plot.  * 1/2
OPEN HEARTS (d. Susanne Bier) Denmark AFF.  Dogma drama about fear of loss and love.  ***
OPEN RANGE  (d. Kevin Costner) Gorgeously photographed western - almost overcomes cliché plot with some superb acting esp. by Robert Duval.  ** 1/2
ORA O MAI PIÚ (d. Lucio Pellegrini) Energetic & well made coming of age story-leftist group during Genoa 8 fracas. Jacopo Bonvicini actor to watch. ***
ORDER, THE  (d. Brian Helgeland) Dark parable of black popes and sin eaters. Surprisingly not bad filmically, though ludicrously overwrought & cheesy. *
OSO ROJO, UN  (d. Israel Adrián Caetano) Loner outlaw, larger than life character in a film noir notable for its cruelty and compassion.  ***
OT: OUR TOWN (V) (d. Scott Hamilton Kennedy)  Docu feature about 1st high school play in Compton in 20 years.  *** 1/4
OTRO LADO DE LA CAMA, EL (d. Emilio Martinez-Lazaro) Spanish sex comedy with music & dance, about couples playing musical beds..  ***
OUT (d.  Hideyuki Hirayama)  Japan AFF.  Black comedy reminiscent of Weekend at Bernie's only emontionally resonant.  ***
OUT OF ORDER  (Pilot d. Wayne Powers) V. This works as a standalone feature. Realistic family drama of a pair of screenwriters. Outstanding acting.  ***
OUT OF TIME (d. Carl Franklin) A policier/sting film with more plot holes than a pound of swiss cheese.  Diverting at times, but predictable.  * 3/4
OUTBREAK (d. Wolfgang Peterson) V. Catching up (yes, just got TiVo, which explains the videos). Viral thriller. Good suspense, lousy science.  ** 1/2
OVERNIGHT  (U.S. doc. d.Mark Brian Smith)  Excellent documentary about a megalomanic filmmaker/rock singer who tangles with Harvey Weinstein.  *** 1/2
OWNING MAHOWNY (d. Richard Kwietniowski)  Hoffman is great as banker-gambler. The film struck close to home to this gambling addict.  Good job.  ***
PAINTED HOUSE, A  (d. Alfonso Arau) (V.) Faithful adaptation, spare & underplayed TV movie.  Scott Glenn's grandfather very strong.  ** 3/4
PAPER DOVE (d. Fabrizio Aguilar) Campañeros in the Andes: gorgeously photographed drama about a small town & boy 11 under seige by terrorists.  ***
PARTY MONSTER (d. Bailey & Barbato)  Witty, trueish story of '80s legendary partyboy & murderer. Seth Green superb, Macaulay Culken less so. ** 3/4
PAYCHECK (d. John Woo) Phil Dick story, full of paranoia & plot holes; but Woo does great action flicks, even if the slo-mo dove is forced here. ** 1/4
PERRO DEL HORTELANO, EL  (d. Pilar Miro 1996) Historical Lope de Vega comedy about a fickle countess.  ** 1/2
PETER PAN (d. P.J. Hogan) Wasn't enchanted by this honorable, boring attempt at authentic Pan. Sorry, every aspect seemed forced & artificial.  * 3/4
PHILANTHROPY (d. Nae Caranfil) Romania AFF.  Black comedy about begging as theater in modern Romania.  ** 3/4
PHONE BOOTH (d. Joel Schumacher) Taut, tense thriller about a psycho sniper in NY.  Colin Farrell is great here...remember at awards time. *** 1/4
PIECES OF APRIL (d. Peter Hedges) Another cliché disfunctional family/Thanksgiving trifle until a neat ending ties it all up. Somehow it worked. ***
PIEDRAS (d. Ramon Salazar) Rapturously romantic parallel story of several women and gay men.  My kind of film!  *** 1/2
PINNOCHIO (VO) (d. Roberto Benigni) Italy AFF.  Even with subtitles, a major train wreck of a film.  *
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN (d. Gore Verbinski) 1st half is wonderful, then sort of topples from excesses; but Depp and Bloom are great.  ** 3/4
POCO PIÚ DI UN ANNO FA (d. Marco Filiberti) Oddly affecting drama about an upper class Italian gay porn star & his familial relationships.  ** 3/4
PONIENTE  (WESTERN) (d. Chus Gutierrez) Drama about labor strife in rural greenhouse farms in Andelusia.  ** 1/4
PORN THEATER  (France  d. Jacques Nolot) Very sexy film about men making it with other men in a straight porn theater in today's Paris.  ***
POWER TRIP  (U.S. doc.  d. Paul Devlin)  Well edited documentary about an American company which buys the ex-Soviet Georgian power utility.  *** 1/2
PRISONER OF PARADISE (d. Malcolm Clarke,  Stuart Sender) (V)  Great Holocaust docu. about Thereisenstadt & actor/director Kurt Gerron  *** 3/4
THE PROFESSIONAL  (d. Dusan Kovacevic) Black comedy - secret policeman's raprochement with his prey in "new" Serbia. Obscure Balkan politics.** 1/4
P.T.U.  (Hong Kong  d.  Johnny To)  Stylized policier/comedy about one frenzied night in the streets of Hong Kong.  Great fun.  ***
PUBLIC ENEMY (S. Korea  d. Kang Woo-suk)  Satisfying, well written and acted policier about a slovenly policeman getting his man.  *** 1/4
PUMP UP THE VOLUME (d. Alan Moyle) V.+ Slater's definitive perf of teen alienation still relevant & thrills. Among my top 5 fave teen films.  *** 1/4
PUPENDO (d. Jan Hrebejk) DV slice-of-life: '80s Czech society centering on out-of-favor sculptor and circle around him. Pleasant, but minor.  ** 3/4
QUAI DES ORFÈVRES (d. Henri-George Clouzot) '47 light hearted murder mystery among the Music Hall crowd.  ** 3/4
RACHIDA (d. Yamina Bachir-Chouikh)  Algeria AFF.  Melodrama about terrorism & its effect on a young lady teacher.  ** 3/4
RADIO (d. Mike Tollin) Like Patch Adams, a true story which should pull the heartstrings, but so much liberal crap that it fails on every level. * 3/4
RAGE IN PLACID LAKE, THE  (d. Tony McNamara) Coming-of-age film about a non-conformist (a wonderful turn by Ben Lee)...an Australian Rushmore.  *** 1/4
RAISING VICTOR VARGAS (d. Peter Sollett)  Cocky latino boy courts romance and his family copes.  Well intentioned; but didn't do it for me.  ** 1/2
REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES (d. Patricia Cardoso) (V)  Latina Star Maps, only college vs. sweatshop.  ** 3/4
RECRUIT, THE (d. Roger Donaldson) Formulaic thriller, no surprises.  But Colin Farrell is a star who leaps off the screen.  ** 3/4
RED, WHITE AND BLUES (d. Mike Figgis) Full length film from The Blues series, fascinating stuff about the '60s British invasion re-introducing blues to U.S. *** 1/2
RESURRECTION OF THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL (d. Sun-Woo Jang) Korean Matrix like videogame playing adventure film.  ** 1/2
RETURN, THE  (d. Andrei Zvagintsev) Russia's AFF: a beautiful, moody road picture about 2 kid brothers and their long absent father.  *** 1/2
RIPLEY'S GAME  (d. Liliana Cavani) V. Unaccountably STV murder-for-hire and sociopathic intrigue plot from Highsmith.  Quite stylish and well made.  ***
ROAD MOVIE (d. Kim In-Sik) Mediocre but visually interesting Korean melodrama - an itinerate gay man's love for a failed straight stockbroker.  ** 1/2
ROBERT CAPA:  IN LOVE AND WAR  (US doc.  d. Anne Makepeace) Uninspired documentary about the photo-journalist.  ** 1/2
ROSENSTRASSE  (d. Margarethe von Trotta) Somehow uninspiring, earnest Holocaust drama about Aryan wives of German Jewish men taken in 1943.   ** 1/2
ROSE'S SONGS (d. Andor Szilágyi) Excellent, unique Hungarian Holocaust film: group of Jews trying to avoid living in the ghetto. *** 1/4
RUMOR OF ANGELS, A  (d. Peter O'Fallon) V. Vanessa Redgrave & Trevor Morgan shine in this melodrama of grieving. Minor, but moving for all that.  ** 3/4
RUNAWAY JURY (d. Gary Fleder) A screen adaptation which is superior to the original book. Good acting, direction & editing save a hole filled plot. ***
RUSSIAN ARK (d. Aleksandr Sokurov)  Brilliant tour de force 1-take Russian historical pageant.  *** 1/2
SALOME (d. Carlos Saura) Film about the creation of a Spanish ballet of Salome, mostly the performance.  * 3/4
SANGRADOR (d. Leonardo Henriquez)  B&W retelling of the Macbeth story with Andean bandits.  Overwrought, badly acted, but visually interesting.  * 3/4
SCHOOL OF ROCK (d. Richard Linklater) Jolt of pure entertainment, probably Jack Black's ultimately defining performance. Everyone wins here.  *** 3/4
SCOTLAND, PA  (d. Billy Morrissette) V. Silly, amiable retelling of the Macbeth story in a 60's small town. Points for originality and humor.  ** 3/4
SEA OF SILENCE (d. Stijn Cominx) Belgium's so-so Academy nomination about a disfunctional farm family from the pov of the middle daughter.  ** 1/2
SEA, THE  (d. Baltasar Kormakur)  Iceland AFF.  Dysfunctional family drama...non Dogmatic Conversation.  *** 1/2
SEABISCUIT (d. Gary Ross) Excellent docu-drama with fine cast and a resonant, spellbinding script - left me wanting more (to read the book?)  *** 1/4
SEASIDE  (France  d. Julie Lopes-Curval)  Multi-character, small-town drama of repressed yearnings for better things.  *** 1/4
SECONDHAND LIONS (d. Tim McCanlies) 2 eccentric uncles raise teenage boy. Fine actors don't overcome shamelessly manipulative if amiable script. * 3/4
SECRET LIFE OF DENTISTS, THE  (U.S.  d. Alan Rudolph)  Beautifully written and acted drama about a marriage in trouble.  *** 3/4
SECRET THINGS  (France  d. Jean-Claude Brisseau)  Soft porn with a lesbian bent.  Good looking bodies, but total trash and a ridiculous story.  *
SECRETS OF A YOUNG GIRL (d. Magdi Ahmed Ali)  Egypt AFF.  Courageous family drama about 15 year old girl's pregnancy.  ***
SHAPE OF THINGS, THE  (d. Neil Labute) Clever reversal of Company of Men.  Attractive ensemble; stagey line readings. Why isn't Fred Weller a star?  ***
SHATTERED GLASS (d. Billy Ray) True story: journalist faker Stephen Glass. Great acting & veracity, tho psychological insight is rather thin.  *** 1/4
SINGING DETECTIVE, THE  (d. Keith Gordon) First hour OK; but by end, good acting & direction didn't solve an offputting script. ** 1/4
SLEEPLESS NIGHTS  (d.  Hany Khalifa) 3 married and one unmarried yuppie couple have their marital troubles in this fluffy romantic comedy.  ** 1/2
SMALL CUTS (d. Pascal Bonitzer) Daniel Auteuil! Kristen Scott Thomas!  No chemistry!  Drama disguised as silly French farce.  **
SMALL VOICES  (d. Gil M. Portes) Philippines AFF.  New teacher in rural village copes with problems.  **
SMOKERS ONLY (d. Veronica Chen)  Pretentious, artsy-fartsy Argentine film about vapid rock chick and male hustler.  *
SOL DEL MEMBRILLO, EL (d. Victor Erice 1992) Arty semi-documentary about an artist sloooowly painting a quince tree.  **
SOLDIER'S GIRL, A  (US  d. Frank Pierson) True story: an American soldier falls for a transexual and how the dynamic plays out in his platoon.  *** 1/4
SOLO MIA (d. Javier Balaguer) Sergio Lopez plays abusive macho husband.  Excellent portrait of a bad marriage.  ***
SOME GIRL (d. Rory Kelly) V. Ribisi siblings interest me. A charming, surprisingly involving romantic comedy...young Jeremy Sisto a revelation.  ***
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE (d. Nancy Meyers) I wanted to hate this like every other Meyers film; but it struck a deep chord of truth. Bravo to all. *** 1/4
SOMEWHERE OVER THE DREAMLAND  (Taiwan   d. Cheng Wen-tang) Inscrutable film about yearning and lost love...maybe.  ** 3/4
SON FRÈRE (d. Patrice Chéreau) Intimate drama of 2 estranged brothers, the straight one dying of rare blood disease. Eric Caravaca is great!  *** 1/4
SON, THE (LE FILS) (d. Dardenne Bros.)  Belgium AFF.  Spare drama about carpentery teacher & apprentice who share a secret history.  *** 1/2
SONG FOR A RAGGY BOY (Ireland/US  d. Aisling Walsh) Drama/exposé about Catholic workhouse schools for wayward boys in 1939.  *** 1/4
SPELLBOUND (d. Jeffrey Blitz)  Involving, well conceived documentary about 8 competitors in the National Spelling Bee.  *** 1/2
SPIN (d. James Redford) A more than credible first feature...'50s coming of age story centered on flying. Ryan Merriman a young actor to watch! *** 1/4
SPINNING BORIS (d. Roger Spottiswoode) American political spinsters go to Russia to work for Yeltsin in this ok Showtime tv movie.  ** 3/4
SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON (d. Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook) Beautiful animated film which actually moved me.  ***
SPRING SUBWAY (China  d. Zhang Yibai) Gorgeous photography & production design in search of a story to give a damn about.  ** 3/4
SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER...AND SPRING (d. Kim Ki-duk) Gorgeously photographed fable about the life of a very human Buddhist monk.  *** 1/2
SPUN (d. Jonas Akerlund)  Requiem For a Dream wannabe.  Tweaker farce. Transgressive and fun, but  cheesy.  **
SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER (d. Richard Rodriguez) 3D gives me eye strain; but this kinetic film had a consistent script with miraculous digital f/x.  ***
STALAG 17 (d. Billy Wilder)+ V. Still works as straighforward prison camp story, though plot and characters now seem pretty stock. Holden fine.  ***
STAR WARS: EPISODE 2 (d. George Lukas) Bombastic, effects heavy...not as bad as I'd heard.  ** 1/4
STATEMENT, THE  (d. Norman Jewison) Turgid thriller about a Nazi collaborator on the run 46 years later. Very disappointing.  **
STATION AGENT, THE  (d. Tom McCarthy) David Green territory without his visual pinache, but real narrative.  Fine performances by all 3 leads.  *** 1/4
STEVIE (d. Steve Jones) (V)  Documentary about a troubled boy-man, abused as a kid, who faces prison for child sexual abuse himself.  *** 1/4
STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL, THE (d. Byambasuren Davaa) Realistic & involving saga of Mongolian herder family & little camel rejected by its mom.  ***
STRACCIATELLA  (d. Adnras Kern) Kern is the Roberto Benigni (or Ed Burns) of Hungary. Self-indulgant: about conductor having a nervous breakdown. ** 1/4
STUCK ON YOU (d. Bobby & Peter Farelly) Irresistably sweet, hip and funny. Farellys continue to play with characters' illusions & it works.  ***
SUDESTE  (Argentina  d. Sergio Diego Bellotti) Torpid drama of a young river fisherman and his encounter with an outlaw. ** 3/4
S.W.A.T. (d. Clark Johnson) Overly loud, violent, predictable L.A. police drama with enough originality & raging testosterone to be involving. ** 1/2
SWIMMING POOL (d. François Ozon) Somewhat disappointing film from this always interesting director. Sagnier has grown to a sexy young woman.  ** 1/2
SYLVIA (d. Christine Jeffs) Not as bad a biopic as Iris; but it doesn't go anywhere but the obvious with no insight. Good acting, nowhere script.  **
TAKING SIDES (d. István Szabó) Umteenth film in a row Harvey Keitel chews scenery; but Stellan Skarsgard superb. Thoughtful, morally ambiguous.  ** 3/4
TAN DE REPENTE  (d. Diego Lerman) Lesbian road film, B&W, like early Godard or Greg Araki, with sweetly life affirming aftertaste.  *** 1/4
TEARS OF THE SUN (d. Antoine Fuqua) White man's burden as American soldiers save day in Nigeria.  Good direction...horrendous script.  * 1/2
TERMINATOR 3 RISE OF THE MACHINES (d. Jonathan Mostow) Good script, great f/x, one of the most satisfying action thrillers of recent years.  *** 1/4
TESIS (d. Alejandro Amenabar 1995) Thriller about snuff films on campus.  Amenabar at 23 was already an accomplished creepmeister!  *** 1/2
THERE GOES MY BABY (d. Floyd Mutrux) V. American Graffiti lite: high-school grad night set in L.A. during Watts riots. Good music, bad acting.  ** 1/2
THEY'VE GOT KNUT  (Germany  d. Stefan Krohmer) A tedious film about a group of leftists who meet in a Tyrol ski cabin for fun times & relating.  **
THIEF OF PARIS, THE  (d. Louis Malle) V. Very cool, young Belmondo in solid period piece.  Malle obviously influenced by Bresson at this stage. ***
THINK IT OVER  (d. Katerina Evangelakou) Forgetable romantic comedy: family where daughter is pregnant by her much younger almost step brother.  *
THIRTEEN (d. Catherine Hardwick) Hard to watch, authentic, gritty drama about "good" teen girl going bad. Wood & Hunter truly great!  *** 1/4
THREE MARIAS  (Brazil/Italy  d. Aluizio Abranches) Stylish drama of family feud and revenge.  A nothing story gorgeously told.  ** 1/2
TIME CHANGER (d. Rich Christiano) Offensive Christian propaganda film disguised as a SF time travel story.  0*
TIMELINE (d. Richard Donner) Workmanlike, if eliptical, historical time-travel story, looked good...but the acting and direction mostly sucked.  * 3/4
TO BE AND TO HAVE (France  d. Nicolas Philibert) Pastoral documentary about a year in the life of a one-room school in rural France.  ***
TO BE OR NOT TO BE  (d. Ernst Lubitch) V. Polish WWII farce with some clever, if unrealistic, fantasy writing.  No trace of the Lubitch touch.  **
TOGETHER  (China/S. Korea  d. Chen Kaije) Audience pleaser about a young violin prodigy facing life in Beijing.  *** 1/4
TOTALLY SEXY LOSER (d. Jason Schafer) Low budget, very realistic DV comedy about a man afraid to commit (fine Chad Lindsey) in a doomed affair.  ***
TOUCH (d. Paul Schrader) V.+ Nice cast, esp. Skeet Ulrich; I hadn't remembered it at all until the stigmata scene which stuck. ** 1/2
TOUT CONTRE LÉO (d. Christophe Honoré) French tv "afternoon special": 12 yr. old boy whose older brother gets AIDS. Frank, well acted. ** 1/2
TRAPPED (d. Luis Mandoki) V. Greg Iles is one of my fave authors; but his own screenplay for his worst book was lame. Still, worked as thriller. ** 1/2
TREASURE PLANET (d. Ron Clements, John Musker) Disney animated Oscar nom based on Treasure Island.  I slept through part of it.  * 1/2
TRECE CAMPANADAS (d. Xavier Villaverde) Brilliantly made Hitchcockian thriller/ghost story.  *** 1/2
TRILOGY:  AFTER LIFE  (France/Belgium  d. Lucas Belvaux) Melodrama about the morphine addict & her flic husband running parallel to previous.  ***
TRILOGY:  AN AMAZING COUPLE  (France/Belgium   d. Lucas Belvaux  100)  Edgy romantic comedy farce of events running parallel to above.  ***
TRILOGY:  ON THE RUN  (France/Belgium  d. Lucas Belvaux) Thriller noir about prison escapee terrorist, taut and well played.  *** 1/2
TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, THE  (d. Sylvaine Chomet) Stylish 2-D animation feature, weird story: Tour de France race gone very wrong.  Not my cuppa'.  ***
TRUTH AND LIES (d. Piergiorgio Gay)  Italian film about a man discovers the truth about his Fascist father.  ***
TRY TO REMEMBER (d. Zabout Breitman)  Moving & pathos filled love story set in rehab hospital.  Young woman with Alzheimer's.  *** 1/4
TU VERRAS, ÇA TE PASSERA (d. Fabrice Cazeneuve) Superb coming out "afternoon special" tv movie, frank and truthful as only the French can do.  *** 1/4
TWO DAYS (d. Sean McGinly) Hip, funny - a 30-something actor (Paul Rudd at the top of his game) who has a documentary made about his suicide.  *** 1/4
TWO FRIENDS (d. Scimone, Sframeli) Slice of life drama about 2 roommates, one a mafia hit-man, the other an ordinary joe. Droning, boring.  **
TYCOON: A NEW RUSSIAN (d. Pavel Languine) Fascinatingly dense, overdone haunting satire about the rise and fall of a modern Russian Oligarch. *** 1/4
UNDER ANOTHER SKY (d. Gaël Morel) Go back to acting, Gaël!  Nicolas Cazale was magnetic as French/Algerian youth forced to return to his roots.  ** 1/2
UNDER THE SIGN OF SCORPIO (d. Taviani brothers) 1969 film by filmmakers I like; but this shipwreck film was boring & thematically opaque  *
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN (d. Audrey Wells) Romantic woman's pic which despite predictablilty, pressed all my buttons. Ah, lovely Italy...mi amore.   ** 3/4
UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (d. Preston Sturges) V. Deftly written drawing room comedy - symphony conductor plots to music against wife's infidelity.  *** 1/2
UNLIKELY HEROES  (d. Richard Trank) Doc. about resistance during the Holocaust. I did considerable work on this, and film/vid/film looks great. ** 3/4
VAGABOND (Hungary  d. Gyorgy Szomjas) Lousy photography & production design with virtually no story & incessant folk dancing which bored me.  *
VALENTÍN (d. Juan Luis Iborra) Boring, talky drama about a troup of male Shakespeare players undone when director falls for the new young actor.  **
VERONICA GUERIN (d. Joel Schumacher) I'm not a reflexive Schumacher hater; but this tiresome film was too earnest & obvious despite its "message". * 3/4
VERONIKA VOSS (d. W.R. Fassbinder) V. Like Sunset Blvd. story of former star: a morphine addict under spell of evil female doctor. Stunning B&W. ** 3/4
VIAJE DE CAROL, EL (d. Imanol Uribe) Touching story of a girl whose life is shattered by the Spanish civil war.  *** 1/4
VIEW FROM THE TOP (d. Bruno Barreto) Fluffy & charmless comedy with almost no redeeming qualities except for a luminous Gwyneth Paltrow.  * 1/4
VIRGEN DE LA LUJURIA, LA (d. Arturo Ripstein) Arty snoozefest centered about a waiter in a '30s Mexican cafe and his sexual obsessions.  *
VOLEURS, LES  (d. André Téchiné) V.+ Better the 2nd time. Téchiné is a superb director and this family drama is complex and nicely done.  *** 1/4
WALK TO REMEMBER, A (d. Adam Shankman) V. X-tian teenage version of Love Story. Shane West & Mandy Moore quite good; I ate melodrama up.  ***
WALKING & TALKING (d. Nicole Holofcener 1996) (V) Winning yupster girl comedy with Keener & Heche.  Better than Lovely & Amazing  *** 1/4
WALKING ON WATER (d. Tony Ayres)+ I forgot I'd already seen this film. Fine! It's a wonderfully observant, beautifully written & drama.  *** 1/2
WAR  (Russia  d. Aleksei Balabanov) Drama of rescue and revenge in Russo-Chechan war.  A testosterone drenched delight.  ***
WARMING UP YESTERDAY'S LUNCH (d.  Kostadin Bonev)  Bulgaria AFF.  Old lady's memoire of 60 yrs. of Balkan politics.  **
WATER'S EDGE (d. Harvey Kahn) Thriller melodrama about corrupt rural town.  Laughably bad straight to video.  1/2*
WATTSTAX: 2003 SPECIAL EDITION (d. Mel Stuart) Newly remixed print of '71 rockumentary...too little music, boring in parts. Rufus rocked.  **
WEATHER UNDERGROUND, THE  (d. Sam Green) Documentary about '70s American terrorist group.  Good footage & well written.  *** 1/4
WESTENDER (U.S.  d. Bruce Morse)  Overblown, tacky, unironic mideval quest film.  * 3/4
WHALE RIDER (New Zealand/Germany  d. Niki Caro) Wide screen crowd pleaser about dying Maori traditions & the little girl who changed things. ***
WHEN MARYAM SPOKE OUT (d. Assad Fouladkar)  Lebanon AFF.  Travails of barren wife.  ***
WILD DOGS, THE  (Canade  d. Thom Fitzgerald) Drama about a pornographer in Rumania to find women & instead finds wild dogs & Gypsy slaves.  ***
WILD THORNBERRYS MOVIE, THE  (d. McGrath and Malkasian)  Nickelodian cartoon.  * 1/2
WINGED MIGRATION (d. Jacques Cluzaud) (V) Docu feature on birds. Visual tour de force; but poorly constructed.  ** 3/4
WITNESSES  (d. Vinko Bresan) Croatia's Academy sub:  Intimate, complex, big-screen enigma/horrors of war drama. Slow accretion of detail adds up.  ***
WOLFSBURG (d. Christian Petzold) Heavy drama - a weak man who makes a fatal mistake & seeks redemption.  Good acting and script; but a downer.  ***
WONDERLAND (d. James Cox) Bravura filmmaking in aid of tawdry true story. Kilmer & especially Josh Logan are fine. Effectively stomach-turning.  ***
WORD OF HONOR (d. Robert Markowitz) A favorite novel makes pretty fair transition to tv thanks to fine acting, albeit too compressed a script.  ** 3/4
X (d. Luis Marias)  Thriller about cop who may or may not have murdered his gay trick.  ***
X2 (d. Bryan Singer) Good efx, a story that held together better than the usual comic book turned into film.  ** 3/4
YES NURSE, NO NURSE  (Netherlands  d. Pieter Kramer)  Full-on, campy musical in the Singing in the Rain tradition.  Silly; but great fun.  ***
YMCA BASEBALL TEAM  (S. Korea  d. Kim Hyeun-seok) Historical pageant about the first baseball team in Korea as metaphor for national identity. ** 3/4
YOSSI & JAGGER  (Israel  d. Eytan Fox)  Unexpectedly good drama about a gay relationship in the Israeli army.  *** 1/4
YOUNG UNKNOWNS, THE (d. Catherine Jelski) Four screwed up, overpriveleged L.A. 20-somethings have a memorable night.  ** 3/4
ZUS & ZO  (d.  Paula van der Oest)  Netherlands AFF.  Family farce about 3 sisters and their gay brother.  *** 1/4

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