opening this week
Lars von Trier’s controversial film arrives in Santa Fe, and if you don’t want to feel left out in conversations about cinema in 2009, it’s worth a look. Following the death of their child, a couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) retreat to the woods and brutally abuse each other. Whether you think von Trier is a misogynist hack or a filmmaking genius, this film will add fuel to your argument. It’s too silly and crude to be effective art-house fare, but the haunting visuals of the forest make for a solid horror movie. 104 minutes. Not rated (contains explicit sex and graphic violence). CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe. (Robert Benziker) See review, Page 52.
Director Jared Hess ( Napoleon Dynamite) returns for his third film and — surprise, surprise— it’s a dry affair about extreme outsiders. Benjamin (Michael Angarano) is a high school student who submits a story to a contest that will be judged by his idol, fantasy author Chevalier. The story is stolen by Chevalier, and a rivalry breaks out. Rated PG-13. 89 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
Morgan Freeman captures the dignity, the compassion, the wisdom, and the sports-fan enthusiasm of Nelson Mandela in director Clint Eastwood’s beautifully crafted movie. It’s an account of the strategy used by the new South African president (fresh from 30 years in prison) in 1994 to bring together a country riven with post-apartheid resentment and fear by focusing on the national rugby team’s pursuit of the World Cup. Predictably feel-good but filled with subtle touches, character observations, and fine performances, particularly by Matt Damon as the team captain. Rated PG-13. 134 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española. (Jonathan Richards) See full review in next week’s Pasa.
This follow up to 2006’s Paris, je t’aime brings the same concept— a lineup of directors tackle short films within a single city— to the Big Apple. The directors of these 10 shorts include Mira Nair, Brett Ratner, Fatih Akin, and Natalie Portman, and the cast boasts Hayden Christensen, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Shia LaBeouf, and many more. Rated R. 103 minutes. Regal DeVargas, Santa Fe. (Not reviewed)
NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU
Disney’s return to traditional (not computer generated) animation is also the company’s first animated feature starring African American characters. Inspired by the Grimm
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
brothers’ fable, “The Frog Prince,” this musical takes place in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where a girl named Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) kisses a frog prince and turns into a frog herself. Ulp! Rated G. 95 minutes. Regal Stadium 14, Santa Fe; DreamCatcher, Española; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Storyteller, Taos. (Not reviewed)
Director/co-writer John Woo detours from the martial arts/ gangster oeuvre and trains his lens on a battle from Chinese dynastic history in this sweeping, action-filled war epic. When a power-hungry warlord from China’s northern territory plans an attack on two rebel leaders and their outnumbered armies to the south, he grossly underestimates their cunning and resolve. Loosely based on the 14th-century novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Red Cliff is more a meditation on ancient Chinese battle strategy than a thorough character study or history lesson. Rated R. 148 minutes. In Chinese with subtitles. The Screen, Santa Fe (Rob DeWalt). See review, Page 52.
Fraud of the con-chords: Jemaine Clement in Gentlemen Broncos,
at Regal DeVargas in Santa Fe