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Ned Kelly (2004) Movie Showtimes
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21 Grams (2003) Movie Showtimes
Sean Penn and Benecio Del Toro, two of the most gripping actors around, play wildly different men linked through a grieving woman (Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive, The Ring) in 21 Grams. Del Toro (Traffic, The Usual Suspects) delves deep into the role of an ex-con turned born-again Christian, a deeply conflicted man struggling to set right a terrible accident, even at the expense of his family. Penn (Mystic River, Dead Man Walking) captures a cynical, philandering professor in dire need of a heart transplant, which he gets from the death of Watts' husband. 21 Grams slips back in forth in time, creating an intricate emotional web out of the past and the present that slowly draws these three together; the result is remarkably fluid and compelling. The movie overreaches for metaphors towards the end, but that doesn't erase the power of the deeply felt performances. Movie Showtimes

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Le Divorce (2003)
The cinematic team of Merchant Ivory (Howard's End, The Remains of the Day) leaves corsets behind for the contemporary world of Americans in Paris. The day Isabel Walker (Kate Hudson, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days) comes to visit her pregnant sister Roxy (Naomi Watts, Mullholland Drive) is the day Roxy's French husband leaves her. The divorce proceedings end up centering around a painting, long owned by the Walkers, that the husband's family would like to claim--but their maneuverings are complicated when Isabel begins an affair with a diplomat (Thierry Lhermitte, The Closet) who just happens to be Roxy's uncle-in-law. At its best moments, Le Divorce has the feel of one of Woody Allen's serio-comic films like Hannah and Her Sisters, and there's a genuinely suspenseful climactic scene on the Eiffel Tower. Also featuring Leslie Caron, Glenn Close, Matthew Modine, Stephen Fry, Sam Waterston, and Stockard Channing. DVDs

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The Shaft (2001)
Naomi Watts had not yet been put through the paces with David Lynch or The Ring when she made this 2001 thriller about an elevator with a malevolent spirit. It's essentially an English-language revamp, by the Dutch director Dick Maas, of his very fun 1983 movie The Lift. Set in pre-9/11 New York, in a fictional 102-floor high-rise, it's yet another lesson in why man should never tamper with combining computer chips and human tissue. Unfortunately, this lesson is pretty dull, cramped by stilted dialogue and a plodding pace. There's one great action sequence with an elevator car racing upward as its floor drops out, and Dan Hedaya, Ron Perlman, and Michael Ironside lend their indelible mugs for some character-actor juice. Watts provides a bit of playfulness, but it would take Mulholland Drive to unlock the more compelling part of her personality. The Shaft finds her still on the ground floor. -Amazon DVDs eToys - Always a Favorite

The Wyvern Mystery (2000)
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Mulholland Drive (2001)
Pandora couldn't resist opening the forbidden box containing all the delusions of mankind, and let's just say David Lynch, in Mulholland Drive, indulges a similar impulse. Employing a familiar film noir atmosphere to unravel, as he coyly puts it, "a love story in the city of dreams," Lynch establishes a foreboding but playful narrative in the film's first half before subsuming all of Los Angeles and its corrupt ambitions into his voyeuristic universe of desire. Identities exchange, amnesia proliferates, and nightmare visions are induced, but not before we've become enthralled by the film's two main characters: the dazed and sullen femme fatale, Rita (Laura Elena Harring), and the pert blonde just-arrived from Ontario (played exquisitely by Naomi Watts) who decides to help Rita regain her memory. Triggered by a rapturous Spanish-language version of Roy Orbison's "Crying," Lynch's best film since Blue Velvet splits glowingly into two equally compelling parts. - Amazon DVDs

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Children of the Corn 4 - The Gathering (1996)
Nothing can prepare you for the onslaught of spine-tingling thrills unleashed in CHILDREN OF THE CORN IV: THE GATHERING -- the latest and most chilling chapter in the wildly popular CHILDREN OF THE CORN series! The horror returns when the children of a small midwestern town are haunted by an unspeakable evil that lurks somewhere out behind the corn fields. A bright young medical student must solve the frightening mystery that plagues the children ... before a sinister stranger can claim their souls for his own! It's a pulse-pounding race against time and terror that will leave even the most die-hard suspense fans on the edge of their seats! DVDs


Strange Planet (1999)
Strange Planet captures a year in the intertwined lives of a gaggle of young Australians. Judy (Claudia Karvan) aspires to work in television and gets involved with an older tv executive (Hugo Weaving, The Matrix, Proof). Judy's roommate Alice (Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive, The Ring) struggles to get over a breakup after two years; Joel (Aaron Jeffery) is reeling from the collapse of his marriage; Ewan (Tom Long) loses faith in being a lawyer and becomes a taxi driver. It's a bit like an elaborate episode of Friends, except that Strange Planet dives into much richer and more complex emotional territory. Comic discussions about biology and love are counterpointed by doubt, loss, and simple confusion--which the sharp writing, directing, and acting manages to make real while maintaining a fluid and dexterous storyline. The conclusion may be too tidy, but you'll feel like these well-drawn characters have earned it. DVDs

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The Ring (Widescreen Edition) (2002)
With its disturbing images and a few good shocks, The Ring is the kind of frightfest you'll watch to set a chilling mood or spook your susceptible friends, but when you try to sort it out, this well-mounted American remake (of the 1998 Japanese hit Ringu, based on Koji Suzuki's popular novel) becomes a batch of incoherent parts. The negligible plot follows a Seattle reporter (Naomi Watts) as she investigates the death of her niece, the victim of a mysterious videotape that, according to urban legend, causes the viewer's death seven days later. (Fear Dot Com borrowed the same idea while avoiding this film's lofty pretensions.) The countdown structure follows the reporter, her son, and her estranged boyfriend into deepening layers of terror--all quite effective until the movie attempts to explain itself. At that you're better off shutting down your brain and letting the creepy visuals take over. DVDs

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Dangerous Beauty (1998)
sumptuously seductive production is that rarest of cinematic breeds, the (barely) respectable guilty pleasure. Combining historical fact with hysterical anachronisms of language and mannerism, it's been tailored for maximum contemporary appeal but maintains a lush, romantic feel for its factual 16th-century tale of Venetian love, lust, and political repression. Catherine McCormack (Mel Gibson's ill-fated bride in Braveheart) delivers a star-making performance as the "dangerous beauty" who becomes a skillful courtesan to pursue her forbidden love for a dashing Venetian senator (Rufus Sewell). It's all rather silly in a high-toned fashion, and the film turns dour when the church intervenes with a Scarlet Letter-like papal inquest. But the movie's joyously ribald vitality is utterly irresistible, and the casting of McCormack with Jaqueline Bisset (as her mother and courtesan mentor) is a stroke of pure genius. Merchant-Ivory would've made a smarter film from this material, but it probably wouldn't be nearly as entertaining. DVDs

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