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Film Openings

Week of April 27, 2005


Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. (Not Rated) Reviewed in this issue.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (PG) Reviewed in this issue.

House of D. (PG-13) David Duchovny's sappy vanity project is the tortured tale of a plucky thirteen-year-old (Anton Yelchin) facing tough choices, family tragedy and raging hormones. It commits almost every crime the coming-of-age genre is prone to, including fake charm, precious melancholy and some preposterous turns of plot. It tries hard to be sensitive and touching -- it's even got Robin Williams as a retarded janitor pedaling a broken-down bicycle -- but it has an inflated sense of its power to move us. Duchovny wrote the script, directed and plays the protagonist as a grown-up, so there's no use trying to spread the blame around: This is his stinker, and his alone. With Téa Leoni (a.k.a. Mrs. David Duchovny) as the boy's distraught, pill-popping mother, and Erykah Badu as the streetwise muse who calls advice down to him from the window of her prison cell in New York's Women's House of Detention. D is for Dreadful. And Duchovny. (Bill Gallo)

Walk on Water. (Not Rated) A thriller that addresses issues of intolerance, bigotry, forgiveness and identity, Israeli director Eytan Fox's follow-up to Yossi & Jagger is well acted and engrossing. Lior Ashkenazi plays Eyal, a steely Mossad agent ordered to track down and kill a former Nazi war criminal who has never been brought to justice. To do so, he must befriend the German's adult grandchildren: Pia (Carolina Peters), who lives on an Israeli kibbutz, and her brother Axel (Knut Berger), who is coming to Israel for a visit. At first surly and unsociable, Eyal discovers his preconceptions about them -- and about people in general, be they German, Palestinian or gay -- being called into question. All three characters are faced with daunting choices that raise issues of loyalty, betrayal, social responsibility and how one defines oneself as a human being. Well directed and edited, the film hits one glaringly false note: a happy ending tacked onto what obviously should have been the end. (Jean Oppenheimer)

XXX: State of the Union. (PG-13) In this sequel, Ice Cube steps into Vin Diesel's big ol' shoes as a criminal-turned-NSA field agent. Political intrigue (we assume)! Lotsa hijinx (we predict)! Things blow up real good (we guarantee)! (Not Reviewed)