Born Into Brothels. (Not Rated) Opens Friday, March 4, at the Tivoli. Reviewed in this issue.
The Films of Doug Hawes-Davis and Drury Gunn Carr. (Not Rated) This program's four documentaries are securely anchored in an ecological perspective, three directly and the fourth indirectly. Of those previewed, Libby, Montana stands out for the deeply tragic events that unfolded in this northwestern Montana town, which has been called the most toxic place in the United States. Best known for its logging industry, Libby also was home to a mine and, the horrific asbestos contamination brought widespread suffering and death. This Is Nowhere consists of interviews with a few of the estimated 2.8 million people living full-time in motor homes and parking for free overnight in Wal-Mart lots. The travelers say everyone has a story, but none regales us here, and there's too smug a superiority to these "real folks" who champion Wal-Mart's "progress" across America, replacing local businesses and bulldozing terrain. With Nowhere, "The Naturalist" profiles Kent Bonar, "the John Muir of the Ozarks." But this half-hour consists of too many testimonials instead of details of his genius and peculiarities. Varmints screens Friday, March 4, at 7 p.m.; This Is Nowhere and "The Naturalist" screen Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m.; and Libby, Montana screens Sunday, March 6, at 7 p.m. Hawes-Davis conducts a Q&A after each screening; call 314-968-7487 for more information. The Hawes-Davis workshop is Saturday, March 5, at 1 p.m. in Room 123 of the Sverdrup Business and Technology Complex, 8300 Big Bend Blvd. To make your free reservation, call 314-361-8870, ext. 229, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Diane Carson)
The Jacket. (R) Committed in 1992 to an insane asylum for a murder he probably didn't commit but can't really remember, Jack Starks (Adrien Brody) is treated with an experimental technique in which he's shot full of drugs, placed in a musty old straitjacket, and shoved in a mortuary drawer for an extended period of time. And then the high concept happens: Starks wakes up in what he will later discover is 2007, standing outside a diner in a snowswept landscape. He meets a cute goth gal (Keira Knightley) who seems strangely drawn to him and connected to his past. But he can't be Starks, she insists, because Starks died not long after he was committed. His death, then, is imminent, unless he can figure out how it happened and whether there's any way to prevent it. Directed by John Maybury (Love Is the Devil), The Jacket is this year's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- come next year, people will be saying it was robbed of Oscar nominations. Opens Friday, March 4, at multiple locations. (Luke Y. Thompson)
The Pacifier. (PG) Kindergarten Cop meets Sound of Music, filtered through the Hulk Hogan movie Mr. Nanny. The formula, by now so overused it's actually formless, is pure Disney: At the beginning, a scientist is rescued by Navy S.E.A.L. Shane Wolfe (Vin Diesel), then promptly executed off screen; he's Bambi's mother, cannon fodder whose death sets the plot in motion. But the plot is merely a math equation: Five kids + one tough bastard = group hug before closing credits. There are variables, of course -- the casting of poor Carol Kane as a Slavic nanny, and Brad Garrett as the mean-spirited vice principal -- but the answer is always the same. The Pacifier will perhaps be remembered as the first family comedy in which the North Koreans show up as the bad guys. Also, for the kids, there are several uses of the word "hell," the discovery of a swastika armband in a high school locker, and a scene in which an underage driver leads cops on a high-speed chase through a residential neighborhood. Opens Friday, March 4, at multiple locations. (Robert Wilonsky)