Tarnation Jonathan Caouette. (unrated) Opens Friday, December 3, at the Tivoli. Reviewed in this issue.
Warriors of Heaven and Earth Ping He. (R) It may be timed to capitalize on the popularity of Hero, but this is not the same kind of film. Honestly, the first half is a bit boring, but hang in there, and the payoff arrives. Lai Xi (Nakai Kiichi) is a soldier whose job it is not only to escort beautiful Wen Zhu (Zhao Wei) to the capital city, but also to track down and kill a deserter by the name of Butcher Li (Jiang Wen), who abandoned the army rather than kill innocent captives and is now guarding a supernatural artifact. Opposing both men is robber baron Master An (Wang Xueqi), who has the backing of the Turkish army to help him steal the artifact. Initially, the movie is reminiscent of a western, but then it shifts gears into swashbuckling mode and culminates in a good old-fashioned castle siege. Be patient with the slow setup -- it pays off. Opens Friday, December 3, at the Tivoli. (Luke Y. Thompson)