James' Journey to Jerusalem Ra'anan Alexandrowicz. (unrated) If this film is intended as a critique of contemporary Israeli society, it does a masterful job. If it is meant to depict Israelis in the least flattering light possible, it also does a masterful job; who needs The Passion of the Christ? This debut feature from Israeli director Ra'anan Alexandrowicz follows a religious-minded young African (the eponymous James, played by South African actor Siyabonga Melongisi Shibe) who travels to Israel in search of the biblical Holy Land, expecting to find vats of milk and honey and all things good. Instead, he is immediately thrown into jail by immigration authorities, then "purchased" by an unscrupulous businessman who basically enslaves illegals. Too naive to understand what is happening to him, James assumes this is just a test that God is putting him through. Soon enough, however, he adopts the heartless, materialistic mindset around him. A damning critique of Israel -- and, by extension, Western society in general. Opens Friday, May 21, at the Tivoli. (Jean Oppenheimer)
Monty Python's Life of Brian Terry Jones. (R) Opens Friday, May 21, at the Hi-Pointe. Reviewed in this issue.
Shrek 2 Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon. (PG) Opens Friday, May 21, at multiple locations. Reviewed in this issue.