Beyond Borders. Martin Campbell. In theory, this two-hour promo reel for the U.N. has everything it takes to be a hit: a female lead (Angelina Jolie) who's a huge star, a male lead (Croupier's Clive Owen) with a cult following, gorgeous locations, a soundtrack that tells you when you're supposed to cry, a socially relevant plot and equal doses of action (for the guys) and doomed romance (for the gals). Balancing the ingredients is tougher than it looks, though -- no one's nailed it quite like James Cameron did with Titanic. Women who like epic romances may flinch at the number of times infants are thrown in harm's way, and men who like action movies may find more crying than they're comfortable with. Jolie plays a civic-minded American torn between the two extremes of British manhood: uptight yet mildly pleasant Henry (Linus Roache) and roughneck Nick (Owen), who travels the world and says "bollocks" a lot. Director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye) has so much fun blowing stuff up that it's hard to take the movie's conscience seriously. Opens Friday, October 24, at multiple locations. (Luke Y. Thompson)
Radio. Mike Tollin. Opens Friday, October 24, at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.
Scary Movie 3. David Zucker. The third installation in the Scary Movie triumvirate features send-ups of The Ring, Signs and The Matrix: Reloaded. Yes, as long as there are successful sci-fi/horror films, there will be another Scary Movie following close behind, with all of its attendant bathroom jokes. The upside: This may be the only film in history to cast George Carlin, Jenny McCarthy and three members of the Wu Tang Clan. Opens Friday, October 24, at multiple locations. NR
September 11: 11'9"01. It was wise to wait two years to release this collection of eleven shorts, each eleven minutes, nine seconds and one frame in length; even now, it's hard to imagine the viewer whose gut will remain unwrenched. Emphasizing the global impact of the event even before the retaliatory bombs began falling, these films come from all over the world, from the likes of Claude Lelouch (France), Danis Tanovic (Bosnia), Samira Makhmalbaf (Iran), Youssef Chahine (Egypt) and more. Most are intimate tales, like Sean Penn's magic-realist portrait of a grieving widower played by Ernest Borgnine, or Mira Nair's fact-based account of a missing Muslim initially tarred as a terrorist and then buried a hero. Some even find room for whimsy: Idrissa Ouedraogo offers us a group of young West African boys determined to capture Bin Laden by themselves. But staged drama pales in the face of Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu's mostly black screen, backed with actual audio from the news that day and interspersed with the occasional real falling body. Opens Friday, October 24, at the Tivoli. (Luke Y. Thompson)
Sylvia. Christine Jeffs. Opens Friday, October 24, at the Plaza Frontenac. Reviewed this issue.