His Secret Life. Ferzan Ozpetek. The title suggests melodrama, as does the fact that the story is about a woman who discovers that her late husband had a male lover. But Ozpetek has something far less feverish in mind in this thoughtful not-quite-romance. Our heroine (Margherita Buy) is a classic "good little girl." Intelligent, well-bred, serious (she's a respected physician), she's gone though life without ever having to ask a question. Her "rival," Michel (Stefano Accorsi), has had no such luck. But his anger at her prying into his world (a large extended "gay family") is quickly tempered as they both go through the grieving process. This is simply one of the best pictures, gay or straight, of the year. Opens Friday, January 10, for a one-week engagement at the Tivoli. (DE)
Just Married. Shawn Levy. Unlike many one-dimensional comedy leads, Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy both have talent and charisma, and they're about due for leading roles (Kutcher seems to have studied John Cleese in Fawlty Towers, which is always a good thing). Clearly, however, they're in no position to be picky, and even their charms can't quite save a honeymoon script that barely exists save for the usual "Europeans are different from us" gags cribbed from European Vacation and a bit with a dog directly lifted from There's Something About Mary. There are also two apparent running gags that are never funny in the least -- Sarah's mom is named Pussy, and every character in the movie remarks that our lead couple looks too young to be married. If there's anything valuable at all about Just Married, it's that the movie doesn't offer the usual happily ever after but, rather, points out that love can be difficult and your partner may at times piss you off more than anyone else in the world. Opens Friday, January 10, at multiple locations. (LYT)
The Pianist. Roman Polanski. Opens Friday, January 10. Reviewed this issue.
25th Hour. Spike Lee. Opens Friday, January 10. Reviewed this issue.