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The tale of an inner-city, New York, Samurai warrior by Jim Jarmusch
This new film, written and directed by the Dean of Independent film makers ("Down by Law," "Night on Earth," and "Dead Man," just to name a few of his masterpieces), is a WONDERFUL, entertaining, and powerful work about a New York City inner city young man, played marvellously by Forest Whitaker, who studies and lives the way of the ancient Samurai warriors. He has adopted the role of retainer to a minor mob boss, whose orders he carries out with flawless precision. Jarmusch once again pairs up with cinematographer Robby Muller, with the predictable result that the film is visually magnificent. In typical Jarmusch fashion, the hip hop sound track (music by RZA) is also masterful. "Ghost Dog" is exciting, emotional (even touching), engaging, and, most unexpectedly, funny.
Cradle Will Rock (1999)
Gripping, emotional new movie by Tim Robbins
This new release, written and directed by Tim Robbins, is a must-see! Based on a "mostly true" story of the W.P.A. Federal Theatre Project in the early thirties, the beginnings of Congressional anti-communist hysteria, and the production of Marc Blitzstein's musical, "The Cradle Will Rock," the movie chronicles a turbulent moment in American history. It is uplifted by superb performances by Hank Azariah, Ruben Blades, Joan Cusack, John Cusack, Cary Elwes, Angus MacFadyen, Bill Murray, Vanessa Redgrave, Susan Sarandon, John Turturro, Emily Watson, and others; it very effectively uses some of Blitzstein's original songs; while intensely serious, it is, at times, very funny; and it is masterfully directed. The ending is grippingly emotional and moving.
Turturro's must-see new film
John Turturro's new film, "Illuminata," is a truly beautiful, sensitive, touching, loving, and quite funny look at the doings --on stage and off-- of a-turn-of-the-century theatre company. John Turturro produced, directed, wrote (with Brandon Cole), and stars in this exquisite film that also features a stellar performance by Katherine Borowitz, and great work by Susan Sarandon, and Christopher Walken. "Illuminata" is a masterpiece --and it is most unusual in everything from its pacing to its gorgeous cinematography.
Twin Falls Idaho (1999)
Touching but strange story about love, dependency, and loss
This first film by director Michael Polish is an unusually well-done, successful work. The strangeness of the story line --a prostitute arrives at a hotel room only to find her trick is a pair of Siamese twins-- gives no hint of the tender, moving, human drama that unfolds in the movie. Written and acted by the Polish brothers (identical twins, themselves), this is a visually beautiful, artistic masterpiece.
Hilarious French black comedy
Francois Ozon's latest film is a disturbingly funny, hilariously unsettling black comedy. Done in mocking emulation of the flat, situation comedy style of American television, the film shows a series of moments in the life of an all-but-ordinary French family.
Gods and Monsters (1998)
drama of love, friendship, and art of the creator of the Frankenstein movies
A lovely, poignant film by Bill Condon about the creator/director of the Frankenstein movies, James Whale. It features a tremendous performance by Ian McKellen as Whale, and a VERY unusual one by Lynn Redgrave. Don't be fooled by the horror movie connection; this is real human drama, extraordinarily well done.