Sean Connery, Gillian Anderson, Angelina Jolie et al pursue love in all the right places. Reminiscent of Magnolia--intersecting stories, death and love figure prominently. But Magnolia was really about fathers, and this is really about love, and what it has to say about love is awfully trite and obvious, for all the nice acting in it. And did we really need to repurpose "talking about music is like dancing about architecture" into "talking about love is like dancing about architecture"? Although the eventual revelation about Dennis Quaid's character is a bit cheesy, the annoying part is that it really doesn't explain his actions--it's an excuse for his actions, but his actions were more limited and specific than the explanation would lead you to expect. Hand of the screenwriter showing, I guess. Rating (-4 to 4): -2
Eyes Wide Shut
Tom Cruise is drawn into a secret world after his wife admits to fantasizing about another man. Yawn. The secret world is so implausible, the exchange where the guy is trying to scare him and then backs off and says no no, it was all an act, and we're left with no firm answer--it comes across as if the movie wants to be ambiguous, but oh, wait, how about the fact we broke into your apartment and went into your bedroom? Also, so many people spoke so slowly towards the beginning, because they were drunk or stoned. It was a bore. Rating (-4 to 4): -1
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
Pedro Almodovar's spanish-language movie with Anotonio Banderas as a creepy sorta-stalker who kidnaps a B-movie actress and tries to convince her to marry him. Funny, wacky, charming, and most of the details have slipped out of my mind now. Rating (-4 to 4): 2
When their semi-retired-spy parents are kidnapped, two kids hit the road to try to rescue them. Robert Rodriguez shows again (as in Four Rooms and his shorts) how good he is at working with kids and letting them be the leads. That said, despite the two films having directors with the same initials, this is no Stand By Me. There's impressive production value at the beginning, but after that things evolve into a mostly-limited production style, with a fair amount of special effects thrown in. The story is pretty dopey, the limited character arcs laughable. Argh. Rating (-4 to 4): -2