Love in the Time of Cholera: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s award-winning novel has been adapted into a film by director Mike Newell, and stars Javier Bardem and Benjamin Bratt. Thus far, the movie is getting pretty terrible reviews, shocking both because of the subject matter and talented director. Garcia Marquez (who is now eighty years old) apparently asked pop singer Shakira to provide two songs for the film. This explains the one new scene in which Fermina tells Fiorentino “you’re lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don’t confuse them with mountains” before ripping off her corset to expose a wet leather bra and tight pants. This is playing at the Pavilion.
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium: Did the title of this movie really have to rhyme? And an emporium? When I hear the word emporium, I don’t think of an FAO Schwartz style toy store, I think of a large warehouse that sells discount furniture. All the rhyming does is add to the cutesiness, which star Nathalie “if I keep talking with a baby voice I’ll be young forever!” Portman already supplies. Dustin Hoffman stars as the titular store owner who decides to retire, making the magical toys throw temper tantrums. Jason Bateman, who thus far has not gotten the post-Arrested Development career he deserves, stars as an accountant. The only way this movie could look more annoying would be if Robin Williams provided the voices of all the toys. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street and the Pavilion.
Beowulf: While some people think this is going to be a huge hit, I’m (Brooklyn) skeptical. You’ve probably heard of the epic poem Beowulf, either by browsing through passages in a translation or having some douchey English major hit on you by saying they enjoy reading the whole thing in Old English. Either way, you might have thought it strange as well when Robert Zemeckis decided to adapt it to his Polar Express-style of animation, where the characters look so similar to real life that you wonder why they didn’t just film it in live action. While it’s garnering some decent reviews so far, I might still wait for DVD. It’s playing at the United Artists on Court Street and the Pavilion.
Redacted: Brian De Palma’s new film about the Iraq war is already causing an uproar with the conservative right, especially with talk show host Bill O’Reilly. The film is described as a “fictional story inspired by true events,” but also contains documentary footage. Whether you want to stand outside and picket the film as Mr. O’Reilly suggests, or you have the good sense to watch the film before protesting, it is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.
Margot at the Wedding: Filmed in Long Island this time instead of Baumbach’s native Brooklyn, Margot at the Wedding is the story of a writer who decides to attend her younger sister’s wedding to an oafish, unemployed artist. The film stars Nicole Kidman, Jack Black and Baumbach’s actual wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh. While it is so far not getting the same praise that The Squid and the Whale received, I’m going to make this my pick of the week. Also recommended: Baumbach’s Mr. Jealousy and Kicking and Screaming, which does not star Will Ferrell as a soccer coach. This is playing at the Angelika starting tomorrow, and BAM starting Wednesday, November 21st.
Southland Tales: Because I saw this on Wednesday I can officially say that it is definitely worth the price of admission. While you may be confused, frustrated and maybe a bit exasperated by the end, you will never be bored. Director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) tries to stuff far too much into this Los Angeles apocalypse sci-fi/action/comedy/drama/musical/clusterfuck but he does it will style and a giddy excitement that is refreshing. Any movie that features messianic figures, time travel, Jon Lovitz as a homicidal cop with bleached white hair, a floating ice cream truck, Christopher Lambert and Sarah Michelle Gellar as a porn star with a reality show is okay in my book. This is opening at the Angelika, but is also playing at the AMC on 19th and Broadway and the AMC on 84th Street.
No Country for Old Men begins at BAM tomorrow, and Bottle Rocket is the midnight movie at the Landmark Sunshine tomorrow night. Also, several films from the After Dark Horrorfest are playing at the AMC Loews Village 7. Tickets can be purchased on Fandango. Enjoy!