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Friday, April 29, 2005

Short Takes: April 29, 2005


Cabin Fever

Director: Eli Roth
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Five teenagers are spending a weekend at a cabin in the woods, but things take a bad turn when a man covered in blood suddenly appears. Soon after, a strange skin rash surfaces on one of the teens. Afraid of being infected, the others isolate her, but it's not long before they all find themselves threatened by this unknown flesh-eating virus. A throwback to the B-grade horror flicks of the '80s, this low-budget film, directed by a former assistant of David Lynch, performed well at the U.S. box office.


Constantine

Director: Francis Lawrence
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

The forces of heaven and hell are fighting over the souls of humans in this adaptation of the comic book "Hellblazer" -- and it seems that hell has a slight lead. Constantine (Keanu Reeves), an exorcist bound for hell because he attempted suicide, must fight evil to get a passage to heaven. When a police officer (Rachel Weisz) asks him to help her look into the death of her twin sister, they find more than they expected.


Hollywood Ending

Director: Woody Allen
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Woody Allen is at his most Allen-esque in this story of Val Waxman (Allen), an aging, cranky N.Y. film director who gets another shot at the big time. It's his ex-wife, Ellie (Tea Leoni), now engaged to a smooth, tanned film exec, who gets him the job. Val disapproves of her new L.A. lifestyle ("I don't talk to people who have their own herbalists!"), but he also can't help noticing how much he enjoys being with her. While making a hit movie would have been the ideal way of getting her back, Val hits a snag: He goes blind. This being an Allen movie, the symptoms are purely psychosomatic and Val's shrink advises him to work out his relationships first if he wants to regain his eyesight. (Kaori Shoji)


Rinjin 13-go

Director: Yasuo Inoue
Language: Japanese
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

Juzo is a gentle, quiet young man, but his alter ego is a savage character who calls himself 13-go (No. 13). Juzo was brutally bullied by classmates in his childhood; 10 years later, 13-go is ready for revenge. Juzo joins the company of one of the bullies. As 13-go frequently comes to the fore of his psyche, Juzo gradually loses control. Based on the comic book written by Santa Inoue. Screenings with English subtitles will be shown at Cine Quinto from May 7 at 7:40 p.m.


Shall We Dance

Director: Peter Chelsom
Language: English
Currently showing
[See Japan Times movie listings]

In the Japanese original, Masayuki Suo paired a ballroom dancer and a tired salaryman in a quintessential Japanese romance. In the Hollywood remake, Richard Gere plays the corporate drone, aching for a bit of joie de vivre and Jennifer Lopez plays his dance teacher/object of desire. The original actors, Koji Yakusho and Tamiyo Kusakari, were able to evoke that tired, unspoken melancholia, but Gere looks like he's never boarded a crowded commuter train in his life and J. Lo is excessively icy and unbending (even on the dance floor). The chemistry is the wrong kind -- the steamy, sexy, manufactured-in-Hollywood kind -- and negates everything that made the original so sweet and endearing. (Kaori Shoji)



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