The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
Where: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C.
What: Jet Li stars in a period martial arts film -- in 3D and IMAX!
Why Go: Director Tsui Hark is a master filmmaker from Hong Kong (Once Upon a Time in China) who has enjoyed a recent resurgence in his long career, thanks to the success of Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame. And, in the words of Asian film expert Grady Hendrix: “The action is a nonstop waterfall of mayhem, every five minutes something brand new is happening, the characters are carved onto the screen with bold strokes of the sword, and the pure energy, invention and imagination on display feels like getting struck by lightning in your seat, over and over again.” So, yes, there’s that, plus Jet Li too!
For a Good Time, Call …
Where: Limited release in multiple cities nationwide.
What: Two women team up to launch a phone-sex business.
Why Go: “A hilariously filthy sex comedy” is how our own Erik Davis described the movie when he saw it at Sundance earlier this year. He says that there’s “tremendous chemistry” between costars Ari Graynor and Lauren Miller, and concludes: “Wildly crass, and yet sweet as an apple pie, it's the kind of discovery that makes you fall in love with the genre all over its face again, and again... and again.” Justin Long, Mark Webber and Nia Vardalos also star.
More: Erik’s review.
The Tall Man
Where: New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.
What: Children are disappearing from a small town, and a mysterious stranger is blamed.
Why Go: Jessica Biel stars in the new thriller from Pascal Laugier, the director of the controversial Martyrs. Biel is very good, and the films begins on a very promising note, but too quickly gets bogged down in a static drama. “Laugier’s toiling with the seed of a good idea and interesting moral questions,” reported John Gholson’s in his review from SXSW, “but his own commitment to constructing the first half like a horror film (despite it not really being a horror film) leads to pacing issues as the film progresses.”
More: John’s capsule review.
DVD Pick of the Week
What: “A teacher and his students learn from one another in the wake of a tragedy.”
Why See It: Nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film, Monsieur Lazhar begins with a young boy’s horrifying discovery of a teacher who has committed suicide in a school classrom. Her replacement, an experienced Algerian instructor, must deal not only with the lingering grief of the young students, but also the cultural and educational differences between Algeria and Canada. This very sensitive and touching drama is served up with restraint and understanding, and is well worth a rental or possibly a purchase.
Where/When: New York on Wednesday September 5, then expands.
What: Aspiring Russian models compete for the opportunity to move forward with their careers in the cutthroat fashion industry.
Why We Want to See It: David Redmon and Ashley Sabin are excellent documentary filmmakers (Kamp Katrina, Intimidad) who share an acute eye for observation and a strong sense of story and character. Their latest collaboration explores the exploitation of young women “on a deeper psycho-emotional level,” says Jenn Brown at Slackerwood. “Motivations are obscured and rationalized, making it impossible for an adult to navigate, let alone pubescent girls.” That’s typical of the positive reviews the film has received, making it a must-see when it opens.