Film Clips

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  • Monday, March 3, 2008 10:01am

‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ (PG) — Fans of Douglas Adams’ cult science fiction novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and its far-out sequels have been waiting 25 years for a big screen adaptation. They’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. From one of the most stunningly orchestrated opening sequences in recent memory, “Hitchhiker” plunges right into matters both superfluous and the profound. It’s quirky, sentimental and often hilarious. Adams’ last vision of his galaxy is quite a ride. (Reviewed April 29)

Fever Pitch (PG-13) — Romance, baseball, the romance of baseball, “Fever Pitch” has it all. Who could have imagined that this romantic comedy was directed by the same team who brought us “Something About Mary” and “Dumb and Dumber”? The Farrelly brothers’ approach to filmmaking continues to mellow as they move further into middle age. Mostly gone are their trademark gross outs and sophomoric humor. The absence is definitely felt, but what that has been replaced by is a sentimentality that enriches their characters. (Reviewed April 8)

Beauty Shop (PG-13) — “Beauty Shop” is no “Steel Magnolias.” Yes, it takes place in a beauty salon in the South where women gossip and muse about life while having their hair coaxed into gravity-defying coiffures. That’s where the similarity ends. Instead, this feminist spin-off of the “Barbershop” movie series makes an admirable attempt at dissecting class and race issues from a female perspective, while offering some pointed humor and a dose of humanity along the way. (Reviewed April 1)

The Ring Two (PG-13) — Hideo Nakata, the director of the original Japanese horror film trilogy that “The Ring” is based on, takes the reigns here in his American debut. While Gore Verbinski’s direction took the first film into surreal, atmospheric territory (assisted beautifully by a dank, oppressive Puget Sound landscape), Nakata guides this film with a more subtle hand. The scares are there, but the suspense is pervasive, saturating every scene long before you notice that the carpeting is soaked with brackish well water. (Reviewed March 18)

Be Cool (PG-13) — It doesn’t pack the same punch as “Get Shorty,” but “Be Cool” is oddly appealing. Director F. Gary Gray and screenwriter Peter Steinfeld are able to harness Elmore Leonard’s characters as they are in his novels, where they live in the gray-area between hero and villain – slick and complicated, shrewdly flawed. The film is at its funniest when it takes a self-mocking tone in referencing movie and music industry clichés. (Reviewed March 4)

Million Dollar Baby (PG-13) — Clint Eastwood’s bittersweet tale is not so much about the brutality and beauty of boxing as it is the brutality and beauty in life. Eastwood guides his characters – including his own – through their journey together with great tenderness and respect, to a deeply affecting and haunting conclusion. Its power remains long after leaving the theater. (Reviewed Jan. 7)

The Aviator (PG-13) — Leonardo DiCaprio is an interesting choice to fill the role of eccentric industrialist Howard Hughes, but director Martin Scorsese supplies more questions than answers about the enigmatic Hughes. Ultimately the film reads as a variation on the great American tragedy. Cate Blanchett gives a remarkable performance as Katharine Hepburn, while Kate Beckinsale manages to recover some of her acting credibility as the sensual Ava Gardner. (Reviewed Dec. 24)

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