Kam’s Kapsules: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun, September 19, 2008

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Big Budget Films

Appaloosa (R for violence and profanity) Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris co-star in this Western about a couple of gunslingers hired to rescue a lawless desert town being terrorized by a renegade rancher (Jeremy Irons).

The Duchess (PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and mature themes) Keira Knightley handles the title role in this costume drama chronicling the life and times of 18th Century British aristocrat, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, whose unhappy marriage to a flagrant philanderer (Ralph Fiennes) became the subject of public scandal. Cast includes Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper and Hayley Atwell.

Ghost Town

Ghost Town (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity and drug references) Romantic comedy starring Ricky Gervais as a nerdy dentist with the ability to see dead people who is pressured by a ghost (Greg Kinnear) to help sabotage his widow’s (Tea Leoni) impending remarriage.

Igor (PG for scary images, mature themes, action and mild epithets) John Cusack plays the title character in this animated comedy about a hunchbacked lab assistant to a mad scientist who has dreams of winning first prize in the annual Evil Science Fair. Voice cast includes John Cleese, Jennifer Coolidge, Jay Leno, Steve Buscemi, Arsenio Hall, Molly Shannon Eddie Izzard and Sean Hayes.

Lakeview Terrace (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, mature themes, violence and drug references) Psychological thriller with Samuel L. Jackson as an LAPD cop who decides to harass the newlyweds (Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson) next-door because he disapproves of their interracial marriage.

My Best Friend’s Girl (R for nudity, graphic dialogue and pervasive profanity and sexuality) Romantic comedy about a just-dumped loser (Jason Biggs) who hires his best friend (Dane Cook) to date his ex (Kate Hudson) with the hope that she’ll wise-up and realize what a big mistake she made. Cast includes Alec Baldwin and Lizzy Caplan.

Independent & Foreign Films

All of Us (Unrated) AIDS documentary chronicles the efforts of Ethiopia-born Mehret Mandefro, a young, Harvard-trained M.D., to determine why her black female patients in the South Bronx are becoming infected with HIV at an alarming rate.

Battle for Seattle (R for profanity and violence) Political docudrama recreates the chaos which transpired during the five days of street protests by anarchists, pacifists, labor organizers and consumer advocates outside the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization. Cast includes Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Woody Harrelson, Andre Benjamin, Channing Tatum, Michelle Rodriguez and Connie Nielsen.

Elite Squad (R for graphic violence, pervasive profanity and drug use)

Action thriller, set in Rio de Janeiro in 1997, revolving around a couple of idealistic police recruits (Caio Jungueira and Andre Remiro) assigned to rid a dangerous slum of drug dealers prior to the Pope’s impending visit. (In Portuguese with subtitles)

Fraulein (In German, Croatian and Swiss-German) Character-driven drama, set in Zurich, Switzerland, examines the diverging fortunes there of three female immigrants (Ljubica Jovic, Mirjana Karanovic and Marija Skaricic) from the Balkanized state formerly known as Yugoslavia.

Hounddog (R for sexuality and the rape of a young girl) Dysfunctional family drama, set in rural Alabama in the late Fifties, revolving around a young girl (Dakota Fanning) whose obsession with Elvis Presley serves as an avenue of emotional escape from an abusive home life shared with an incapacitated father (Daddy Morse) and a strict, religious grandmother (Piper Laurie). With Robin Wright Penn, Afemo Omilami and Jill Scott as Big Mama Thornton.

Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient (Unrated) Variety’s chief film critic, Todd McCarthy, directs this bio-pic about his influential French colleague, Pierre Rissient, a fixture at Cannes for over fifty years. Featuring appearances by Clint Eastwood, Claude Chabrol and Werner Herzog. (In English, French and Mandarin in subtitles)

Quilombo Country (Unrated) Historical documentary, narrated by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, examines the creation of communities by runaway slaves in Brazil and the continued discrimination in the country along color and class lines.

Virtual JFK: Vietnam if Kennedy Had Lived (Unrated) Via the magic of archival footage, this quasi-documentary by first-time director Koji Masutani speculates about the direction that America’s foreign policy would have taken in terms of Southeast Asia, had President Kennedy not been assassinated.

Kam Williams is a popular and top NewsBlaze reviewer, who gives his unvarnished opinion on movies, DVDs and books, plus many in-depth and revealing celebrity interviews.