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

Big Budget Films

The Duchess 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.

Directed by Saul Dibb (Bullet Boy) and based on the award winning Amanda Foreman biography, Georgiana: Duchess Of Devonshire, the film delves into the rebellious, tragic life of the brainy, gambling, hard drinking high-born Georgiana Spencer, who in the late 18th century entered into an arranged marriage as a sixteen year old to middle aged grouch, William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire. The blatant purpose of this cold, contractual matrimony was to produce a male heir of aristocratic blood for the incorrigible womanizer, much to Georgiana’s dismay, a union embodying about as much passion as horse breeding.

Read the full review of The Duchess by Prairie Miller.

The Duchess is rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and mature themes.

Appaloosa Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris co-star in this Western in which a couple of gunslingers are hired to rescue a lawless desert town that is being terrorized by a renegade rancher, played by Jeremy Irons.

If the classic western genre is more about talking hot topic issues today than anything else, then Appaloosa may be said to be less about macho oneupmanship than homoerotic guy bonding in collision with lady lust. Ed Harris reunites with his History Of Violence co-star Viggo Mortensen and directs Appaloosa, as they horse around – no pun intended – while earnestly going about righting all wrongs in the arid jungle atmosphere of the Wild West.

Read the full review of Appaloosa.

Appaloosa is rated R for both violence and profanity.

Ghost Town is a romantic comedy starring Ricky Gervais who plays a nerdy dentist with the ability to see dead people. He is pressured by a ghost, played by Greg Kinnear, to help sabotage the impending remarriage of his widow, played by Tea Leoni. Ghost Town is rated PG-13 for sexuality, profanity and drug references.

What happens to you when you die? Perhaps you remain on Earth a tortured soul unable to rest in peace until you resolve all of your unfinished business. This is the sort of limbo Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) has found himself stuck in for over a year following his untimely demise on the streets of Manhattan. Read the full Ghost Town review.

Ghost Town
Ghost Town

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 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.

Never one to shy away from controversial characters, Samuel L. Jackson stars in the interracial mating thriller, Lakeview Terrace. He plays Abel, a cop who goes ballistic when a racially mixed couple moves in next door.

Read the interview of Sam Jackson, by Prairie Miller.

Lakeview Terrace is rated PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, mature themes, violence and drug references.

My Best Friend’s Girl is a 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.

It is a rancid Knocked Up knockoff in giddy romantic comedy clothing, My Best Friend’s Girl continues this trend in both movies and election season politics of degrading high achiever women potentially upstaging men.

Read the full review of My Best Friend’s Girl.

My Best Friend’s Girl is rated R for nudity, graphic dialogue and pervasive profanity and sexuality.

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, our chief critic. Kam gives his unvarnished opinion on movies, DVDs and books, plus many in-depth and revealing celebrity interviews. Sadly, Lloyd Kam Williams passed away in 2019, leaving behind a huge body of work focused on America's black entertainment community. We were as sad to hear of his passing as we were overjoyed to have him as part of our team.