Katrin Cartlidge

Katrin Cartlidge

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Breaking The Waves Review


Good
Lars von Trier knows weird and creepy. In northern Scotland, a woman (Watson) pines away in prayer for her husband (Skarsgård), who is offshore on an oil rig. When he is knocked into vegetable-land in an accident, he asks her to have sex with other men since he is unable to do so. Things get more and more deviant, while Watson's religious fervor gets more and more pronounced. Keep your eyes open -- despite an ass-numbing length (just shy of 3 hours), Watson's Oscar-nominated performance and a goose-bump-raising tale make Breaking the Waves a rare creepfest.

Claire Dolan Review


Weak
A clinically austere art house film, Claire Dolan is Lodge Kerrigan's follow-up to the rigorous Clean, Shaven. He opens with cool, carefully composed images of impassive skyscrapers, a hollow wind whistling through, before moving to the reticent, emotionally disconnected title character.

Claire Dolan (Katrin Cartlidge, Naked) is a high priced prostitute, so down on her luck she phones her johns from a pay phone. "I miss you. I want to see you. I really want you inside me. I can be there in ten minutes." All her human interaction is reduced to a minimalist bargaining of her goods for exchange.

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No Man's Land Review


Good
Patton would have been disgusted.

Modern wars (at least, those not involving the U.S.) aren't fought man to man, or even tank to tank. They're fought in the dead of night, when everyone thinks the United Nations "peacekeepers" aren't watching. By day, the U.N. "smurfs" (so called because of their ridiculous blue helmets) try in vain to broker half-assed ceasefires between sides that have extremely complicated reasons for fighting and have little respect for the men in blue.

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The Cherry Orchard Review


Good
Actors understandably welcome the opportunity to perform Chekhov, whose plays are painfully funny in their quiet observation of human folly. In Uncle Vanya and The Three Sisters, we recognize some part of ourselves. Renowned director Michael Cacoyannis, who helmed Zorba the Greek in 1964, assembles a powerhouse international cast for his screen interpretation of The Cherry Orchard, including Alan Bates (Gosford Park), Katrin Cartlidge (Breaking the Waves), and Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures). That great horror actor Michael Gough is well typecast as an ancient butler, and grand dame Charlotte Rampling's timeless iconic presence lends itself beautifully to the tragic Madame Lyubov Andreyevna Raneskaya.

Despite the remarkable assemblage of talent, Cacoyannis' Cherry Orchard feels self-aware of adapting a renowned classic from stage to screen. The cinematography is handsome and stately, but more appropriate to the colorful orchards and vast family estate, the 1900 costumes, the theatrical entrances and exits, than to the intimacy of Chekhov's vivid characters. (It almost makes one long for the hand-held documentary treatment of Louis Malle's seminal Vanya on 42nd Street.) The stylistic choices here take a while to get used to, especially during a drawn-out prologue, absent in the original text, as Madame Lyubov and her buoyant teenage daughter Anna (Tushka Bergen) make elaborate preparations to return to their Russian estate after a self-imposed exile. Some may be exhausted by this Masterpiece Theater treatment (lingering over every piece of luggage) before Chekhov's social entanglements kick in -- which happens shortly after the dozen major characters have assembled at their estate.

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The Lost Son Review


OK
Forget 8MM. The Lost Son's look at a troubled P.I. who gets caught up in what turns out to be a nasty child prostitution ring is exceptional considering it's barely anything more than a direct-to-video thriller packed with stars that barely speak English.

French ¾ber-actor Daniel Auteuil stars as Xavier, an investigator with a seedy past -- he's had a mysterious scrape or two, and now, to get by, he does double time, accepting money for an engagement only to blackmail the subject for more. When a wealthy woman (Nastassja Kinski) and her family hire Xavier to find a grown man who's gone missing, Xavier ends up cracking a child porn gang wide open.

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Naked Review


OK
Call me a heathen and a lout, but Naked put me to sleep. Twice.

Back in 1993, the film was one of the first I tried to professionally review. I never did write it. I fell asleep in the movie theater. In 1998 I tried to watch it again on video. I awoke to static late that night after the tape ran out. I'd zonked out right on the couch.

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Hotel Splendide Review


OK
A cross between Delicatessen and The Road to Wellville, this bizarro flick puts Toni Collette in the role of a reluctant chef at a "resort" situated on a muddy "lake" and devoted to fetishism and overboiled-food to cure its patients of whatever ills them. The laughs come at the expense of a kooky cast of misfits -- unfortunately we're laughing at them, not with them. The movie's attempts at being serious, via the stern looks on Collette's face in opposition to the clearly unhealthy surroundings, come off as shallow -- and jeez, what's with that haircut??? So-so, but Delicatessen does this twice as well and with more flair.

Searching for Debra Winger Review


OK
It's either sad or interesting or -- something -- when the only man in a movie is Roger Ebert. Rosanna Arquette, tired of hearing that old aphorism that there are no good parts for women in Hollywood, takes up a video camera and records interviews with some three dozen actresses at various ages. (The title invokes Debra Winger's recent retirement and reclusiveness -- though since this film she returned to the cinema.)

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Hi-Life Review


Grim
One guy (Scott) goes bar-hopping in New York, trying to raise $900 because some jerk (Stoltz) has to pay off a gambling debt. About as exciting as it sounds.

The Weight Of Water Review


OK

Director Kathryn Bigelow may produce broad, middling big-budget fare when she has a studio breathing down her neck and a big-name star to appease, as she did in this summer's Harrison Ford submarine thriller "K-19: The Widowmaker." But left to her own devices, she's capable of creating fine layers of intimacy and intensity, as she does in "The Weight of Water."

The film, released two years ago in Europe, is a character-driven dual narrative -- the story of a troubled couple spending a tense working vacation on a sailboat with the husband's brother and his enticing girlfriend, and the story of a century-old murder on the New England island where they're anchored.

The wife Jean (played by the wonderfully nuanced and inconspicuously beautiful Catherine McCormack) is an intellectual photographer whose assignment to take pictures of the island and the murder site for a magazine story is the reason for their trip, and the movie's passport into the past. The husband Thomas (a complicated, imaginative and sullen Sean Penn), is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who some years ago stopped picking up his pen and started tipping back the bottle. Their normally steadfast but strained relationship is put particularly on edge by the company they're keeping on this trip.

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From Hell Review


Weak

A vivid yet distinctly fictitious recreation of the crime-plagued gutters of 19th Century London, the Jack the Ripper thriller "From Hell" is quite a homage to the dense graphic novel from which it was spawned.

It's nothing if not atmospheric, what with its opulently dingy, blood-red set dressings, its pinched-cheek and cheap-corset prostitutes, and its opium- and absinthe-addicted hero -- an unorthodox Scotland Yard Inspector named Abberline (Johnny Depp in lambchop sideburns) who discovers dangerous secrets in the Ripper's ritualized killings.

The film's talented directors -- brothers Allen and Albert Hughes ("Menace II Society," "Dead Presidents"), definitively demonstrating there's more to them than ghetto fare -- blend quite a transporting concoction with their viscous visuals, menacing moodiness, puzzling plot and heady performances.

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No Man's Land Review


Excellent

War movies have a tendency to be grandiose and didactic ("Saving Private Ryan"), action-packed and heroic ("Behind Enemy Lines"), maudlin and self-important ("Life Is Beautiful") -- or some combination thereof. But "No Man's Land" is none of the above, and above them all in its brilliant, unpretentious simplicity.

A small-scale battlefield farce, it speaks volumes about the absurdities of modern ethnic conflicts in the age of ever-present but under-effective UN Peacekeepers -- and it does so without soap box speeches, overblown battle sequences or playing any metaphorical violins.

Bosnian writer-director Danis Tanovic boils down the ironic truths of centuries-old enmity in his homeland and presents them in a meaningfully funny story about two soldiers from opposite sides of the war, trapped together between enemy lines in an abandoned trench.

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Katrin Cartlidge

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