New reviews and special screenings

New reviews

Alien vs. Predator

Dir. & writ. Paul W.S. Anderson; feat. Sanna Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen (PG-13)

Alien vs. Predator is not so much a movie as a cool concept run into the ground, the sort of sci-fi fans' dream date that, in the hands of hack director/writer Paul W. S. Anderson, should have remained in the conceptual stages rather than tarnishing what was left of both of those '80s action icons. A group of well-financed adventurers go exploring an ancient ruin - part of the tired "chariots of the gods" premise which takes up the film's first act - buried thousands of feet under Antarctica's ice cap. While there, they inadvertently set loose what should be the biggest match-up since Ali vs. Fraizer between the two intergalactic species. Unlike that famed title bout, however, the surprisingly chaste, PG-13 rated AvP delivers nothing worthwhile beyond the hype. Whoever wins ... you lose. Alejandro Pérez

Rhys Ifans plays an ordinary bloke whose daydreaming leads to exotic travel and new love.
Danny Deckchair

Dir. & writ. Jeff Balsmeyer; feat. Rhys Ifans, Miranda Otto, Justin Clarke (PG-13)

An actual incident that might have made an anecdote on local Australian news has been inflated into a feature-length fable celebrating ordinary blokes. When Danny (Ifans), a bricklayer with extravagant dreams, attaches balloons to a backyard lawnchair, he floats free of his conniving wife (Clarke) and the city of Sydney. He falls to earth in remote, idyllic Clarke and into the arms of Glenda (Otto), a lovely meter maid. It is no surprise that Danny rejects the celebrity that his exploit earns and that Danny Deckchair never quite gets off the ground. — Steven G. Kellman

Special screenings

Do The Right Thing

Dir. and writ. Spike Lee; feat. Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, Giancarlo Esposito, Richard Edson, Bill Nunn (R)

Spike Lee's new movie, She Hate Me, is currently being greeted by some of the worst reviews the director has ever seen. That makes it an interesting time to revisit this, the movie that made Lee look like a filmmaker who could shake the world. Still his best, this 1989 stunner is set in a poor Brooklyn neighborhood on the hottest day of summer. Over the course of the day, racial tensions come to a boil and the personal becomes political. Mookie, a pizza delivery guy played by Lee, sits uncomfortably between his white employer and his black peers; the story builds to a wildly tense and truthfully ambiguous confrontation, and Lee depicts it with remarkable cinematic know-how. John DeFore

Do the Right Thing screens at 7:30pm, August 24 as part of Texas Public Radio's "Cinema Tuesdays" series, at the Bijou at Crossroads Theater. Admission is $10 members / $12 non-members. 614-8977 or for reservations.


Dir. Luis Buñuel; writ. Mercedes Pinto; feat. Arturo de Cordova, Delia Garces, Aurora Walker, Carlos Martinez (NR)

The psychological story of a man obsessed. Francisco, a wealthy, middle-aged man, marries a young woman and subsequently develops a paranoid obsession with her supposed infidelity. Though his passion starts to exhibit disturbing traits, his wife still meets with skepticism as she expresses her worries to their acquaintances. One of the great films from Buñuel's Mexican period, the black humor of El failed to be appreciated by critics at the time of its release. It is now considered one of the most representative of Buñel's personal mythology.

El screens at 4pm Sunday, August 22, and 7pm Wednesday, August 25 at the Instituto de México, 600 Hemisfair Park. Admission is free.

The Trial

Dir. Orson Welles; writ. Orson Welles, based on the novel by Franz Kafka; feat. Anthony Perkins, Arnoldo Foà, Jess Hahn, Billy Kearns (NR)

Josef K. wakes up to police entering his room; he is told he is on trial, though nobody will tell him the crime of which he is accused. He looks behind the façade of the judicial system in an attempt to profess his innocence, but the more he investigates the accusations, the farther he falls into a pit of bureaucratic red tape. There seems to be no chance for him to escape from this original Kafkaesque nightmare. — Nicole Chavez

The Trial screens at approximately 9pm, August 19 at the Slab across the street from La Tuna, 100 Probandt. Admission is free. For more information, call 212-9373.