New Movie Friday: Cannibals, Lesbians, Mobsters & Eddie Murphy
Mafioso - In 1962, a decade before The Godfather, Alberto Lattuada came out with this crime drama starring Alberto Sordi as a factory foreman who returns to his hometown of Sicily and is unwittingly pressed into service as a hitman for the local Don. Considered by many to be the first Italian movie to portray the modern Mafia, the film is noted for its faithful and darkly funny depiction of mob life.
Breaking and Entering - Anthony Minghella directs this artsy, foreign drama about a yuppie architect (Jude Law) who begins an affair with a Serbian refugee, Amira (Juliette Binoche) after he catches her son trying to break into his office. Robin Wright Penn plays Live, his long-suffering girlfriend.Hannibal Rising - This Silence of the Lambs prequel that traces Hannibal Lecter's formative years begins in WWII Lithuania as a young Lecter (Gaspard Ulliel), who sees his beloved younger sister, Mischa, killed by Nazis. He eventually escapes the orphanage he's trapped in and makes his way to Paris, where he is taken in by his uncle's widow (Gong Li). She sends him to medical school, and Hannibal begins plotting revenge against his sister's killers.
The Lives of Others - 1984 in East Berlin. A loyal officer of the Stasi (the feared East German secret police) is assigned to spy on a pair of prominent intellectuals, playwright Georg and his girlfriend, actress Christa-Maria. But the young officer gets drawn further and further into the lives of his subjects, provoking a crisis of conscience. Germany's entry in the Best Foreign Film category at the Oscars, this film swept the German movie awards.
Norbit - Eddie Murphy plays several roles in this film including the title character, Norbit, a milquetoast guy who spent his childhood in an orphanage/Chinese restaurant by Mr. Wong (Murphy) and as an adult is cowed into marriage by the hideous, obese Rasputia (also Murphy). When his childhood friend Kate returns all slim and beautiful, Norbit decides he must find a way to be with her.
Puccini for Beginners - An attempt at a Sapphic screwball comedy from director Maria Maggenti (Incredibly True Adventures of 2 Girls in Love ) about a recently dumped lesbian who somehow ends up dating a man and his ex-girlfriend at the same time. Unfortunately, the only time the film approaches Preston Sturges territory is when Tina Benko is on screen. Firing her dialogue like poison darts, she plays Nell, the heroine’s über-bitchy ex-girlfriend as a postmodern, lesbian version of Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve.
Samoan Wedding - Four thirty-something pranksters must each find a respectable date for an upcoming wedding. Wackiness ensues in this "urban romantic comedy that brings the humor, life and color of Polynesian culture to the big screen." This film was a wildly successful box office hit in its native New Zealand.
The Situation - Philip Haas (Angels and Insects) directs this thriller asset against the backdrop of the Iraq War. Connie Nielsen plays a journalist who begins an affair with an Iraqi photographer while she's investigating the death of two Iraqi boys at the hands of American soldiers.
An Unreasonable Man - A documentary about the career of Ralph Nader that spans his origin as a humble consumer advocate to his apex as presidential election spoiler to his third act as designated public pariah.