offers compelling performances
Brokeback Mountain is a place high in the mountains, outside of Signal, Wyoming. A place where two young cowboys are hired by a local rancher to summer-graze a massive herd of sheep. The pasture is big sky country, stunningly beautiful, wide grass covered valleys bordered by rising granite mountains, a place so remote that the only way to reach it is by horseback. It is also a place apart, where the exigencies of society, its mores, its restrictive judgments can be abandoned and life can be lived solely according to the rhythms of the day and the vagaries of the human heart.
It's to Brokeback Mountain that Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are sent to watch over the sheep, at first strangers to one another, standoffish, remote. But gradually, as the days pass, and their isolation is complete, they begin to fashion a friendship that becomes, one cold, shivering night, intimate, catching them both by surprise, its suddenness overwhelming them.
Neither is prepared to acknowledge that they have fallen in love. How could they be? As Ennis explains to Jack, in his halting, almost mumbled way, swallowing his words and emotions, he's about to get married to his girl, Alma (Michelle Williams) at the end of the summer. He adds that what they experienced can never be known down below. It has to be their secret, for he understands that the world can be a murderously intolerant place when it comes to two men openly sharing a bond that for most cannot be imagined and certainly never accepted. Jack nods, accepting, at least for the present, that the life he imagines for the two of them can only be fully articulated on Brokeback Mountain and as they leave the mountain, return the sheep to the plains below, that dream will be diminished by the imperatives of life lived in a world that dominated by fear of such a relationship, a violation of a deeply held taboo. How could it be otherwise?
based on the Annie Proulx short story, is many things. It is a beautiful film, powerfully acted, gripping in its relentless humanity. What it is not, is a gay western, or a story about two gay cowboys. It is, instead, a spare love story, a narrative that examines the unintended consequences of being unwilling or unable to live the life that is there to be lived, for reasons that feel like a betrayal of the heartfelt truths that are ever present. Truths that whisper in the dead of night, or come to mind on a long, quiet afternoon.
Both Ennis and Jack struggle with that betrayal and although Jack says he is prepared to sacrifice all for the chance to be with Ennis, Ennis cannot bring himself to take such a step. For him it defies comprehension though he is tormented by their shared dream. When Jack asks him what they are going to do, Ennis looks off into the distance and says, grimly, &
If you can't fix it, Jack, you gotta stand it.&
And stand it they do, barely.
So Brokeback Mountain becomes their idyllic retreat, that one place to which they can return, year after year, and live openly and honestly. And it becomes a metaphor for all who can't summon the courage or the will to confront a society openly, with brashness and courage and defiance, and so must find brief surcease in a place apart. A place, in the case of gays, called, all too flippantly, &
But as we so clearly see in this film, the closet is a desiccated geography of anguish and abiding regret &
emotions that are part of the human condition, such as it is, and thread their way through so many truncated lives.
is a tour de force film, directed by Ang Lee, using the well-crafted screenplay of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry (&
), and Diana Ossana. Ledger and Gyllenhaal and Williams give compelling performances, ones that enhance and expand the startling and indeed discomforting verisimilitude of the story. It's a movie not to be missed.
7 Golden Globe nominations including Best Drama, Director, Screenplay, Actor (Heath Ledger),
Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), Score, Original Song; Winner Best Film NY and LA Film Critics The story about a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years. Directed by Ang Lee ("Crouch Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Sense and Sensibility", "Ice Storm")
Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Randy Quaid.
R for sexuality, nudity, language and some violence/134 min.
A hip, updated re-telling of &
Little Red Riding Hood,&
from the participants&
various accounts. Voice talents of Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, James Belushi.
PG for mild language and thematic elements/83 min.
2 Golden Globe nominations including Best Director and Screenplay. In the tragic aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics, a Mossad agent and his squad
track and assassinate the Palestinian terrorists who planned and carried out the murder of Israeli athletes. Directed by Steven Spielberg Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler, Ciaran Hinds.
R for strong graphic violence, some sexual content, nudity and language/164 min.
The inspiring true story of the underdog Texas Western basketball team, with history&
s first all African American starting lineup and the passionate coach who led them to the 1966 NCAA tournament title. Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Jon Voight.
PG for racial issues, including violence and epithets, and momentary language/118 min.
A shy cookware clerk learns she is dying, and embarks on a dream vacation to Europe where she and her uninhibited attitude have a profound and humorous effect on the hotel guests and staff. Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Gerard Depardieu, Alicia Witt, Giancarlo Esposito.
PG-13 for some sexual references/111 min.
Squid and the Whale
— Golden Globe nominations including Best Musical or Comedy, Actress (Laura Linney), Actor (Jeff Daniels) Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980&
s. The patriarch of the eccentric Brooklyn family claims to have been a novelist who is now reduced to teaching. When his wife discovers a literary talent of her own, it breaks up the family. Written and Directed by Noah Baumbach (writer of &
) Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Owen Kline, Jesse Eisenberg, William Baldwin, Anna Paquin.
R for strong sexual content, graphic dialogue and language/88 min.
Tristan and Isolde
The medieval legend of a princess and a warrior&
s love affair that threatens to tear apart an uneasy peace between England and Ireland. Directed by Kevin Reynolds (&
); Starring James Franco, Sophia Myles, Dexter Fletcher, Rufus Sewell.
PG-13 for intense battle sequences and some sexuality/125 min.
day, Alex is the world's oldest video game tester. But at night,
he is secretly developing what could be the next big game.
His efforts are complicated when he is evicted from his apartment and moves in with his grandmother. Allen Covert, Linda Cardellini, Doris Roberts, Shirley Knight, Shirley Jones, Nick Swardson.
R for drug use and language throughout, strong crude and sexual humor, and nudity/94 min.
Memoirs of a Geisha
A sweeping romantic epic set in a mysterious and exotic world, the story begins in the years before WWII, when a penniless
Japanese child is torn from her family to work as a maid in a geisha house. The girl eventually blossoms into a legendary geisha, captivating the most powerful men of her day, but haunted by her secret love for a man who is out of her reach. Directed by Rob Marshall (&
PG-13 for mature subject matter and some sexual content, 145 min.
An expedition searches for a mythic monster on a far away island, and a playwright becomes an unlikely hero in a romantic adventure story that will test both his physical courage and his heart. Directed by Peter Jackson (&
Lord of the Rings&
trilogy) Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis, Colin Hanks.
Chronicles of Narnia
A White Witch has used her dark powers to keep Narnia in winter, but it is foretold that four humans will be able to help break the spell. When four siblings&
150;Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter&
150;enter the enchanted world through a wardrobe, the stage is set for a classic battle of epic proportions. Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, William Moseley, Skandar Keynes.
PG for for battle sequences and frightening moments/140 min.
Fun with Dick and Jane
When the company Dick works for becomes involved in a scandal, and he and his wife are confronted
with the prospect of losing everything, they are forced to beg, borrow and steal to get it all back.
Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin.
PG-13 for brief language, some sexual humor and occasional humorous drug references, 90 min.
Cheaper by the Dozen 2
On vacation, the Baker family find themselves in competition with an over-achieving family headed by Tom&
s long-time rival.
Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Eugene Levy, Piper Perabo, Tom Welling, Hilary Duff.
PG for crude humor and mild language, 94 min.