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MOVIES: in review

&

145;Inside Man&

a top-of-the-line police thriller

If you are a fan of the police thriller, then you will have one heck of a good time watching the just released &

Inside Man.&

Even if you are not particularly enamored of the genre, this film might be one not to miss. It&

s that good.

&

Inside Man&

is the kind of movie that Hollywood can make and make well. When writers and directors get it just right, there is nothing better.

Perhaps we&

ll look back in a couple of decades and think of these films (&

16 Blocks&

was another recent entry) as the new noir.

Characteristic of the 40s noir film, &

Inside Man&

is tightly written, the dialogue clipped and often stingingly funny. As a bonus, there are more twists than a ride at Seven Flags. It&

s hard not to love a movie that is smart and fast paced, and asks you to give it your undivided attention.

While the film stars smooth as silk Denzel Washington as a detective and hostage negotiator, Jodi Foster gives one of her best performances in years. She portrays a classy, abundantly confident deal maker who is asked to assist the president of the bank &

for reasons that are elusive at first but ever so gradually revealed. Of late, Foster has taken the role of protective mother, on the verge of hysteria and outrage, to new heights (&

Panic Room&

being a good example). But in this role she is relaxed and self-assured and it&

s almost a relief to watch her so ably fill the nose-bleed spiked heels of a consummate inside woman. And not to forget Clive Owen who is always memorable and should have been the next James Bond. He conveys a lethal intelligence throughout the film &

he is, in every way, the inside man.

But as far as portrayals go, this film is not entirely star-driven. Instead it proves to be a veritable buffet of character actors, and Spike Lee, the director, doesn&

t miss the opportunity to give many of them screen-time. He intercuts into the story interviews with some of the people who were in the bank when it was held up. To a person they are wonderful, and give the film a rough texture, a certain gritty, verité feel that would have been absent had these actors been simply treated as condiments.

Having said all that, one more point. It would be inexcusable to summarize the plot to this movie or even hint at what it&

s about, other than it&

s a carefully planned bank heist, which the trailer discloses. There are so many surprises and interesting moments in this movie that it&

s best to walk into the theater in the dark, so to speak. Let it all unfold fresh, with no expectations other than you are about to have a top drawer moviegoing experience. Hollywood is very good at making very bad movies. But when a good writer and a surprisingly good director &

who would have thought such a film would be made by Spike Lee? &

team up, well, you are going to get something special. And &

Inside Man&

is special.

&

145;Screaming&

at the Ashland Co-Dependent Film Festival

Ed Polish

Whenever a film festival becomes too dull and stodgy, an alternative festival springs up. The Slamdance Festival arose out of the Sundance Festival. As a reaction to the Ashland Independent Film Festival, The Bad Film Society will present The Ashland Co-Dependent Film Festival on Sunday at 6 p.m., downstairs at the Ashland Elks.

The featured attraction will be the Southern Oregon premier of &

Man With The Screaming Brain.&

Local resident Bruce Campbell produced, directed, wrote and starred in this cheesy masterpiece. The last person to do all this was Orson Welles with &

Citizen Kane.&

Man with the Screaming Brain is a story of greed, betrayal and revenge in a small Bulgarian town. William Cole, wealthy industrialist, winds up with part of his brain replaced by that of a Russian cab driver Yegor. The two couldn&

t be more different, but they share one thing - both were killed by the same woman.

Brought back to life by a mad scientist, William and Yegor form an unlikely partnership to track down their common nemesis. Cranial scars; a robot in a yellow jumpsuit; gypsy thugs; catfights; Ted Raimi doing hip-hop; a mauve, tasseled Vespa; and a salad bar &

133; C&

mon: you know you want it. It&

s an unapologetically sloppy jumble of Roger Corman-style antics that could only hope to inspire their own drinking game. It was supposed to premiere last year at the Broadway Theater in Pitman, NJ, however the theater went bankrupt that same week.

In the short documentary category, &

Ebbs And Flows&

will be screened. Filmed by Ashland city workers using a hi-tech sewer cam, it is a hilarious rat&

s eye view of the dirty, slimy underside of this posh enclave.

Kindly bring a tasty dish for a luscious potluck dinner to begin the fun. This might be the best part for some of the crowd.

Bring some abominably bad videos you&

d love to get rid of as door prizes for our raffle.

Get ready for the eighth chapter of the 1941 serial, &

Jungle Girl&

that will keep the crowd screaming for more. See terrific vine-swinging, cliff-diving, croc-wrestling, dorky gorillas, and of course, an evil witch doctor.

For information see the The Bad Film Society Web site: www.ephemera-inc.com/badfilm.

The entrance to the Ashland Elks is on Will Dodge Way, the alley between E. Main Street and Lithia Way and First and Second streets. You&

ll see the &

Elks Dining&

sign. The private Elks lot will be open for free parking. To park, enter on 2nd St. There is a $3 donation requested to cover the costs of the room rental and supplies.

This is a unique opportunity for the public to enter the hallowed and prestigious portals of the very ritzy and exclusive Ashland Elks Lodge.

MOVIES: now playing

Benchwarmers

A trio of guys try and make up for missed athletic opportunities in childhood by forming a three-player baseball team to challenge a full squad of elementary school baseball players. Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn, Tim Meadows, Molly Sims.

PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, and for language/85 min.

Lucky Number Slevin

A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin in the middle of a war being plotted by two rival crime bosses. Followed by a relentless detective and an infamous assassin, Slevin must try to escape alive from the maze in which he finds himself. Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu, Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci.

R for strong violence, sexuality and language/110 min.

Take the Lead

A professional dancer volunteers to teach in the New York City public school system. When his classic methods clash with his students&

hip hop instincts, he teams up with them to create a new style of dance. Antonio Banderas, Alfre Woodard, Rob Brown.

PG-13 for thematic material, language and some violence/117 min.

Why We fight

A look at the American military and its links with big business, weaving personal stories with commentary by military and beltway insiders while asking some pertinent questions about the economic necessities of waging war. Speaking to a number of key figures including Republican Senator John McCain and author Gore Vidal, as well as lesser-known names such as Wilton Sekzer, a Vietman veteran and ex-New York City cop wo lost his son in the World Trade center attacks, Jerecki&

s film is a bipartisan treatise that was inspired by Dwight Eisenhower&

s 1961 farewell address to the nation. Eisenhower spoke of a burgeoning American militarty-industrial complex which he believed would threaten democracy across the globe. A documentary written and directed by Eugene Jarecki (&

Trials of Henry Kissinger.&

).

PG-13 for brief language, drug use and a sexual reference/ 127 min.

Slither

In the sleepy town of Wheelsy, missing pet flyers begin appearing, livestock are found horribly mutilated, and a young woman goes missing. Laying siege to the town is an insidious older-than-time organism intent on absorbing and devouring all life on Earth. Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, Michael Rooker.

R for strong horror violence and gore, language/96 min.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

The Ice Age is coming to an end, and the animals are delighting in a melting paradise of water parks, geysers and tar pits. But when Manny and friends discover that a glacial dam is about to break and flood their valley, they must warn everyone and figure out a way to escape the coming deluge. Voice talents of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Dennis Leary, Drea de Matteo, Queen Latifah.

PG for some mild language/91 min.

New World

Academy Award nominee - Best Cinematography. An epic adventure set around the founding of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607. Inspired by the legend of Pocahontas and John Smith, a passionate and noble young native woman and an ambitious soldier of fortune torn between the undeniable requirements of their civic duty and the inescapable demands of the human heart. Directed by Terrence Malick (&

Days of Heaven&

, &

Thin Red Line&

). Colin Farrell, Q&

orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Wes Studi, David Thewlis.

PG-13 for intense battle sequences/135 min.

World&

s Fastest Indian

In New Zealand in the 1960s, Burt Munro takes a 1920 Indian motorcycle and, delightfully without resources other than his own obsession, spends his retirement rebuilding the bike to follow his dream to set a land speed record at the Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Cauffiel, Saginaw Grant.

PG-13 for brief language, drug use and a sexual reference/127 min.

Failure to Launch

A 30-something guy meets a great girl, but won&

t move out of his parents&

. Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zooey Deschanel.

PG-13 for sexual content, partial nudity and language/96 min.

V for Vendetta

In the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, a man cloaked in mystery ignites a revolution and finds an unlikely ally in a seemingly mild mannered young woman.Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Stephen Rea, John Hurt, Rupert Graves.

R for strong violence and some language/132 min.Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

A rancher is brokenhearted by the discovery of his friend&

s dead body, an illegal Mexican immigrant killed by a Border Control agent, and takes the law into his own hands. Directed by Tommy Lee Jones. Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Pepper, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Dwight Yoakam, January Jones.

R for language, violence and sexuality/121 min.