December 2003 Movies

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The Last Samurai R

Set in the late 1870s, this epic film depicts the beginnings of the modernization of Japan, as the island nation evolved past a feudal society, as symbolized by the eradication of the samurai way of life. We see all this happen from the point of view of an alcoholic Civil War veteran turned Winchester guns spokesman, Captain Woodrow Algren (Tom Cruise), who arrives in Japan to train the troops of the emperor, Meiji, as part of a break away from the long-held tradition of relying on employed samurai warriors to protect territories, as the emperor's new army prepares to wipe out the remaining samurai warriors. When Algren is injured in combat and captured by the samurai, he learns about their warrior honor code from their leader, Katsumoto, which forces him to decide which side of the conflict he actually wants to be on.
Tom Cruise, Edward Zwick, Aoi Minato, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn, Ken Watanabe, Hiroyuki Sanada
Drama Action Adventure Historical

Honey PG-13

This is the story of Honey (Jessica Alba), a tough sexy dancer from the inner city, who becomes a successful music video choreographer, a career which is threatened when her mentor makes him either sleep with him... or get blacklisted within the industry. She ultimately decides to pursue her lifelong dream of opening her own dance studio for inner-city youths.
Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, David Moscow, Joy Bryant, Tweet, Bille Woodruff, Lil' Romeo, Zachary Williams
Drama Musical Teen

Forget Baghdad: Jews and Arabs - The Iraqi Connection

This documentary investigates the stories of the dozens of thousands of Jews who emigrated to Israel in 1948 from Iraq, making up 25% of the new nation's Hebrew population. Leaving an Iraq in the 1940s in which Jews lived in peace with Christian and Muslim neighbors, these emigres found themselves pitched into a new political environment in which they were not exactly welcomed, with Ben Gurion once saying of the Iraqi Jews, "We kicked out good Arabs and brought in bad Jews". Director Samir interviewed a quartet of elderly survivors from that time (who also happened to be Communists, which was another reason they were not welcomed), along with NYU film historian Ella Shohat, to make a film that combines their testimony with light-hearted fragments of the last 100 years of Jewish culture as documented in the movies, to demonstrate the sometimes thin, sometimes thick lines between Arabs, Jews, and those who have claim to both heritages (ie, the "Mizrahim", or Eastern Jews).
Moshe Houri, Samir Jamal Aldin, Shimon Ballas, Sami Michael, Samir Naqqash, Ella Habiba Shohat

Prisoner of Paradise

A chronicle of the true story of Kurt Gerron, a well known and beloved German-Jewish actor, director and cabaret star in Berlin in the 1920's and '30's. Among his greatest accomplishments, he co-starred with the legendary Marlene Dietrich in the film classic, "The Blue Angel." He also sang "Mack The Knife" in the original production of "Threepenny Opera." Ultimately, Gerron was captured and sent to a concentration camp, where he was ordered to both write and direct a pro-Nazi propaganda film.
Ian Holm, Malcolm Clarke, Stuart Sender, Kurt Gerron, Renée Saint-Cyr, Peter Lorre
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Something's Gotta Give PG-13

New York City music executive Harry Langer (Jack Nicholson) is a man of some age and experience who generally dates younger women. His world is turned upside-down, however, when he has a heart attack while visiting the East Hampton beach home of the divorced playwright mother, Erica (Diane Keaton), of his latest trophy girlfriend, Marin (Amanda Peet). With his girlfriend having gone back to the city, Harry is left in the care of Erica and his doctor (Keanu Reeves), but the two men soon find themselves competing with each other, as they both fall in love with the same woman... the mom.
Jon Favreau, Nancy Meyers, Keanu Reeves, Nancy Myers, Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton
Comedy Romance

Love Don't Cost a Thing PG-13

In this modern update of the classic 1987 teen comedy "Can't Buy Me Love", our hero is high-school senior Alvin Johnson (Nick Cannon), a brilliant, likable outcast who has come to regret the years of intellectual endeavors that prevented him and his un-hip friends from socializing, getting girlfriends and hanging out with the super-cool "Elite" kids. When queen of the Elites, Paris Morgan (Christina Milian) wrecks her mother's car, Alvin steps in and mortgages his future to help her out. The catch: In exchange for $1500 in car parts and Alvin's automotive expertise, Paris agrees to "fake a front" with him to convince the school that they're dating. The question is: can Alvin rein in his newfound ego before he loses his true friends, his chance for a scholarship and a shot at a real relationship with Paris?
Al Thompson, Kenan Thompson, Troy Beyer, Nick Cannon, Christina Milian, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Kal Penn, Steve Harvey
Comedy Romance Teen

Girl with a Pearl Earring PG-13

A speculative account of the life of Griet, a 16-year-old girl who appears in Johannes Vermeer's painting of the same title. Set in 17th century Holland, Griet is employed by Vermeer as a housemaid to care for his six children, his jealous pregnant wife and his uncommunicative mother-in-law. Tensions arise when Vermeer's wife suspects intimacy between her husband and the girl--and then climax, when the wife discovers that Griet borrowed her precious pearl earrings to sit for the now famous portrait.
Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Cillian Murphy, Peter Webber, Judy Parfitt, Tom Wilkinson, Essie Davis, Alakina Mann


Normally, the mantis shrimp only grows to about a foot long or so, but in this movie, a seven-foot-long one shows up in England (by way of the Philippines). Pub owner and failed boxer Bill (Kevin McNally) buys the creature, seeing it as his chance to become rich and famous, training the ferocious crustacean to box. Hitting the road with his amateur boxer best friend, Steve (Perry Fitzpatrick), a trainee hairdresser (Louise Mardenborough) and the giant sea creature, Bill heads to London to convince a TV network to feature the crustacean on an 'American Gladiators'-style event hosted by Ulrika Jonsson.
Naomie Harris, Mark Locke, Kevin McNally, Perry Fitzpatrick, Louise Mardenborough, Madhav Sharma, Enzo Cilenti, Ulrika Jonsson
Action Adventure Comedy Fantasy Sci-Fi

Stuck on You PG-13

A comedy about the oppositional relationship that evolves between a set of Siamese twins--conjoined at the torso--named Bob and Walt. They have used their "disability" throughout life to great advantage; for example, they excelled in High School by using the fact that they are joined at the hip to their advantage in sports, where they were a great hockey goalie and wrestling champion. Unfortunately, their different life goals may begin to threaten their happy union, as they vowed they would never split up. So, after graduation Walt wants to go to Hollywood to pursue an acting career, and although Bob opposes the move, he begrudgingly goes along. When the twins get to Los Angeles, the duo soon finds themselves landing a job on a TV show starring Cher, which results in quick fame and fortune, but will the new changes in their lives ultimately drive the twins apart?
Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Greg Kinnear, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Cher, Charles Wessler, Kristofer Meyer

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King PG-13

The third of the trilogy. As the shadow of Mordor grows across the land, Aragorn is revealed as the hidden heir to the ancient kings. Gandolf miraculously returns and defeats the evil wizard, Saruman. Sam leaves his master for the dead after a battle with the giant spider, Shelob; but Frodo is still alive--in the hands of the Orcs. And while the armies of the Dark Lord are massing--and the one ring comes ever closer to the Cracks of Doom.
Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Peter Jackson, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban, Philippa Boyens, Sean Astin
Drama Action Adventure Sequel Fantasy Sci-Fi
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The Fog of War PG-13

Robert McNamara, former Secretary of Defense during the JFK and LBJ administrations, was one of the key figures in the Vietnam War. This documentary is built around 20 hours of interviews and additional archival footage of Mr. Namara, who later became president of the World Bank and broadened his global influence.
Errol Morris, Michael Williams, Julie Ahlberg, Robert McNamara, Fidel Castro, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy
War Historical Biography Documentary

Calendar Girls PG-13

"Calendar Girls" is based on the true story of a group of women who bare all - or nearly all - for charity and become international celebrities as a result. The Women's Institute, in Great Britain, encourages the ancient skills of jam-making, flower pressing, knitting and baking. So when a group of extraordinary women are looking for a new way to raise money, they decide to take the annual WI calendar, normally featuring landscapes or flowers, and create something traditional - but with a twist. Behind the baked goods, the apple pressing and the flower arranging, the women are completely nude.
Ciaran Hinds, Helen Mirren, Celia Imrie, Geraldine James, Nigel Cole, Julie Walters, John Alderton, Linda Bassett

Mona Lisa Smile PG-13

Academy Award®-winner Julia Roberts heads an all-star cast featuring Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Marcia Gay Harden in "Mona Lisa Smile", an uplifting and poignant drama about one woman's desire to enrich the lives of her students. In 1953, a time when women's roles were rigidly defined, novice art history professor Katherine Watson (Roberts) begins teaching at the prestigious all-female Wellesley College, which despite its academic reputation is an environment where success is measured by how well the students marry. Encouraging these women to strive for a more enlightened future, Watson challenges the administration and inspires her students to look beyond the image of what is, and consider the possibilities of what could be.
Kirsten Dunst, Julia Roberts, Marcia Gay Harden, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ginnifer Goodwin, Mike Newell, Julia Stiles, Dominic West

The Hebrew Hammer

This action comedy spoof, said to be in the same vein as "Undercover Brother", but for Orthodox Jews, Adam Goldberg ("Saving Private Ryan") stars as a superhero detective who's out to stop Santa's evil son Damien (Andy Dick) from eliminating Hanukkah forever. It's based on the short of the same name, written and directed by Jonathan Kesselman during his days as a student at USC's Film School.
Mario Van Peebles, Nora Dunn, Jonathan Kesselman, Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer, Andy Dick, Peter Coyote, Rachel Dratch
Action Comedy
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Cheaper by the Dozen PG

When Tom Baker (Steve Martin) gets a job offer to coach football at Northwestern University in Chicago, he and his wife, Mary, move to the big city, which is a big change for them and their 12 children, who range from preschool-age twins Kyle and Nigel all the way up to 22-year-old Anne who has already left home. With the recent publication of her long-in-the-works book, Mary feels demands outside the home taking away as much time as Tom's new job does, so the two are forced to try to find new ways of parenting their massive tribe, but they find their parenting styles aren't always completely compatible...
Morgan York, Shawn Levy, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Tom Welling, Jacob Smith, Robert Simonds, Ben Myron
Comedy Family Kids

Cold Mountain R

Directed by Academy Award®-winner Anthony Minghella ("The English Patient", "The Talented Mr. Ripley") and based on Charles Frazier's best-selling Civil War novel of the same name, "Cold Mountain" tells the story of Inman (Jude Law), a wounded confederate soldier who is on a perilous journey home to his mountain community, hoping to reunite with his pre-war sweetheart, Ada (Nicole Kidman). In his absence, Ada struggles to survive, and revive her father's farm with the help of intrepid young drifter Ruby (Renee Zellweger).
Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Anthony Minghella, Renée Zellweger, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Historical Romance

Peter Pan PG

Peter Pan is the boy who won't age, who lives in Neverland with other ageless kids, the Lost Boys. Tinkerbelle, a fairy, gives three children: Wendy, John, and Michael Darling the ability to fly; and soon they're off to Neverland, where they're soon in battle with the evil Captain Hook and his band of pirates.
Lucy Fisher, Patrick McCormick, Douglas Wick, J.M. Barrie, Freddie Popplewell, P.J. Hogan, Amy Pascal, Michael Goldenberg
Action Adventure Fantasy Family Kids

Paycheck PG-13

Based on the short story by Philip K. Dick, "Paycheck" is about world famous genius Michael Jennings (Ben Affleck), who does specialized projects for high-tech corporations. Once a job is complete, his memory is erased so as not to divulge any company secrets. Highly paid for his work, Jennings expects to earn $4.4 billion for his latest 5-year project, but upon completion of the job, instead of a big paycheck, he is given an envelope full of random objects and told that he has agreed to forfeit all payment. With his memory erased per usual, Jennings has no defense, until he discovers that the objects are clues to his past. Now, with the help of Rachel (Uma Thurman), the woman he has worked with and loved for the last three years, Jennings is in a race against time to put the pieces of his past together before the people he once worked for have him killed.
John Woo, Aaron Eckhart, Scott Frank, Uma Thurman, Michael Hackett, Ben Affleck, Paul Giamatti, Michael C. Hall
Action Adventure Thriller Suspense

The Company PG-13

This ensemble drama portraits the life of several dancers of a Chicago troupe, focusing on a young dancer who's on the verge of becoming a principal dancer, but finds herself distracted by other interests.
Malcolm McDowell, Christine Vachon, Domingo Rubio, Barbara Robertson, Robert Altman, Pamela Koffler, Neve Campbell, Joshua Astrachan

House of Sand and Fog R

Based on the acclaimed bestseller by Andre Dubus III. Massoud Amir Behrani (Ben Kingsley) is living a lie to fulfill a dream. Once a member of the Shah of Iran's elite inner circle, he has brought his family to America to build a new life. Despite a pretense of continued affluence, he is barely making ends meet until he sees his opportunity in the auction of a house being sold for back taxes. It is a terrible mistake. Through a bureaucratic snafu, the house had been improperly seized from its rightful owner, Kathy Lazaro (Jennifer Connelly). The loss of her home tears away Kathy's last hope of a stable life—a life that had been nearly destroyed by addiction—and Kathy decides to fight to recover her home…at any cost.
Vadim Perelman, Ron Eldard, Frances Fisher, Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Connelly, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jonathan Ahdout, Kim Dickens
Drama Historical

Japanese Story R

Sandy, a geologist, finds herself stuck on a field trip to the Pilbara desert with a Japanese man she finds inscrutable, annoying and decidedly arrogant. Hiromitsu?s view of her is not much better. Things go from bad to worse when they become stranded in one of the remotest regions on earth. Japanese Story is a journey of change and discovery for its two lead characters.
Bill Young, Sue Brooks, Toni Collette, Gotaro Tsunashima, Matthew Dyktynski, Lynette Curran, Yumiko Tanaka, Kate Atkinson