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War zones

By PETER KEOUGH  |  September 12, 2007


VIDEO: The trailer for Resident Evil: Extinction

September 21
The titles alone tell you that no other franchise based on a video game plumbs the depths of despair like the Resident Evil series. The previous entry was Resident Evil: Apocalypse; now, we reach RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION. Where can it go from there? Someplace even gaudier and more desolate than the ruins of Las Vegas, where the survivors of the T-Virus hole up to battle zombies, killer crows, and other mutants. Milla Jovovich and Iain Glen star; Russell Mulcahy directs.

Closer to home, those warnings against drilling in the Alaska wildlife preserve prove well-founded in THE LAST WINTER, in which oil explorers uncover something cruder than crude beneath the tundra. Larry Fessenden directs; Ron Perlman and James Le Gros star. And if illegal immigration works you up more than environmental disaster, there’s Patricia Riggen’s LA MISMA LUNA/UNDER THE SAME MOON, in which a Mexican boy crosses into the US to find his mother.

What to do in the face of such doom and injustice? How about a book club celebrating a 19th-century author? In THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, the six persons who form the title klatch find their lives mirroring Austen’s fiction. Robin Swicord, who wrote the awful film adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha, directs a cast that includes Emily Blunt, Maria Bello, and Hugh Dancy.


VIDEO: The trailer for The Darjeeling Limited

September 28
Then there’s the equally extreme option of dropping everything and heading for the hills. Or at least the forbidding frontier of central Alaska, which is where quixotic, eco-worshipping Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) of INTO THE WILD camps out. Sean Penn’s adaptation of Jon Kracauer’s non-fiction bestseller is heavy on the landscape and idealism, but it seems motivation doesn’t matter when it comes to unforgiving nature, as McCandless doesn’t make out much better than do the corporate exploiters in The Last Winter.

Most folks, however, are too preoccupied with their own private turmoil to pay much attention to the ongoing destruction of the world around them. Like the three brothers in THE DARJEELING LIMITED, the new one from the ever whimsical and inventive Wes Anderson: they journey by train through the stunning Indian landscape but can’t untangle the knots of their past relationships. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman star.

And in Robert Benton’s adaptation of the Charles Baxter novel FEAST OF LOVE, the people in an idyllic Oregon community just shake their heads in bewilderment as they play musical chairs at the title banquet table. Morgan Freeman, not God this time but merely an Olympian academic, smiles wryly from his ivory tower and exudes bromides. The smitten include Selma Blair, Radha Mitchell, and Greg Kinnear.

Meanwhile, history never rests, as Saudi terrorists butcher a hundred Americans in Peter Berg’s THE KINGDOM. Jamie Foxx as a crack FBI agent bonds uneasily with his Saudi counterpart (the relatively unknown but terrific Ashraf Barhom), and together they try to break up a murderous jihadist cell. As part of the team, Jennifer Garner looks great in a flak jacket and exhibits excruciating skills with a commando knife.


VIDEO: The trailer for The Heartbreak Kid

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