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War zones

By PETER KEOUGH  |  September 12, 2007

October 5
If The Kingdom puts you in an Armageddon, us-against-the-evildoers frame of mind, you’re in for a treat with THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING. Produced by the good Christians at Fox Walden, this one adapts the first in a series of five Susan Cooper novels about a boy who discovers he’s from an ancient lineage of warriors battling the Dark. Given the inclinations of the director David L. Cunningham, whose The Path to 9/11 raised some eyebrows with its skewed version of history, one can only guess what this Dark might be. Maybe cast members Ian McShane and Christopher Eccleston can shed some Light.

And given the scatological inclinations of Peter and Bobby Farrelly, one can only surmise that their version of THE HEARTBREAK KID might be a bit rougher around the edges than Elaine May’s 1972 original. The basic story remains the same: Ben Stiller is a love-smitten guy who marries his dream girl, discovers she’s an ogress on their honeymoon, and falls for another woman. Michelle Monaghan and Malin Akerman play the two ladies.


VIDEO: The trailer for Control

October 12
Add a little music to the story and cut down on the fart jokes and you might have CONTROL (October 10; limited opening). Anton Corbijn’s acclaimed portrait of tortured Joy Division singer-songwriter Ian Curtis plumbs his fundamental despair, which wasn’t helped by a love triangle involving his wife and lover and which ended when he hanged himself while watching Werner Herzog’s Stroszek on TV. Let’s see the Farrelly Brothers get some laughs out of that.

More nuptial woes plague MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, from upstart auteur Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale). Here Nicole Kidman questions the validity of her sister’s decision to marry would-be artist Jack Black. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the sister, and John Turturro plays someone else. Expect some zany and stressful confrontations — and with Baumbach in charge, they’ll probably be witty, wrenching, and illuminating, not just mean-spirited and demoralizing.

Not that I have anything against Jack Black, but I have to agree with Nicole on the fitness of him as a match for Jennifer Jason Leigh. A question many have been asking lately is, how come all the dumpy guys are getting all the beautiful women in the movies these days? What happened to Brad Pitt and all those other Adonises? In Craig Gillespie’s LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, Ryan Gosling plays a dork who pursues a relationship with a lifelike doll he meets on the Internet. Patricia Clarkson plays his psychiatrist, and good luck to her.

Things seemed simpler in the 16th century, before all this virtual-reality stuff. Back then, you could sink the Spanish Armada or chop the head off your cousin with hardly a second thought. Finding your true love is a problem in any age, however. — hence the difficulty of the title regent in Shekhar Kapur’s ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, a sequel to his 1998 Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen. Cate Blanchett got an Oscar nomination for her title interpretation in that one; this time around, she’s wooed by Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh. Geoffrey Rush returns as Sir Francis Walsingham, the Dick Cheney of his day, to see that she remains a virgin queen.

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