IV No. 7
publication of the National Association of Theatre Owners
in In Focus
The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
Sequel to the 1997 action-thriller “Anaconda,” this
time about pharmaceutical company employees who discover
the amazing healing orchid they seek has also allowed
the snakes of Borneo to grow to incredible sizes.
Directed by Dwight Little (“Murder at 1600”)
from a screenplay by John Claflin & Daniel Zelman,
Michael Miner (“RoboCop 2”) and Ed Neumeier
(“Starship Troopers”). With Kadee Strickland
(“Something’s Gotta Give”), Johnny
Messner (“Spartan”), Morris Chestnut
(“Breakin’ All the Rules”), Nicholas
Hope (“Scooby-Doo”), Peter Curtin (“Darkness
Falls”), Matthew Marsden (“Black Hawk
Down”), Eugene Byrd (“8 Mile”)
and Salli Richardson (“Biker Boyz”).
PG-13: Action violence; scary images; some language.
Aug. 27. Sony.
Documentary examining North Carolina’s legacy
as the United States’ leading producer of
tobacco. Written, narrated and directed by Ross
McElwee (“Sherman’s March”),
whose great-grandfather, John McElwee, founded
(with Washington Duke, founder of Duke University)
the Durham Bull tobacco company. 107 min. Aug.
25 in New York. First Run.
Comedy about the misadventures of two cousins from
Queens, New York, during an ill-fated vacation
to Cancun. Written and directed by Rayeev Nirmalakhandan.
With Carmine Famiglietti, Paola Walker, Stefan
Lysenko (“Jane Austin’s Mafia”),
Pete Medina and Anthony Barrile (“Hamburger
Hill”). 81 min. R: Language. Aug. 27 limited.
Thriller, set in New York, about a cab driver who
comes to realize that he has been shuttling a
hit man from murder to murder, and that he will
be executed if he is believed to have witnessed
any of the hits. Directed by Michael Mann (“The
Insider,” “Ali”) from a screenplay
by Stuart Beattie. With Tom Cruise (“The
Last Samurai”), Jamie Foxx (“Breakin’ All
the Rules”), Mark Ruffalo (“13 Going
on 30,” “We Don’t Live Here
Anymore”), Jada Pinkett Smith (the “Matrix” series),
Irma P. Hall (“A Slipping Down Life”),
Javier Bardem (“Mondays in the Sun”)
and Emilio Rivera (“Bruce Almighty”).
Aug. 6. DreamWorks.
Prequel to the 1973 thriller, set in the early
part of the 20th century, about a young priest’s
journey through Africa and his first encounter
with demonic possession. Based upon characters
and events depicted in William Blatty’s novel “The
Exorcist.” Directed by Renny Harlin (“Driven,” “Deep
Blue Sea”) from a screenplay by Alex Hawley.
With Stellan Skarsgård (“Dogville,” “King
Arthur”), James D’Arcy (“Master
and Commander: The Far Side of the World”),
Izabella Scorupco (“Reign of Fire”),
Antonie Kamerling (“Left Luggage”)
and Andrew French (“Close Your Eyes”).
Scope. Aug. 20. Warner Bros.
Drama about a Chinese-American woman who, after
a rapist leaves her pregnant, must travel to China
to restore her family’s reputation. Bertha
Bay-Sa Pan makes her feature directorial debut
from a screenplay by Bay-Sa Pan and Oren Moverman
(“Jesus’ Son”). With Bai Ling
(“My Baby’s Daddy,” “She
Hate Me”), Kieu Chinh (“Green Dragon”),
Kristy Wu (“What’s Cooking?”),
Anthony “Treach” Criss (“Empire”),
Ken Leung (“Red Dragon”), Will Yun
Lee (“Die Another Day”) and Melissa
Martinez (“Brown Sugar”). 89 min. Aug.
Mandarin-language drama, set against the dawn of
the Qin dynasty, about the soon-to-be first emperor
of China – and the loyal follower who must
protect him from three ruthless assassins. Directed
by Zhang Yimou (“The Road Home,” “Happy
Times”) from a screenplay by Yimou, Li Feng
and Wang Bin. With Jet Li (“Cradle 2 the
Grave”), Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (“In the
Mood for Love”), Maggie Cheung (“Millennium
Mambo”), Zhang Ziyi (“Rush Hour 2”),
Chen Dao Ming and Donnie Yen (“Shanghai Knights”).
Also known as “Ying Xiong.” Scope.
96 min. PG-13: Stylized martial arts violence;
a scene of sensuality. Aug. 20. Miramax.
Science fiction adventure, set in the early 21st
century, about a group of Weyland-Yutami “corporate
archaeologists” who, while exploring an ancient
pyramid in Antarctica, encounter dueling interstellar
forces of evil. The fifth chapter of the “Alien” series
and the third of the “Predator” franchise.
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (“Soldier,” “Resident
Evil”) from a screenplay by Anderson and
Shane Salerno (“Shaft”). With Lance
Henriksen (“Scream 3”), Ewen Bremner
(“The Reckoning,” “Around the
World in 80 Days”), Sanaa Lathan (“Out
of Time”), Raoul Bova (“Under the Tuscan
Sun,” “Facing Windows”), Colin
Salmon (“The Statement”) and Tom Woodruff
Jr. (“Looney Tunes: Back in Action”).
Scope. Aug. 13. Fox.
Thai-language drama, set in 1763 Bang Rajan and
based on a true story, about the Thai villagers
who battled against the invading Burmese army.
Directed by Tanit Jitnukul from a screenplay
by Kongkiat Khomsiri. With Jaran Ngamdee, Winai
Kraibutr, Theerayut Ptratyabamrung, Bin Bunluerit
and Bongkoj Khongmalai. Flat. 119 min. July 16
in New York and Los Angeles. Magnolia.
Drama, set in prewar London, about a struggling young
author who – in an effort to generate enough
cash to marry his aristocratic girlfriend – adopts
a pseudonym and begins writing a gossip column chronicling
(and embellishing) the excesses of his party-happy
upper-crust pals. Based on the novel “Vile
Bodies” by Evelyn Waugh (“A Handful of
Dust”). Actor Stephen Fry (“Le Divorce”)
makes his directorial debut from his own screenplay.
With Fry, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emily Mortimer
(“Young Adam,” “Dear Frankie”),
Dan Aykroyd (“50 First Dates”), Stockard
Channing (“Anything Else”), Richard E.
Grant (“Gosford Park,” “Monsieur
N.”), Jim Broadbent (“Nicholas Nickleby,” “Around
the World in 80 Days”) and Peter O’Toole
(“Troy”). 105 min. Aug. 20. ThinkFilm.
Science fiction romantic thriller about a man
who falls for a mysterious young woman and later
discovers that she was cloned from his mother’s
DNA. Directed by Michael Winterbottom (“The
Claim,” “24 Hour Party People”)
from a screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce (“The
Claim,” “Pandaemonium,” “24
Hour Party People”). With Tim Robbins (“Mystic
River,” “Anchorman”), Samantha
Morton (“In America”), Jeanne Balibar
(“Who Knows?”), Essie Davis (“Girl
with a Pearl Earring”), Om Puri (“The
Mystic Masseur”), Nabil Elouhabi (“The
Sum of All Fears”) and Nina Fogg. 92 min.
R: A scene of sexuality; including brief graphic
nudity. Aug. 6 limited. MGM.
Bend the Knee
Dialogue-free comedy, set in 1930s Winnipeg, Manitoba,
shot on super-8mm celluloid and seen entirely through
the voyeuristic perspective of a peep hole, about
a commitment-phobic hockey player pursuaded by
a comely stranger to avenge her father’s
murder. Written and directed by Guy Maddin (“Dracula:
Pages From a Virgin’s Diary,” “The
Saddest Music in the World”). With Darcy
Fehr (“The Saddest Music in the World”),
Melissa Dionisio, Amy Stewart (“Lost and
Delirious”), Tara Birtwhistle (“Dracula:
Pages From a Virgin’s Diary”), Louis
Negin (“Eye of the Beholder”), Mike
Bell and Stan Lesk (“The Outside Chance of
Maximilian Glick”). 60 min. Aug. 11. Zeitgeist.
Australian romantic comedy about a truck driver
who finds love with a meter maid after he ties
huge helium balloons to a lawn chair and accidentally
floats off to a strange town. Longtime storyboard
artist Jeff Balsmeyer (“Canadian Bacon,” “Operation
Dumbo Drop,” “Heat”) makes his
feature directorial debut from his own screenplay.
With Rhys Ifans (“Once Upon A Time in the
Midlands”), Miranda Otto (“Lord of
the Rings: Return of the King,” “Close
Your Eyes”), Justine Clarke (“Japanese
Story”), Rhys Muldoon, Frank Magree (“Ned
Kelly”) and Jeanette Cronin (“Dark
City”). Flat. 90 min. PG-13: Sex-related
situations. July 30 in New York and Los Angeles;
wider Aug. 13. Lions Gate.
Danish-language comedy about two friends whose
meat-cutting venture is revitalized when they begin
utilizing a new “secret ingredient.” Written
and directed by screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen
(“Open Hearts,” “Wilbur Wants
to Kill Himself”). With Line Kruse (“Mifune”),
Nikolaj Lie Kaas (“Open Hearts”), Mads
Mikkelsen (“Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself”),
Nicolas Bro (“Kira’s Reason: A Love
Story”), Aksel Erhardtsen and Bodil Jorgensen
(“The Idiots”). Also known as “De
Gronne Slagtere.” 100 min. Aug. 20. Newmarket.