BREATHLESS

Can a classic be dated and remain a classic? Take a look at Jean-Luc Godard's stimulating, jarring, boring, frustrating French New Wave ice-breaker and find out. Influenced heavily by the stream of Hollywood film noirs that were been bottled up during World War II then hit French audiences in a torrent, 1959's

Advertisement

Breathless

is nothing less than a love letter to the American gangster movie. The film's hero, Michel Poicard (Jean-Paul Belmondo), is a petty thief who steals a car, commits murder, rips off a friend, and bickers and makes up with his American girlfriend (a lovely Jean Seberg). Posing in his fedora and dangling cigarette à la Humphrey Bogart, Poicard seems oddly dated even by 1959 standards, while Seberg remains refreshingly contemporary. Godard's maddening jump cuts and seemingly pointless camera movements certainly were unexpected and thrilling when the film came out, but with the advent of hand-held cameras and today's craze for manic editing,

Breathless

often seems to be striving too hard for arty coolness. But cool it ultimately remains-with its sleek jazz score, bold infatuation with itself, and frank love of all things cinematic, how could it be anything else? (Luisa F. Ribeiro)

Opens Oct. 15 at the Charles Theatre.

CONTACT

Based on a Carl Sagan novel about an astronomer who receives a radio transmission from outer space that indicates we are not alone,

Contact

stands out as a thinking person's blockbuster. But despite a quietly authoritative performance by its star, Jodie Foster, and uncharacteristic special-effects restraint from director Robert Zemeckis (

Forrest Gump

), it doesn't entirely deliver on its promise of a bracing religion-versus-science debate. Matthew McConaughey, unconvincing in the role of a sexy, politically connected New Age theologian, doesn't help matters, and his casting lends the whole affair an air of commercial compromise. Still the movie has its considerable merits, chief among them Foster's fiercely committed performance, Zemeckis' willingness to showcase his star, and his audacious use of noise and silence throughout. Though Contact isn't one for the ages, it certainly could have been. (Heather Joslyn)

At Towson University's Van Bokkelen Hall Auditorium Oct. 18 at 7:30

p.m.

JACKASS 3D

Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-o, et al. return to do stupid shit for the camera-in 3D.

Advertisement

Opens Oct. 15.

NOWHERE BOY

Aaron Johnson stars as a young John Lennon in this biopic about the future Beatle's teenage life in Liverpool.

Opens Oct. 15.

PAN'S LABYRINTH

Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), a young girl, and her mother (Ariadna Gil), pregnant and gravely ill, arrive in a small village/military base in Spain, 1944, lorded over by the casually murderous Capitán Vidal (Sergi López), who is also Ofelia's stepfather. Vidal's physician (Álex Angulo) supplies medicine to the insurgent rebels on the sly, aided by housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verdú). Mercedes befriends Ofelia, who reacts to the agonies around her by locating a-imaginary?-forest gateway to a magical underground world. And as Vidal becomes more cutthroat in his dealings with the citizenry and Ofelia's mother worsens, the girl's delusions gain detail and depth with the appearance of Pan, an ancient walleyed faun (Doug Jones). He gives her three missions to carry out, the completion of which will return her as the reincarnated princess of a wondrous golden kingdom. Director Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth recalibrates your sense of wonder from the dead aesthetic of mindless American fantasies to far more intimate magic, and everything you might say about it is a reiteration of, "There is no bad here," from the performances to the lushly melancholic score. (Ian Grey)

At the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Wheeler Auditorium Oct. 16 at 10:30

a.m

.

RED

Robert Schwentke directs this graphic novel adaptation about some older CIA black ops-Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren-who have to get together again to take out whomever is targeting them.

Opens Oct. 15.

ULTIMATUM

Set in 1991 Israel during the Persian Gulf War, director Alain Tasma's drama follows a French couple, student Luisa (Jasmine Trinca) and artist Nathanaël (Gaspard Ulliel), living in Jerusalem and trying to cope with impending threats of Iraqi Scud missile attacks.

At the Gordon Center for Performing Arts in Owings Mills Oct. 13 at 7:30

p.m.

as part of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore's Cinefest 2010.

UP IN THE AIR

Director Jason Reitman uses his deft touch to explore the compartmentalized life of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a for-hire corporate hatchetman. And while Ryan loves everything about his itinerant job, Reitman's

Air

shows him to be a soulless widget. He realizes this by seeing his life through the eyes of Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), the new company woman who wants to innovate the termination business. And while that realization sounds hokey, Reitman keeps the pace screwball tight while never treading lightly on what they do. Best of all,

Air

doesn't reward Ryan, leaving him in the same place as where he started, but with his look on life forever changed. (Bret McCabe)

At the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Wheeler Auditorium Oct. 16 at 2

p.m

.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement