New Reviews

Come Early Morning; The Ground Truth; Harsh Times; Night of the Living Dead 3D; The Return; Vivah

The Return gets this year's award for most misleading poster, with its image of an empty-eyed, gray-skinned zombie/ghost that appears nowhere in the movie. You might, however, feel a little empty-eyed and zombie-like yourself after emerging from this languid story. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who wouldn't know a good movie script if it staked her in the heart, plays an agricultural product rep who occasionally has hallucinations about a mysterious ponytailed man in bluejeans. As she travels to a small Texas town to try to figure out why, she sometimes hears noises, sees her eyes change color in the mirror, and runs into deserted barns. Also, an angry coworker surfaces periodically to try to rape her for no apparent reason. A halfway decent editor could easily chop this down to 30 minutes without losing any plot points, but it would still be a tedious slog. Sam Shepard makes an appearance as Gellar's dad, and single-handedly shows up everyone else onscreen by displaying actual human characteristics. In fairness, the final plot revelation is so ludicrous you'll probably never guess it. (Luke Y. Thompson) (Countywide)

The only important thing missing from Sooraj Barjatya's Vivah (Wedding) is a major cathartic dance number, like the ones that were so exhilarating is his all-time Bollywood classic Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! (What Am I To You). In many ways, Vivah marks a return to form for the director after a couple of films that were overblown to the point of kitsch, but it also overcompensates by playing everything in minor key. As usual with Barjatya, there's almost no plot in the conventional sense. A beautiful and devout small-town girl named Poonam (Amrita Rao) and a go-getting Delhi businessman's son named Prem (Shahid Kapoor) meet for the first time and fall in love when they are brought together by their doting parents as arranged-marriage prospects. The film then follows along on a series of family outings and meals and games as the young lovers' affection deepens in the months leading up their wedding. The central romantic storyline is only a vehicle for a lovingly detailed depiction of an idealized way of life. Everything in Vivah hinges on the obligations and rewards of living in a hierarchical "joint family"—obligations that are seen as liberating rather than confining. From the moment he gets engaged, Prem accepts total responsibility for Poonam's well being, which in turn gives meaning to his life. (Calling this point of view old fashioned doesn't begin to cover it: it's so defiantly retrograde that it becomes a critique of narcissistic "modernity.") But one of the secrets of Barjatya's past success was his effortless mastery of Bollywood's aesthetic of excess. A restrained and tasteful Barjatya movie—one that doesn't uncork single up-tempo dance number—is only half alive. (David Chute) (Laguna Hills 3; Naz 8, Artesia)


Killing fields
Killing fields

Thurs., Nov. 16, 11:59 p.m. (countywide)and Fri., Nov. 17, 12:01 a.m. (AMC at the Block, Orange)

Fri., Nov. 17, 12:01 a.m. (AMC at the Block, Orange)

« Previous Page

Now Showing

Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

Box Office Report

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!