Every few years or so, there comes a film that seeks to capture the spirit of a lost generation.
John Cusack And every few years or so, John Cusack seems to come out of relative seclusion to star in it.
So the tradition continues this week with "High Fidelity" (opening wide, Friday), yet another serving of offbeat meandering through the mindset of the thirtysomething. Based on the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby, the flick revolves around the existential crisis of a record store manager (Cusack) who's struggling with the thinning appeal of slackerdom and the loss of his girlfriend (played by Joelle Hjejle).
Co-scripted by Cusack and the "Grosse Pointe Blank" writing team of D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink, the film features one awesome supporting cast, including Lili Taylor, Sara Gilbert, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tim Robbins and sister Joan Cusack.
In other new releases:
-- Now just because something is animated using state-of-the-art computer technology doesn't necessarily mean that it's innovative. The third animated feature from DreamWorks, "The Road to El Dorado" (opening wide, Friday) is an especially thematically regressive flick that repackages age-old paradigms of imperialism and racial stereotypes in animated form. The story follows two con men (as voiced by Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline) who peregrinate to the lost city of El Dorado in search of stashed gold. Once there, they're deified by the natives and, in a twist of events, end up defending the helpless people from being attacked.
-- This week, two seemingly incongruous genres -- "Dawson's Creek"-style teen dramas and teen-slasher flicks -- merge into one. OK, maybe not exactly, but "The Skulls" (opening wide, Friday) is probably the closest the two can come to a synthesis. The thriller stars Joshua Jackson as an Ivy Leaguer who tries to fit in with the school's upper-crust set by joining a secret society.
-- "Price of Glory" closes out the list of national releases this week. In it, Jimmy Smits plays a former boxing champion who trains his three sons to follow in his footsteps.
-- In limited release: "The Filth and The Fury" (opening Wednesday in New York) is a documentary on the rise, fall and lasting influence of those decorum-trampling, scurrilous self-proclaimed anarchists who called themselves The Sex Pistols. Directed by Julien Temple (who's been down this road before with 1980's absurd but nonetheless amusing "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle"), the film serves as a valiant attempt to understand the group, the music and the attitude. Fun stuff for the whole family includes archival footage of frontman Johnny Rotten dropping expletives on a British talk show. There are also new interviews with surviving members of the Pistols. Oh, in case in you're wondering, this documentary is approved by the aging, angst-drained punk rockers.
Other new flicks are: "Beau Travail" (opening Friday in New York), "The Color of Paradise" (opening Friday in Los Angeles and New York) and "Long Night's Journey into Day" (opening Friday in New York).