‘The Ring Two’ and Other Awkwardly Titled Films From Japan

March 18, 2005

Opening this weekend: Naomi Watts turns Japanese, Michelle Trachtenberg pulls a Michelle Kwan, and Woody Allen does a double-take.

The Ring Two (PG-13) Naomi Watts returns as bad mother/investigative reporter Rachel Keller in this Hideo Nakata directed sequel to The Ring. Having directed Ringu and Ringu 2 (the Japanese films on which The Ring and The Ring Two are based), Nakata was brought on board for his talent and familiarity with the source material. Hm. You’d think he’d get it right the second time around.

Ice Princess (G) A Disney produced “tween” flick as ingratiating as a very special episode of Full House. Straight from the synopsis:

A teen misfit who never thought she’d fit in discovers her personal edge when she risks it all to pursue her dreams of figure skating, in Disney’s inspirational family comedy, ICE PRINCESS.

One would think a realistic film about a “teen misfit” would garner something far more exclusionary than a ‘G’ rating. Maybe the tag line should be “Sanitized for your protection.”

Melinda and Melinda (PG-13, NY & LA) Woody Allen reprises his role as writer/director for this dichotomous film. The cast includes Will Farrell, Radha Mitchell, Amanda Peet, Chloe Sevigny, Josh Brolin, Jonny Lee Miller and Shalom Harlow. After a series of critically and financially disappointing films, has Allen finally returned to his former glory? The critics can’t decide.

Steamboy (PG-13, Limited) This unfortunately titled Japanese animated feature is described as “a retro science-fiction epic set in Victorian England.” The fact that the film was written and directed by Akira mastermind Katsuhiro Ôtomo should be enough to get die hard anime fans into theaters.

16 Years of Alcohol (R, Limited) A heavy drama that examines the effect alcohol has on the life of Edinburgh native Frankie Mac. As a boy, Frankie watches alcoholism consume his father, as a teenager, he escapes through violence and music and, as a man, he succumbs to the same pattern of abuse his father so lovingly demonstrated. It’s like Trainspotting (minus all the funny bits).


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