The team responsible for Ghost World–director Terry Zwigoff, screenwriter/comic book artist Daniel Clowes, and John Malkovich’s production company–reunites for this bitter satirical comedy. An ambitious and virginal young artist (Max Minghella) arrives at art school in search of sex and fame, but the careerism he encounters causes him to despair and betray his talent, especially when the model he loves (Sophia Myles) goes after one of his classmates. It’s a fascinating and provocative muddle: social satire, self-hatred, misanthropy, and misogyny become hard to disentangle as a subplot involving a serial killer comes to the fore. With Malkovich, Matt Keeslar, Jim Broadbent, Steve Buscemi, and Anjelica Huston. R, 102 min.
In this loving and heartbreaking 2004 video Margaret Loescher recounts her father’s traumatic experience in Iraq. A specialist in war refugees and correspondent for the Web page OpenDemocracy, Gil Loescher was meeting with the UN commissioner for human rights when a truck filled with explosives hit the building, killing 22 people and costing Loescher much of his right hand and both his legs. In her terse but eloquent voice-over Margaret denounces the war and its justifications, but she also interrogates her own motives in recording her family’s struggles and respects the fact that othersincluding the paramedic who saved her father’s life and whom she interviewsfeel differently. 63 min. (JR)
Sincere, square, and interminable, this World War II adventure (1949) stars Gregory Peck as a hard-as-nails brigadier general who takes command of a U.S. bombing squad in England, works his men to the limit, dispatches them to bomb the hell out of Germany, and flips out from the strain. Peck and director Henry King teamed up again the next year for The Gunfighter, a masterpiece that undermined the same sort of macho cliches presented here at face value. With Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, Millard Mitchell, Paul Stewart, and Dean Jagger, who copped an Oscar. 132 min. (JR)
The masterful feminist documentarian Kim Longinottowho’s previously focused on women in Japan (Shunjuku Boys), Iran (Divorce Iranian Style), and Kenya (The Day I Will Never Forget)directed this absorbing 2005 account of three Cameroon court cases involving rape, wife beating, and child abuse. As in some of Longinotto’s earlier efforts, the camera seems to increase the participants’ desire to perform, but the authority and common sense of the two central figures, Judge Beatrice Ntuba and state prosecutor Vera Ngassa, are mesmerizing. Florence Ayisi codirected. In English and various subtitled dialects. 104 min. (JR)