Since the career peaks of Fargo and The Big Lebowski, the Coen brothers' previously astonishing career momentum has noticeably faltered. O Brother, Where Art Thou? had some good things going for it, but is probably best remembered for its soundtrack.
Young Adam's David MacKenzie makes an impressive directorial debut with this low-key but unpredictable thriller about two travellers who stumble across a strange community in the remote Scottish Highlands. It benefits from a nice mix of quirky humour and quiet menace, plus a sprinkling of the supernatural for good measure. Bleak, but still well worth the journey.
Unfairly pilloried on its theatrical release for co-opting the dolefully serious subject of capital punishment into a twist-ending thriller, Alan Parker's depiction of the eponymous philosophy professor and death row defendant (Kevin Spacey—droll), gutsy crusading journalist Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet—er, enthusiastic), and their frenetic race to prove Gale's innocence is fundamentally competent—sometimes clinical—studio entertainment.
DVD EXTRAS: Commentary from Parker, deleted scenes, Making Of..., music featurette, posters, trailers.
Funnier than it has any right to be (and co-written by the Austin Powers chaps), this gives Eddie Griffin a chance to shine as a superhero who's "funky, sexy and proud to be black". A cross between Shaft and James Brown (who cameos), he'll save the world from The Man as long as it doesn't mess with his afro. Denise Richards distracts him as White She Devil. Get on up.