ONE FINE DAY: George Clooney plays a rakish, irresponsible, and sexy single dad and Michelle Pfeiffer is a neurotic, standoffish, and sexy single mom in this likeable, fast-paced romantic comedy. Melanie Parker is an architect and a perfectionist workaholic who has no time for a social life. Unfortunately, things spin out of her control on the day of the biggest presentation of her career, when her son Sammy shows up late to school, misses the class field trip, and so is left in Melanie's care for the day. Jack Taylor, a feckless newspaper reporter, finds himself in much the same situation when his newly married ex-wife leaves their daughter Maggie with him for a week, requiring a level of responsibility he is unprepared for. He and Melanie meet in front of the school and sparks--of the ill-tempered kind--fly, as each projects onto the other the faults of their exes. Eventually, however, as they race to save their jobs while keeping their kids intact, their true feelings for one another emerge. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for the best original song ("For the First Time").
SOLARIS: Steven Soderbergh (OCEAN'S ELEVEN, TRAFFIC) delivers yet another inspired remake with this pensive sci-fi drama based on the book by Stanislaw Lem. Taking his cue from Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 epic of the same name, Soderbergh boldly chooses atmosphere over action, crafting a profoundly meditative work that will challenge audiences for many years to come. George Clooney plays Chris Kelvin, a therapist who is sent to a space station near the planet of Solaris in order to investigate a series of mysterious happenings. When he arrives, he finds only two surviving crew members, hyper-strange Snow (Jeremy Davies) and ultra-paranoid Gordon (Viola Davis). Unable to make sense of their fear and confusion, Chris soon discovers the reason for their anxiety. In a seemingly implausible turn of events caused by Solaris's bizarre energy levels, Chris's deceased wife Rhea (Natascha McElhone) reappears. Fully aware that Rhea is only a figment of his memory, Chris is nonetheless unable to dismiss her due to the tragic events surrounding her death. He must somehow find a way to bid farewell to Rhea once and for all without collapsing under the weight of his own guilty conscience. Soderbergh's dream of a motion picture successfully balances philosophy with romance, telling a familiar tale of love and loss in a strikingly original way.
THIN RED LINE: Terrence Malick returns to Hollywood after a two-decade hiatus with this adaptation of the classic WWII novel by James Jones. The story follows the efforts of an army platoon to capture the Japanese-controlled island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific Ocean, which will have a major effect on the outcome of the war. The members of C-for-Charlie Company are all fighting for different reasons: some to achieve glory, some out of patriotism, and some simply to remain alive. They spend the quieter moments reflecting upon their existence, searching for meaning amid the senselessness of war.
Malick's reputation as one of cinema's most brilliant directors, based on his masterworks BADLANDS and DAYS OF HEAVEN, enabled him to pull together one of the largest ensemble all-star casts in Hollywood history. The result is a sprawling epic that carries itself like a poem read in a dream, a feeling that is greatly enhanced by John Toll's floating camerawork and Hans Zimmer's haunting score. Rather than concentrating solely on the violence and destruction of war, Malick uses the situation to address philosophical questions such as man versus nature, war versus peace, and good versus evil. THE THIN RED LINE proves that after a 20-year layoff, Malick hasn't lost a step.