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TALKING MOVIES (article first published : 2003-11-23)

Tune into BBC WORLD on DStv for an interesting programme on the latest movie news from November 25 to 29.

The Oscar-winning director Ron Howard tells Tom Brook about his latest project - a Western entitled The Missing. Set in New Mexico in 1885, the film stars Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones as an estranged father and daughter who reunite after Blanchett's daughter, played by Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen), is kidnapped. It's an A-list of talent, but can Howard revive the flagging Western genre?

Naomi Watts is winning rave reviews for her performance as a grieving mother in 21 Grams. Since the Australian actress turned heads two years ago in David Lynch's noir thriller Mulholland Drive, she's been keeping busy and - as Laura Metzger finds out - she seems to be an actress who's at the top of her game.

The new supernatural thriller Gothika is set in a psychiatric unit and stars Halle Berry as a criminal psychologist who wakes up one day as a patient in her own ward. With no knowledge of how she got there, Berry's character is accused of murdering her husband. The early word on the film isn't good, so Manoush Zomorodi investigates what inspired the actress to take on the leading role.

A crisis draws a prodigal son home to his dying father's bedside in Canadian director Denys Arcand's film The Barbarian Invasions, a follow-up to his 1986 movie, The Decline of the American Empire. Set 17 years later and using many of the same cast members it explores a group of characters, venting their concerns about a world that has been invaded by terrorism and illnesses such as SARS and AIDS.

The Shape of Things, director Neil LaBute's screen adaptation of his own play, explores whether a woman is capable of the same level of manipulation that his male leads achieved in his first feature film, In The Company of Men. Laura Metzger asks LaBute, (who is perhaps best known for his probing portrayals of relationships that are often uncomfortable to watch), how he feels about being labelled a "chronicler of cruelty".

Talking Movies originates on November 25 at 22h30. It is repeated on November 27 at 18h30, November 28 at 03h30, 10h30 and 15h30, and November 29 at 23h30.




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