Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More magic to be had at film festival

Express Staff Writer

Edward Norton and Evan Rachel Wood get acquainted in "Down in the Valley." Courtesy THINKFilm Co.

What if someone from the old West, such as a sweet-talking cowboy, wandered onto a beach in modern day Los Angeles? And what if that guy was played by the brilliant actor Edward Norton?

The result of these meditations is the movie "Down in the Valley," part of the second week of the 18th annual Magic Lantern Film Festival, in Ketchum.

Directed by David Jacobson, the story concerns the cowboy, Harlan, who meets a disaffected teen, played winsomely by Evan Rachel Wood. An unlikely but intense romance develops between the Valley girl and the cowboy, despite protests from her tough guy, single dad, played by David Morse. Also in the picture mucking up the works is her sad, lonely little brother—played by Rory Culkin.

New York Magazine wrote, "The best thing about 'Down in the Valley' is that you hope it's not going where you have an inkling it's going. The purity of Norton's madness is a wonder."

Yup. There you have the spoiler. Norton plays a guy slightly out of touch with the world and twisted in a way you are antsy not to know.

Both Norton and his young co-star Wood have received glowing reviews for their roles but it is Norton's nuance portrayal that steals the movie.

Another of this week's featured movies is "Trust the Man." Clearly a New York, Woody Allen-wanna-be flick, two couples are pulled together, apart, and off to the side.

Played by a quartet of rock solid actors—Juliana Moore (whose husband director Bart Freundlich helmed) David Duchovny, Maggie Gyllenhall and Billy Crudup—the couples are teetering on the brink of change. Because they are New Yorkers, they eat out a lot, have shrinks, neuroses and talk a lot. It makes for a thinking kind of romantic comedy.

Festival Schedule

· Sept. 20-21: "The Proposition" 4:30 p.m. and "Wordplay" 7 p.m.

· "Trust the Man:" Sept. 22-Sept. 24; 2, 7 and 9:15 p.m. Sept. 26-28, 4:30 p.m.

· "Who Killed the Electric Car?": Sept. 22-24, 2 and 4:30 p.m. Sept. 25, 4:30 p.m. Sept. 26- 28, 7 p.m.

· "Brick:" Sept. 20-21, 4:30 p.m.

· "Down in the Valley:" Sept. 22-24, 6:45 and 9:15 p.m. Sept. 25-28, 4:30 p.m.

· "Strangers With Candy:" Sept. 22-25, 4:30 p.m. Sept. 26-28, 7 p.m.

The Magic Lantern is located at First Avenue and Second Street in Ketchum. Call 726-4274 or visit

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