In The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the likably
affect-less hero, Toru Okada, spends hours sitting at the bottom of a dry well; this parallels Kafka's dreamlike lovemaking with a woman approaching death, and the compelling scenes when he is on his own in the forest of spirits.
She's played by Hilary Swank, not topping ``Boys Don't Cry'' but likably
physical and, eventually, moving beyond belief.
While everybody here is some kind of stereotype or another, most of the film's racial humor is likably
light-footed; points are made with very little residual hostility (Latinos and gays, however, may wonder where the humanizing scenes for their folks went).
simpler characters, meanwhile, exist to utter important messages.
Kicking off with a high-school graduation, "The Marked Ones'' centers on likably
lunkheaded teenage buddies Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz), as well as Jesse's tag-along relative Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh).
When the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival last fall, The Hollywood Reporter said: "A likably
unpleasant slice of Texas noir aims at the funny bone as much as the jugular.
But I'd wager most of it has to do with lead actor Tomas Lemarquis' performance, which is nicely contained, only punkishly provocative when Noi needs to make a point and likably
light on expressions of self-pity .
But ``Bon Voyage,'' while likably
clear-eyed about the nation's comic opera cowardice, also has some stirring things to say about French pride and pluck.
Friendships, as you'd expect, are tested to the max, but in a likably
Polynesian, hang-loose sort of way.
Although director Jan Hrebejk includes some false notes -- Marie's face is suddenly superimposed on the living room portrait of Mary -- Polivka's performance as the likably
sardonic antihero gives the movie both credibility and complexity.
The suburban family her character, Ruth, escapes from is both likably
and tediously provincial: They attend Wild West theme parties together (where Winslet bestows sapphic smooches on the local gals) and wear T-shirts that encapsulate their universe (Playboy for dad, dogs for mum, guns for son-in-law).