APRIL’S SHOWER Some audiences are likely to enjoy “April’s Shower,” an overenthusiastic, independent romantic comedy in which relationships gay, straight, and bisexual are ended, started, and rekindled. Trish Doolan’s film reinforces messages about being true to one’s self and never giving up on finding love and happiness that should resonate with the target audience. Quad Cinema. (Gary M. Kramer)
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN Arriving on an avalanche of hype, “Brokeback Mountain” finally reaches the screen nine years after E. Annie Proulx’s memorable short story first appeared in The New Yorker. The story’s enduring impression—once the novelty wore off, one of sentimentality and archaism—is preserved intact in Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry’s reverent yet inventive adaptation. (Ioannis Mookas)
CACHE (Hidden) Michael Haneke’s never come across a genre he didn’t want to implode—family melodrama in “The Seventh Continent” and “The Piano Teacher,” horror in “Funny Games,” science fiction in “Time of the Wolf.” With “Caché,” he’s made a thriller that retains all the form’s tension while offering little of its satisfactions and catharsis. In French with English subtitles at Lincoln Plaza, Landmark Sunshine. (Steve Erickson).
CAPOTE Yes, in “Capote,” Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a terrific—call it Oscar-worthy —performance channeling gay writer Truman Capote. He has the author’s mannerisms down pat, his voice expertly attuned to delivering witty bon mots. It’s a perfect role for the actor/chameleon and he plays it to the hilt. Angelika, Clearview Chelsea, Lincoln Plaza. (Gary M. Kramer).
THE FAMILY STONE Tom Bezucha’s “Family Stone” tells the story of Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), an uptight, finance-whiz girlfriend of the eldest Stone son, who brings her to his New England home for the holidays. Problem is, the eccentric family loathes the interloper. The dream ensemble includes Diane Keaton, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson, and Claire Danes. (David Kennerley)
Paradise Now Suicide turns a person’s life into a giant question mark. For suicide bombers, it’s doubly true. Everything in their life is seen as a prelude, making the suicide bomber a difficult character to fictionalize. Palestinian-born, Dutch-based director Hany Abu-Assad is certainly aware of the pitfalls, perhaps too much so. Landmark Sunshine. (Steve Erickson)
THAT MAN, PETER BERLIN Jim Tushinski’s fabulous film about the porn star/recluse will entertain those who remember Peter Berlin, and educate those who do not. With his Dutch boy haircut, and skintight clothes that left nothing to the imagination, Berlin caused heads to turn, tongues to wag, and fantasies to ignite when he turned up in San Francisco in the early 1970s. Using amazing archival images, excerpts from Berlin’s porn films—“Nights in Black Leather” and “That Boy”—as well as photos by and of Berlin, Tushinki reveals the very private, and very public, lives of this gay male icon. Cinema Village. (Gary Kramer)
TRANSAMERICA “Transamerica,” the new film written and directed by Duncan Tucker, is terribly written, poorly conceived, and its premise is stupid to the point of ridiculousness. It is also, most likely, the best film of 2005. The credit for this success lies not in Tucker’s overbearing hands, but in the more delicate fingers of Felicity Huffman. IFC Center. Clearview’s 62nd & Broadway. (Nick Feitel)
WHEN THE SEA RISES One walks out of “When the Sea Rises” wondering if a reel got misplaced somewhere. The film chronicles a relationship between Irene (co-director Moreau), a middle-aged performer, and Dries (Wim Willaert), a younger man who becomes her lover and onstage foil. However, nothing much seems to be at stake. Cinema Village. Lincoln Plaza. (Steve Erickson)