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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Mongol,’ ‘Constantine’s Sword,’ ‘The Fall,’ ‘A Previous Engagement,’ ‘The Babysitters,’ ‘Noise,’ ‘Quid Pro Quo,’ ‘The Wackness’

My screening schedule is getting back to normal, meaning four, five, six, or more movies per week. And I still have so much writing to do about Comic Con and Tribeca… But that won’t stop me from trying to cram in as many screenings as I can. Like these:

So there’s this movie from Kazakhstan about Genghis Khan, and it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars. (It didn’t win.) And now Mongol is opening in limited release here on June 6. Apparently this guy ruled half the world or something in the Dark Ages. Which must have taken some balls. Hopefully his movie does him justice.

The documentary Constantine’s Sword [now playing in limited release] delves deep into history, too, to explore the violent legacy of the Catholic Church. It’s from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Oren Jacoby, so I’m hoping for good things from it.

To say I wasn’t crazy about The Cell is a bit of an understatement, so I’m not sure why I’m bothering with Tarsem Singh’s new movie, The Fall [opens limited May 9], except, you know, it’s a movie and I’m obsessive. Also, Lee Pace is in it, and he’s beautiful.

Juliet Stevenson — whom I’ve loved since Truly, Madly, Deeply — stars in A Previous Engagement [opens limited May 9], which also happens to be a romantic comedy from a female writer-director, Joan Carr-Wiggin. So pretty please let this one be good.

The Babysitters [opens limited May 9] are actually teenaged call girls. Will it be exploitive and misogynist, or clever and feminist? I don’t even want to guess the odds one way or the other.

In Noise [opens limited May 9], Tim Robbins is a New Yorker who is being driven crazy by the din of the city. It’s supposed to be a comedy, but it’s from writer-director Henry Bean, who’s last — and first — film was The Believer, which was about a Jewish skinhead and introduced us to the wonderful Ryan Gosling. Amazing movie, but not exactly a barrel of laughs.

Quid Pro Quo [opens limited mid-June] is a Sundance flick about those strange people who feel compelled to amputate their own healthy limbs and perform other bizarre body modifications. Weird.

The Wackness [opens limited July 3] is another one from Sundance, and it’s all 1994 and hip hop and pagers. Alert: 90s nostalgia has begun.

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