When a warmongering prime minister (Fengyi Zhang) advances his armies against two rival kingdoms, he unwittingly prompts his adversaries (Chen Chang and Yong You) to work together in this martial arts action-adventure. The ensuing conflict culminates in the epic battle of Red Cliff, a struggle by the sea involving more than one million soldiers.
An eclectic mix of short films, documentaries, cartoons and videos, Wholphin features rarely seen works by both emerging artists and established filmmakers. Directors Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), David O. Russell (Three Kings) and Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl) contribute to this collection. Highlights include an intimate portrait of Al Gore, Selma Blair having an interesting visit with a gynecologist, and a look inside the mind of a writer.
When a mystery needs to be solved, and it's not a whodunit but rather a maze involving complex emotions, it requires the expertise of intellectual -- and perhaps slightly kooky -- detectives Vivian (Lily Tomlin) and Bernard (Dustin Hoffman). Jude Law and Naomi Watts co-star in David O. Russell's quirky comedy that finds the existential husband-and-wife team helping a do-gooding client (Jason Schwartzman) who's plagued by twists of fate.
Maverick director Werner Herzog's uncompromising allegory about the consequences of imprisonment and rebellion depicts a coup launched by dwarfs against the mental institution in which they're inmates. With a cast composed entirely of little people (the first time that had been done since the 1938 Western Terror of Tiny Town), this surreal yet strangely beautiful film makes a powerful statement about the repercussions of ostracism.
In this hilarious mockumentary, middle-aged Daisato (Hitoshi Matsumoto) -- a second-rate, third-generation superhero -- annoys his neighbors with the noise and destruction he causes on the job. But a heroic public image is the least of his concerns. Besides defending Japan from bizarre monsters, he must deal with an agent seeking to brand him with ads, a superhero grandfather with Alzheimer's and a family embarrassed by his incompetence.
Soon after saxophonist Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) suspects his wife (Patricia Arquette) of cheating on him, he is mysteriously framed for her murder and sent to death row, in this surreal, non-linear film by director David Lynch. In prison, Madison inexplicably transforms into a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty) who, after being released (he isn't the convicted killer anymore), meets a local gangster's moll -- also played by Patricia Arquette.
After his painter wife (Catherine Keener) leaves him and takes their daughter to Berlin, theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) stages an autobiographical play in a massive New York City warehouse amid a life-size replica of Manhattan. Meanwhile, Caden must contend with the many women in his life -- including a box-office worker, an actress and a shrink -- in this beguiling directorial debut from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.
The second edition of Wholphin's mix of short films, documentaries and cartoons features Steven Soderbergh paying tribute to Jean Luc Godard with a sci-fi short and documentary filmmaker Errol Morris profiling business tycoon Donald Trump. Other works include two Oscar-nominated shorts, a funny instructional video, a gothic horror tale, an appearance by Andy Richter, and a revamping of the Japanese version of "Bewitched" by writers of "The Daily Show."
When a stoic government official (Takashi Shimura) in post-war Japan learns he has terminal cancer, he suddenly realizes he's squandered his life on meaningless red tape and has no close family or friendships to lean on, in this drama from director Akira Kurosawa. Resolving to use his remaining time wisely, he sets out to steer a children's playground project through the bureaucracy he knows so well.
Alexander Payne and Dennis Hopper present some of their earliest films in this issue of Wholphin, an eclectic mix of short films, documentaries and cartoons by both emerging artists and established filmmakers. A documentary about a teenager's struggle with her culture, an incredibly strange Japanese movie, and a unique volleyball game played across the U.S.-Mexico border are a few of the other highlights included.