- A boyish Clive Owen gives you at least one good reason to check out Chancer.
Our Very Own (Miramax) "New!" shouts the sticker on the shrinkwrap of this two-year-old, small-town-in-'78-set melodramedy. It stars Allison Janney as a Shelbyville, Tennessee mama stuck with a drunken sumbitch hubby (Keith Carradine) and a restless son (played by Jason Ritter, John's amiable kiddo). It was written and directed by Shelbyville's own Cameron Watson, who steers the proceedings with the steady if occasionally clammy hand of a man celebrating the hometown he probably hated as a kid, but couldn't wait to memorialize as a grown-up. It's all over the place, but it's got a scrappy, sincere, let's-put-on-a-show vibe (literally, it's near the end). And, in the end, Janney is absolutely superb as the bottle rocket of rage just waiting for Carradine to light the fuse; swell also is Cheryl Hines, once more cast as the shoulder upon which the teetering and tottering lean. -- Wilonsky The Taste of Tea (Viz Pictures) The first 20 minutes of The Taste of Tea are crammed with images both surreal and hilarious: A boy chases a train that launches into the air, leaving him with a hole in his head; then another boy takes a dump on a giant egg in a forest, causing the ghost of a murdered yakuza to haunt him. It's the beginning of a true masterpiece. And while the film has problems living up to those first wonderful moments, it's still one of the best Japanese comedies for Westerners since 1986's Tampopo. Directed by Katsuhito Ishii (who created the animation for Kill Bill), the movie is seeded with brilliant imagery throughout. Unfortunately, the formless story of an arty family living in the country runs about 40 minutes too long. The same could be said of the second disc's 90-minute making of doc. -- Jordan Harper