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Film Shorts

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16MM Madness: Investigative Journalism
Vintage investigative reports on American business, including The Killing Ground (about chemical dumps and spills) and Hard Times in the Country, which sounds like a pastoral porn but is actually about corporate agribusiness. See Destination Fun, pg. 25. Clinton Street Theater

48 Hour Film Project
See Destination Fun, pg. 25. Hollywood Theatre

5 x 2
Calculated where François Ozon's other movies are flamboyant, precise instead of disorderly, 5 x 2 is the kind of carefully crafted film you have to admire. It's also almost impossible to enjoy. The movie tells the history of a rather ordinary couple (the two in the title) in reverse chronological order, using discontinuous but revealing episodes (five in all). In the first (i.e., sequentially last) episode, Gilles (Stéphane Freiss) divorces and then basically rapes his ex-wife (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). As the film progresses, these two flawed individuals throw painful, sexually conflicted parties; have a baby; fail to consummate their marriage; fall in possibly lopsided love; and flirt. The preponderance of what you might call "warning signs" about Gilles starts to verge on the grotesque. Before your eyes, an asshole sheds his facial hair and grows backwards into a younger, nicer, but obviously irredeemable guy. Gilles loses any hope of the audience's sympathy in the very first scene, but you still have to sit and watch him for another hour. It isn't any fun at all. (Annie Wagner) Cinema 21

Broken Flowers
Bill Murray plays Don Johnston ("No," he says, often and resignedly. "Johnston. With a 'T.'"), a lonely, lazy, and rich man who receives an anonymous letter. Claiming to be from an old flame, it informs him he has a son he never knew of. The bewildered Johnston shows the letter to his mystery-obsessed neighbor (an excellent Jeffrey Wright), who convinces Johnston to go on a cross-country trip to discover who sent the letter. Along the way, Murray's biggest talent—simultaneously seeming like a total schlub and the coolest guy ever—meshes perfectly with writer/director Jim Jarmusch's meditative style. By the film's end, Johnston's quest is secondary, pushed aside by the audience's simple act of knowing the utterly believable and sympathetic Johnston so disarmingly well. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10

The Chumscrubber
The Chumscrubber—about Dean Stiffle, a grumpy teenager (Jamie Bell) who lives in a supposedly perfect, Stepford Wives-style suburban neighborhood—strikes me as a film that writer/director Arie Posin has been working on since he was a teen. There are elements of the story that are naïve and over-dramatic, but regardless, Posin, a first-time feature film director, shows a lot of promise; fans of dark comedy should see this movie. In the characters' nuances, you'll see the phony personalities of people you know, the vindictive streaks of your friends, the childishness of your parents, and the sharp, creepily aware minds of kids. (Katie Shimer) Hollywood Theatre

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

The Dukes of Hazzard
I'd be a liar if I said The Dukes of Hazzard isn't a horrible movie. It takes the late-'70s/early-'80s TV show—in which cousins Bo and Luke Duke drove around in their '69 Dodge Charger, the General Lee, taunting cops and tearin' ass around Hazzard County, Georgia—and creates a thoroughly mixed modern version, with a first half filled with less-than-funny jokes (courtesy of the less-than-funny guys of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, who're also culpable for Super Troopers and Club Dread). But then ZZ Top and AC/DC hit the soundtrack, the General starts really drivin' (the driving sequences rule), Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott start being funny, and Willie Nelson, as Uncle Jesse, starts killing cops (seriously). In other words, it gets pretty awesome. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc

The Edukators
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10

El Leyton
Gonzalo Justiniano's comedy/tragedy about a love triangle on the Pacific coast. Guild

Four Brothers
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.

Good Morning, Babylon
Two Tuscan brothers immigrate to America and find work creating Babylonian film sets and love in the form of two hot movie extras. Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Guild

The Great Raid
See review this issue. Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Century Eastport 16, Lloyd Mall, City Center 12, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Movies on TV

Hustle & Flow
Hustle & Flow tells the story of DJay, a pimp in the throes of a midlife crisis. Realizing that pimping isn't all it's cracked up to be—there's a lot more carpooling involved than you might think—he decides to launch a career as a rapper. Despite a tremendous performance by Terrence Dashon Howard as DJay, Hustle & Flow is ultimately a transparent, casually misogynistic attempt to capitalize on middle class white Americans' fascination with the hiphop world. By way of some snappy camera angles and a few strategically allocated hearts of gold, writer/director Craig Brewer has created a glossy, simplistic actualization of a cliché that white people are all too eager too embrace. (Alison Hallett) Century Eastport 16, Lloyd Mall, Broadway Metroplex, Westgate, St. Johns Theater

INFERNAL AFFAIRS
A tense, intelligent thriller about crosses, double-crosses, and double-double-crosses. Starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu Wai as two double agents (or are they?) within Hong Kong's police and gangster circles. It'd be pretty lame of me to give anything else away, but know that both the leads are excellent, the direction (by Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak) is taut and stylish, and the clever, humane plot ramps up the tension and intrigue with an understated skill. (Erik Henriksen) Whitsell

Jawbreaker
Reagan High's top clique of babelicious babes have accidentally killed one of their buds, and there's a witness: Nerdier-than-thou Fern Mayo (Judy Evan Greer). What to do? Clique leader Courtney, a.k.a. "Satan in high heels" (Rose McGowan), buys Fern off by letting her join the gang. A quick makeover later, and Fern becomes "Vylette." But does a conscience still beat within? Director Darren Stein will be in attendance; See Destination Fun, pg. 25. (Gillian G. Gaar) Clinton Street Theater

Knit Flicks: Royal Wedding
See Destination Fun, pg. 25. Clinton Street Theater

Laurel and Hardy Festival of Fun
Includes Brats, Come Clean, The Music Box, and Way Out West. See Destination Fun, pg. 25. Clinton Street Theater

Live Film Scoring with Canoofle
See Destination Fun, pg. 25. Clinton Street Theater

MACTARNAHAN'S OUTDOOR SUMMER CINEMA SERIES
Every Friday and Saturday this summer, Mac's presents free films—plus "BBQ, beer, wine, and outdoor libations"—in Pyramid Breweries' Taproom parking lot! This Friday: Poltergeist. This Saturday: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory—yeah, the old school one, with Gene Wilder! Enjoy, and bring your own chairs. (And the movies are free, but the beer isn't—so don't go demanding free alcohol. That's just annoying.) Pyramid Brewing

March of the Penguins
If there's one lesson to be learned from March of the Penguins, it's that the adorableness of penguins is underrated. Penguins are cuter than kittens, definitely cuter than baby people, and possibly as cute as those little harp seal things that're always getting eaten by polar bears. Penguins follows these bundles of cuteness as they trek for days across Antarctica in search of a safe place to hatch their even-more-adorable babies. Unfortunately, the filmmakers enlist Morgan Freeman as narrator, and force him to talk about the penguins' "Journey of Love" and to intone insipid phrases like, "They're not so different than we are, really." (Alison Hallett) Regal Cinemas, etc.

Men Suddenly in Black
We Americans are all too familiar with battle of the sexes-type hokey comedies, and this is a particularly mediocre one, with its one point of intrigue being that it's Chinese. As retarded as any American plot, it follows a ridiculous team of husbands and boyfriends obsessed with making a huge production out of cheating on their women. The women, meanwhile, could smell Other Pussy from halfway around the world, and set out to catch them red-handed, even as the hopelessly stupid gentlemen are treated as such by every attempted conquest they desperately stumble across. The alleged intention is to achieve black comedy, though there's little that's comic of any color here, with characters that are extraordinarily stupid, cryptically unhappy, or both performing slapstick clichés. It's dimly amusing I suppose, for airplane rides and hospital stays, but an entirely unnecessary import to have been chosen for a curated festival. (Marjorie Skinner) Whitsell Auditorium

Murderball
Screened at Sundance—and gathering steam ever since—Murderball documents the unlikely sport of "quad rugby," or, as it was formerly called, "murderball." Played on basketball courts in wheelchairs equipped with bumpers and steel hubcaps, the game is like a wicked cross between chariot racing and arena football—fast moving and exciting. But most importantly, the men who play the game are rough-and-tough desperados, men who have overcome extreme neck-breaking, life-changing accidents. But Murderball is hardly an after-school Special Olympics movie—instead, it's a brash, mature, in-your-face extreme sport profile that travels into a captivating subculture. (Phil Busse) Fox Tower 10

Nina's Tragedies
The narrator of the surprisingly upbeat Nina's Tragedies is an Israeli boy who keeps a journal documenting his deep obsession with his aunt, Nina (Ayelet Zorer). Like a sex-starved version of Harriet the Spy, Nadev (Aviv Elkabeth) roams the neighborhood peering through windows and writing down what he thinks is happening, and Nadev's narration reveals a boy who is at once precocious and deeply confused by adult sexuality. Like many coming-of-age films, Tragedies is engaging, cute, and immediately forgettable; it's noteworthy for being set in Tel Aviv, but not for much else. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre

Put the Camera on Me
Tracing his adolescent career as a cul de sac auteur, filmmaker Darren Stein (best known for cinematic catastrophes like 1999's Jawbreaker) directs and compiles Put the Camera On Me, an indulgent, narcissistic, and pretty compelling documentary about the strangely adult-themed camcorder films he and a group of other suburban pre-teens made in their spare time in the early '80s. Tackling such disparate subject matter as the holocaust, homosexuality, and nuclear fallout, the megalomaniacal young Stein manipulates, exploits, and abuses his unsuspecting friends through an endless number of living room dramas with a self-absorption that's as grating as it is fascinating. Director Darren Stein will be in attendance; see Destination Fun, pg. 25. (Zac Pennington) Clinton Street Theater

The Qualified Astropath
A 71-minute DIY film made by ex-House of Cunt member Nicolas James Kruger while living in the Virgin Islands in an observatory. Visit a surreal, mystical, and comical place that melds Eastern philosophy and "'60s Greek sci-fi," replete with subtitles. Also, enjoy a few other short films from Kruger's portfolio, as well as opening mock movie trailers from the hilarious Phantom Hillbilly. (Justin Sanders) Acme

Rad
Sponsored by the Zoobombers—and the first 75 beers are free! See Destination Fun, pg 25 Clinton Street Theater

Saint Ralph
Through precocious and circuitous logic, Catholic school 9th grader Ralph (Adam Butcher) is convinced that if he miraculously wins the Boston Marathon, his ailing mother will wake up from her coma. Though the film does its best to pluck out your bleeding heart, the bulk of it is a light, endearing comedy about the ultimate underdog and the power of stubborn perseverance. Exceedingly likeable, Ralph is a young cad who struggles with chronic masturbation, bad grades, and the other trappings of lovable, unruly, wiry little fellows like himself. A bit of a dork at school, his sincere efforts to woo a girl who wants to be a nun, and his attempts to wake his mother with strong scents (like dog shit) are endlessly charming, if a bit of a sucker punch. (Marjorie Skinner) City Center 12, Fox Tower 10

Saraband
In what's supposedly the last film of his career, director Ingmar Bergman reunites the central characters of his earlier work, 1973's Scenes From a Marriage. But without a pre-existing "He can do no wrong" attitude toward Bergman—and his heavy dramatic tone—Saraband is dull, replete with loftily cultured assholes bearing grudges through their unhappy lives. This type of film requires a certain amount of masochism—its ruminations are sour and sad and are delivered in a tone that seems to be the effect of self-imposed, privileged isolation. Regardless, truths are here—though they're delivered hideously. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre

Search for Animal Chin
Stacy Peralta—who went on to direct Dogtown and Z-Boys and Riding Giants—directed this 1987 skateboarding film that features Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Tommy Guerrero, Mike McGill, and Lance Mountain. Go, and witness plenty of cheesy '80s skating badassery. (Erik Henriksen) Pix Patisserie

Shaolin Soccer
A hilarious film from Stephen Chow (God of Cookery) that tells the story of Sing (Chow) as he brings Shaolin kung fu to the sport of soccer. Chow's smart blend of slapstick comedy meets its ideal subject matter here—the film's wholly entertaining (even as it parodies everything from classic kung fu's formulas to John Woo's slow-motion), and it culminates in an enormous battle of good vs. evil... well, as enormous as a soccer field, anyway. (Erik Henriksen) Whitsell Auditorium

The Skeleton Key
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc

Spend the Night with Bettie Page
See Destination Fun, pg. 25. Clinton Street Theater

The Sweet Hereafter
A lawyer, tortured by the loss of his daughter to drugs, goes to a small town where a recent bus accident has killed many of the town's kids. He encourages the parents to sue for the loss of their children and represents them in the case. Fifth Avenue Cinemas

Trailermania 2
See Destination Fun, pg. 25. Clinton Street Theater

Undead
When a movie's titled Undead, is about zombies and aliens, is written/directed/produced/edited by a pair of Australian brothers, and features a song by a band named "Buttkrak," I think you pretty much know what to expect. And Undead delivers, I guess, what it promises: Zombies, aliens, a lot of gore, a surprising number of well-done CG effects, an equal number of poorly-done CG effects, a few solid laughs, and... I mentioned there's a lot of zombies and aliens, right? In other words, Undead proves to be a fairly enjoyable bit of dumb, lighthearted fun, though I suspect you'll enjoy it far more if you Netflix it and get stoned rather than if you spend money on it at the theater. As a side note, it has an actor in it who's named Mungo McKay, which might be the coolest name ever, and he says what might be the funniest line in the flick: "Crazy has come to town for a visit!" (Erik Henriksen) Cinema 21

You're Laughing
Based on tales by Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello, directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani craft a film that's absurdist, fantastic, and tragic all at once. A grumpy former opera singer fights with his wife while kidnappings go on around them. Guild

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