Shall We Dance?
Opens Fri Oct 15
A good dancing movie is like a porno you can watch with your mom--hot young things dry hump to sexy music, usually followed by a makeout session that tastefully fades to black, allowing your dance-fevered imagination to fill in the blanks. Shall We Dance?, however, substitutes "washed-up actor" and "singer with more ass than talent" for "hot young things," resulting in perhaps the most un-watchable dancing movie ever.
Richard Gere plays John Clark, a lawyer whose idyllic life is marred by a sense that something is missing. He lives for his commute, when, for a single moment each night, he catches sight of a hauntingly beautiful woman staring out the window of a deserted dance studio... Why, it's J.LO! And she's a dance teacher!
Clark takes ballroom dance lessons to get closer to her, jeopardizing his relationship with his wife (Susan Sarandon). As Gere learns to dance, of course he also learns a thing or three about life (chief among them: he's way too old for J.LO). Gere and J.LO's sole attempt at a steamy dance number never overcomes the "ew" factor, and the climactic dance competition fails to live up to even the questionable standard set by Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. As far as emetics go, next time I'll just shove my finger down my throat. ALISON HALLETT
Opens Fri Oct 15
Some nine or so years ago, two bands of relatively little consequence were introduced to one another, and an unlikely friendship was forged. One band was a maniacally brilliant, constantly revolving powder keg of degenerate, Northern Californian '60s revivalism. The other was a fashion-fixated lot of cultural appropriationists looking for the right scene to slum. Together, the bands formed an unholy, unspoken alliance for the greater good--the megalomaniacal pursuit of fortune and fame. One band got it (sort of). The other threw it all away.
In DiG!, a completely engrossing documentary tracing the surreal connection between the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols, documentarian Ondi Timoner pieces together the scraps of a relationship fashioned in mutual respect, distrust, and jealously from over 1,000 hours of unbelievable archival footage. From Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Co.'s befuddling rise to fame to Anton Newcombe's self-sabotaged descent into madness, DiG!'s brilliant, bitter narrative is compelled by its editor's insightful hand. Best of all, the film does little to deify its subject matter. More than anything, DiG! is simply a great documentary, and one of the most compelling music films you'll likely see for a long time. ZAC PENNINGTON
Say Your Thing Video Collection
Sat Oct 17, Clinton St
Wed Oct 20, Hollywood
George W. Bush might be the worst thing to ever happen to current politics and the free peoples of the world, but he's been exceedingly good to angry independent political filmmakers. And his timing couldn't be better; thanks to camera accessibility and desktop editing software, this might be the first era in which an electorate's views were consistently expressed through iMovie and Final Cut Pro.
So it's kind of depressing that the films represented in the hour-long Say Your Thing collection are so shitty. There are some solid ones--using footage from the August 2003 protests, "A Million Dollars Later" takes a jarring look at the brutality of Portland police, and "Masters of War" takes a trite concept (Bob Dylan playing over vintage war footage) and makes it gripping with some snappy editing. But then there are the simplistic, unfunny subversions of Horton Hears a Who and Teletubbies, or the stylized assemblages of current events in "The Monkey Hive," "Thanks for the Memories," and "God Save Us All" that are tolerable but hardly groundbreaking. But the nadir is "Drums of War," a laughably melodramatic mini-drama interspersed with quotations about war that read like they were blindly swiped from a copy of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. For all the fire and brimstone these filmmakers feel is being thrown down by Bush, one would think it'd inspire them to churn out some better work.