PCC's film fest continues. This week: Dakan/Destiny, about the struggle of gay men in Africa; Endurance, set in Ethiopia, about the life of the great, long distance runner Haile Gebrselasie, who broke a world record for 10,000 meters in the 1996 Olympics; Sigra:The Lion Child (playing at the Kennedy School), about a boy and a lion born at the same moment, and bonded as friend--made with real animals. A Door to the Sky is about a Moroccan woman who becomes friends with a Muslim woman and starts a hospice; The Season of Men chronicles the stressful time when the working men return to the island of Djerba and the women are pressured to get pregnant; and Naked Spaces; Living is Round, a documentary about the traditional living spaces of West Africa.
Black Hawk Down
The movie tells the story of the ill-fated 1993 American military intervention in Mogadishu, Somalia, and makes a point of offering no context, political or social, for the conflict. Hell, network news coverage could've done that!
* Broadcast Video Fest
Show up to Fifth Ave. Cinemas with your own videos and screen them. Arrive early if you want to participate, and hey, egomaniacs, no four hour examinations of your breakup, okay?
* Collateral Damage
The new Arnold Schwarzenegger film starts off in a familiar way: Bad guys want to hurt America, and good guys want to save it. He turns into Ahh-nold. But that's when the movie veers off course. The big man wants revenge, but seems weary. He breaks people's necks and fires off large handheld missiles, but looks disgusted with himself. And then it hits him: This whole God-and-Country thing is bullshit. What makes Collateral Damage truly weird is watching Arnold Schwarzenegger grow completely sick of the bloodlust which used to make him whole. It also makes the film worth seeing.
Cradle Will Rock
This is one of those films featuring every famous person you can think of (John and Joan Cusack, Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, etc.) and it's about government persecution of theater in the 1930s--specifically, the persecution of Orson Welles' play by the same title.
This bubblegum pseudo-drama is a cross between Thelma & Louise and To Sir, With Love. Not quite as hard-hitting as the tough and topical after school specials from the '70s, Crossroads tackles absentee parents, rape, and teenage runaways with a cautious and meaningless hand. (Josh Feit)
Dead or Alive
Typical yakuza yarn supplemented by anal sex, bestiality, and nuclear explosions. See review this issue.
What with Mad Cow and Foot-and-Mouth and ebola and chlamydia, everyone is going to have to refrain from eating beef. But whatever will the carnivores of the world do? This post-apocalyptic film maps it out for you: EAT PEOPLE! Solves the population problem, Texans can turn it into an industry, everybody's happy. Directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro were far ahead of their time with this brilliant, artful precursor to City of Lost Children.
* Dracula Sucks
Dracula visits the local sanitarium whose patients are treated by the loving Dr. John Holmes. The fanged sex fiend sets his sights on the virginal nurse Mina. She is sworn to love her fiancé Jonathan (who shows his devotion by banging one of the nurses in a waiting taxi). Will Mina find the intestinal fortitude to deny Dracula's advances? Or will she succumb to the dark master's evil wish to bite her on the tit, and shoot his wad on her chest? (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
Kevin Costner makes his long-awaited return (uh... ) in this supernatural (?) romance (?) about a widower doctor who won't take "she's dead" for an answer. Co-starring the vivacious Linda Hunt.
Yan Harris, a college freshman, tries out for the track team, but with hazing being a major issue, he must go to battle with the captain.
* The Films of Jay Rosenblatt
Jay Rosenblatt turns found footage into poetry, splicing images together in a personal, narrative manner that is as visually stunning as it is insightful. In his most recent film, King of the Jews, he explores the role Jesus played in his life as a young Jew, tying his fear of Jesus into the overarching Christian misconception that the "Jews killed Jesus." In Human Remains, Rosenblatt pieces footage of the most fearful 20th Century dictators (Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco) with a narration of their most personal, humanistic qualities--that Mao cleaned his teeth with green tea, for example. Paired with three other films, Rosenblatt's role as historian, documentarian, artist, and social commentator is laid out beautifully in black and white. (Julianne Shepherd)
It's like the gay Bad News Bears. See review this issue.
Ivan the Terrible
Shot in 1945, a visual masterpiece by writer/director Sergei Eisenstein, chronicling the life of old Ivan.
The movie represents Hollywood's first attempt to address the failure of the healthcare system. Denzel Washington plays the American worker, and Anne Heche plays Enron. Enron, in this instance, takes the form of a healthcare corporation, with its expensive drugs and operations, and its affluent doctors and administrators. Though I agree with John Q's politics, it's dull and tendentious. (Charles Mudede)
Monstrous Balls is more like it. Hank is a racist prison guard who falls into a desperate affair with Leticia, a black woman, after both of their sons die. Also, Hank executed her husband. Hank's dad says "nigger" and "porch monkey," and Hank fires a shotgun at some black kids, so we know that the film is about breaking the cycle of bigotry. Via their affair, Hank is cured of racism, and Leticia is cured of grief. She even gets a truck! "I thank we're gone be all right," Hank says at the end. I thank I'm gone puke. (Sean Nelson)
No Man's Land
Set during the Bosnian-Herzogovnian war, No Man's Land is a good-but-not-great movie with three statements. 1) War is mad! 2) The press covering wars is sensationalist! 3) The UN is an ineffectual mess of bureaucracy! (Aaron Beam)
This greatest and most vile of all the psychedelic films from the late '60s, stars the great James Fox (as a repressed, gay Cockney thug on the run from his boss), who finds first shelter, then metaphysical crisis, in a dilapidated Notting Hill mansion inhabited by Mick Jagger, a dissolute rock star. Hypnotic and riveting.(Sean Nelson)
Queen of the Damned
At last! The sequel to Interview With the Vampire, starring Stuart Townsend and the late Aaliyah, out of respect for whom there will be no smart-ass remark about what is certain to be a real piece of work.
* Radio Free Steve
Back in 1984, a young man named Steve began to shoot a sci-fi film about a radio pilot who was running from the FCC. The film also involved mutant aliens. But, alas, Steve went broke, and the film went unfinished... until recently, when European director Lars Von Biers discovered Steve and his movie, re-shot it, and presented it.
* Royal Tennenbaums
This movie is great, go see it. A family of geniuses reunite from their separate, but equally fucked up lives. Once they get under the same roof, their individual and combined issues resurface--and they do their best to work them out.
Macbeth gets a campy '70s-style rewrite, and guess what? It isn't terrible.
Shadows of sundance
New filmmakers, not yet admitted to Sundance, show their long shorts.
The latest jaded drama by Todd Solondz, genius writer/director of Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness. Two shorter films, Fiction and Nonfiction, make up the whole. The first is about a college female who is desperately trying to cling to some ideal or person, but really, is completely lost. The second film is about a loser who wants to make a documentary about filmmaking, but because he's too lame to do a good job, ends up exploiting his subjects. (Katie Shimer)
* The Young Girls of Rochefort
With The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, having created a beautiful world wherein every sentence, however trivial, was worthy of song, Jacques Demy opted to follow it up with a celebration of dance, and 1967's The Young Girls of Rochefort throws itself out-of-doors with a vengeance.