Cameron Crowe's film about groupies, Lester Bangs, and learning to ROCK in the '70s.
The Hughes Brothers (Menace II Society), using nothing but a 16mm camera and their unadulterated obsessions, document the Black American Pimp: the Blaxploitation hero/cultural caricature of our often-hysterical, sexed-up society. Winner of last year's Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
The Art of War
Wesley Snipes stars as the brother with 1000 faces in this yawny espionage thriller.
Jamie Foxx stars as another black man under surveillance by White America.
The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack
The story of Ramblin' Jack serves only as a canvas upon which to explore a more complex, more compelling fable: that of his largely forsaken daughter Aiyana Elliott, the film's director. See review this issue.
Bring it On
High school cheerleaders must endure endless practices and bikini waxes to compete in the national championships!
* But I'm a Cheerleader
Director Jamie Babbitt's feature debut may be a bit forced, but Natasha Lyonne as a cheerleader thought to be lesbian, is both believable and charming. Lyonne is sent to a homosexual rehabilitation camp run by RuPaul and Cathy Moriarty, and learns the valuable lesson that sexual orientation isn't as cut and dried as one might think. (Wm. Steven Humprey)
Scorsese's 1991 remake of the classic noir film, starring Nick Nolte and Robert DeNiro.
Cecil B. Demented
A lunatic guerilla film maker and his cronies kidnap a Hollywood starlet and force her to act in their movie. Directed by John Waters.
* The Cell
The whole movies smacks of Alice in Wonderland, yet relies on the founding images of Catholicism; at one point Jennifer Lopez appears as Virgin Mary, ready to kill the evil beast with her enormous sword. Unfortunately, Lopez and her co-star Vince Vaughn remain true to the same, paper-thin characters they always play; beautiful, compassionate, out to save the world, blah, blah, blah. But the movie is undoubtedly worth seeing anyway--just think of them as background. (Katia Dunn)
* The Charm Bracelet
An exposition of works by local filmmakers, live music, visual art, and vegan cupcakes. Although the film quality varies from so-so to incredible, it's a supportive, all-inclusive environment, and a populist voice for the underground or experimental filmmaker.
* Chicken Run
Chicken Run is about chickens trying to escape. It is very funny and exciting; each chicken has a great sense of humor and is weird. (Sam Lachow & Maggie Brown)
The Coyote Ugly Saloon is more than just a bar: It is a bar with attitude, a bar with sass. It is a wild world of ruthless, sexually empowered women bartenders. No surprises, not too much depth, just good, old-fashioned Americana rehashed with flare (and flesh) for the modern world. (Frank Bures)
Four retired gangsters plan one last heist to raise money for a new colostomy bag.
Mike Hodges' 1998 masterpiece Croupier makes a convincing case that a sleazy and specialized profession--in this case, the guy who rolls the ball and collects the chips at a roulette table-is a perfect metaphor for existential malaise. (Sean Nelson)
* Dance on Film
A documentary exploration of the lives of famous dancers and choreographers. A Hymn for Alvin Ailey, which includes some of his most gorgeous works, and Jeni Legon: Living in a Great Big Way, about her pressing devotion to tap, screen Thursday. Friday's program includes Margie Gillis: Inside Out, also offers footage of her performances, and the recommended Birgit Cullberg: Dance in New Dimensions explores the life of the irreverent and innovative choreographer. Saturday, see Stepping out of the Frame, an instructional choreography video of sorts, and Yuri Soloviev: I'm Tired of Living in my Native Land discusses the famous Russian ballet dancer. Excellent tribute to an increasingly marginalized faction of the arts.
The Diary of a Country Priest
Adapted from the novel by Georges Bernanos, Robert Bresson's film tells of a young country priest scorned by his own parish.
Digimon: THE MOVIE
Not to be confused with Digimon: The Emerging Third Party in the American Political System.
Why see this mishmash of cheesy product placements and a dozen contradictory genres? Not for Gwyneth as a skinny showgirl doing karaoke--see what I mean about contradictions? For Paul Giamatti. You may have forgotten his name, but his head and jowls make a figure eight, bags like eggcups under his eyes--first-rate comic apparatus. The script gives him nothing, the camera is either up his nose or jerking off in some awkward middle distance, and still he made me laugh out loud singing "Hello, It's Me." If he had two solos instead of one, I would recommend the movie. (Barley Blair)
Perhaps one of the greatest and grossest (with the largest amount of vomit per square foot of film ever) movies in recent decades, this 1973 thrilled sparked in-theatre hysteria and a new genre of psychological thrillers.
Eyes of Tammy Faye
A documentary on the rise and fall of former evangelist, druggie, and eyeliner addict, Tammy Faye Baker.
The Five Senses
Like trying to separate taste from smell, the characters of this film blend into one intimate experience. A cake maker, a masseuse, a mother of a missing child, and the freakish teenager who lost the young girl: all of these female characters proceed as an amalgamation. The film is exciting with surprises, a quality that fits nicely with its title. Something is vacant at the very center, though, and I suspect it's the uniting element of the senses: unconsciousness. Then, the story finishes by resolving itself too poignantly. (Paula Gilovich)
Sly Stallone stars as a New York mob enforcer who travels to LA for his brother's funeral. When he discovers that his brother had been murdered, Sly sets off to take revenge on the people responsible. BTW, you can place a bid on the goatee Stallone is sporting in this "brilliant" film on eBay. No shit!
In Brooklyn's Red Hook district, punchy Diana wants nothing more than to kick some ass in the ring, but nasty Daddy poo-poos the idea. It's an interesting, moving story with a bunch of crappy sub-plots seeping in to ruin the whole thing.
Director Ridley Scott tramps through the standard gladiator movie plot like a tipsy party host, embracing each and every clichè like a dear old friend.
Forget that crappy-ass film with Matthew Broderick! This is the real Japanese-style shit! Godzilla can't get a good millennium's sleep without some asshole monster waking him up. This time a floating rock washes up which contains a UFO which also happens to contain a monster named Gora! Gora gets all in Godzilla's shit, which forces Big G to burn Gora's ass off with his atomic ray. Films don't get much more subtle than this. (Wm. Steven Humprey)
Gone in 60 Seconds
You've seen the trailer, now see the remake of this obscure car thief movie, which has been revamped and given the full Bruckheimer treatment (shame a bunch of good actors with massive paychecks so your crappy film has the patina of class). Big, red, fast, and loud--Kids'll love it!
It's a goombah-rama when Marty Scorsese directs this fast-moving, hilarious tale of mob life.
H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
Get your sci-fi on with this three-day festival of films adapted from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, including The Beyond, Rough Magik, Out of Mind, The Testimony of Randolph Carter, Bride of Re-Animator, and more! See website (hplfilmfestival.com) for updates and complete schedules.
* High Fidelity
A romantic comedy for guys: John Cusack plays the cynically introspective Rob Gordon, the owner of a small record store. For various reasons, he has shit luck with women. Basically, he's a jerk, but he's not altogether clueless about his jerkiness. He struggles and obsesses and makes lists that he thinks define his life, but he's no closer to understanding women than he was in the fifth grade--which happens to be when he got dumped for the first time. Based on the popular novel of the same name. (Kathleen Wilson)
The last chance. The ultimate evil. The final battle. (Hey! That's what they said LAST time!!)
The Hollow Man
Kevin Bacon stars as a scientist who discovers a serum for turning invisible. Which reminds me, a really good question to ask someone when you're just starting to date them is "Would you rather be able to fly, or turn invisible?" If they say "fly," then they're a keeper. People who wanna turn invisible are always sneaking around and getting in your shit. Never trust people who want to be invisible. Especially if it's Kevin Bacon.
* Invisible Revolution + SUD
Director Beverly Peterson takes us into the world of skinheads, gutter punks, and mainstream kids who are involved in both the pro-white movement as well as anti-racist action groups. Also playing is SUD, a film which documents the brutal dragging of a black man in the American South.
Bruce Willis craps the bed with this deeply annoying film about coming to grips with your inner fat kid.
* Meet the Parents
Jewish complications ensue when Ben Stiller meets the pop of his new g-friend, Robert DeNiro. See review this issue.
Betty (Renèe Zellweger), a diner waitress, settles comfortably into a thick confusion after accidentally witnessing her sleazy drug-dealer husband's murder. She instantly blocks out reality, and drives to Los Angeles in pursuit of her favorite soap-opera character, whom she believes is her long-lost true love. On paper, this sounds great--onscreen it's surprisingly disappointing. After watching these relentless caricatures strut around for 112 minutes, it's difficult to keep caring, and to keep rooting for Betty in earnest. (Min Liao)
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps
Eddie Murphy returns (Why? Why? WHY??) as Sherman Klump in this sequel to the remake of the Jerry Lewis classic. This time, the apparently brainwashed Janet Jackson is pulled into the mire as Sherman's scientist girlfriend who helps him defeat his alter ego, the ultra-suave Buddy Love.
The Original Kings of Comedy
Another of Spike Lee's so-called "jointz," this one being a documentary which shows stand-up comics Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and Bernie Mac in action.
Okay, remember that episode of The Simpsons where Mel Gibson remade Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and ended up impaling the President on a flagpole or some such silliness? Well, now he's gone and made a three-hour movie that's just like that, but without the irony or humor. (Marc Mohan)
A Perfect Storm
Plot: Fishermen fight storm in hopes of getting home to some pussy. Protagonists: Marky Mark, Dr. Ross, Happy's competitor in Happy Gilmore, a few guys who are in every other movie, some no-names. Villains: Hurricane Grace, backed by two other vengeful storms. The money-grubbing boat owner. Perks: Awesome special effects: 50-foot sea swells, water rescues, hurricane clouds etc. Downers: Canned dialogue, excessive machismo, totally stupid ending. Recommendation: If you're looking for a marijuana freak-out, smoke some and head to this flick. If you're looking for an Academy Award Nominee, forget it. (Katie Shimer)
Director Robert Bresson's classic film about a master pickpocket who haunts Paris.
* A Reel Boogie Night: Dennis Boogies Off
Say so long to our pal Dennis Nyback with a goofy selection of classic boogie-woogie shorts, both live-action and animated. Bring your dancing shoes because afterwards you'll get your chance to strut your stuff to 78RPM records.
Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington coaches a bi-racial high school football team. Will they win the big game? Or more importantly, will they have any nudie locker room scenes?
We've seen this movie before: A British fishing village, a lot of friendly villagers, the local pub, and a big plan that involves flouting the law in a relatively benign way but leads to an extended situation comedy. (Monica Drake)
Though I can't say Scary Movie was particularly witty, or even clever, the cast performs their over-the-top slapstick with such good-natured intentions, it's hard not to be swept up in the fun. (Wm. Steven Humprey)
* Sex by Sex Worker Film and Video Festival
Don't miss this two-day event which spotlights documentaries and films made by and starring sex workers. On Thursday, check out films by Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, and Sharon Mitchell. Plus, at the closing night party at Dante's, director Todd Haynes will show his banned, super-secret cult flick... well, we can't say the name, but it has Barbies in it!
Who's the black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks? SHAFT! You damn right.
Three old retired Air Force pilots want one last ride into outer space. Christ! Isn't it bad enough that these old farts always get the beautiful young chicks in the movies? And now they want to go into space, too? Forget it, Grandpa! It's off to the nursing home for you!
* Stand by Me
The most effectively cheesy movie ever made-about some kids who bond over a dead body on a camping trip. Guaranteed to make you call all members of your immediate family and tell them you love them.
The Tao of Steve
The Tao of Steve: 101 ways to bag a babe and keep her coming back for more. Dex, a fat intellectual slob, formulates and follows his plan for sexual success, insisting to his friends that the #1 way too attract women is to ignore them. (Karrin Ellertson)
* The Trouble with Harry
Oh, I'll tell you the trouble! HE'S DEAD! And nobody knows who killed him; not Shirley Maclain, not lil' Jerry Mathers... not NOBODY! Okay, nobody except Alfred Hitchcock.
Urban Legends:Final Cut
While working on her film thesis (a documentary about "urban legends"), a student becomes deeply annoyed when a murderer begins systematically killing her entire crew.
The Watcher is a frightfully unimaginative, by-the-numbers thriller with no plot twists, no clever bits, horrendous slow-motion dance sequences, few thrills, and anemic character development, successfully leaving Reeves well within his depth.
Way of the Gun
A kidnapping plan goes awry (as they often do) in this film starring Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro (which literally means "The Bull Loves Spaghetti").
What Lies Beneath
Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford sink to new acting lows, and while the film still somehow manages to be occasionally entertaining, the jump-out-and-scare-the-shit-out-of-ya shocks can't make up for the waste of time and money. Pass! (Wm. Steven Humprey)
The Woman Chaser
A not very interesting black-and-white anachronism fest, "Woman Chaser" takes a decent 1960 Charles Willeford LA noir novel about a 1950s want-to-be film director who loses his mind and makes a spoofy hash of it. Patrick Warburton ("Seinfeld"'s Puddy) gives it his chunky all, but it's not enough to bring life into this drearily scripted and clunkily directed item: dig those bongo drums! The script's called "The Man Who Got Away"; so did Willeford's novel. (Ray Pride)
Woman on Top
Spoiler alert! In one scene, the bronze goddess Penèlope Cruz captivates a man with her exotic good looks, distracting him to some lighthearted comedic end.
This movie is all fine and dandy, but there's one area where I got beef: Where the Hell is Psylocke?