Simply put, stunt people are insane--they hurl themselves out of buildings, get their asses kicked, and get hit by cars. Their reward? Getting relegated to blurs and quick cuts, making it look like some pampered movie star is doing all that dangerous stuff.
But if stunt people in general get the shaft, stunt women have a really hard time. Double Dare documents Jeannie Epper--a stunt woman in her 60s who's struggling to keep working in an industry based on youth and beauty--and the young Zoë Bell, who finds herself trying to find work when her stunt gig on Xena: Warrior Princess ends.
It's tough to watch Epper, who ponders liposuction and realizes that her best days are behind her. But that tone is balanced by the charming Bell, whose skills net her a tryout for Kill Bill.
Throughout, director Amanda Micheli works in interviews with everyone from Epper's family to Steven Spielberg. While Micheli's disjointed direction makes the film feel longer than it should, Epper and Bell make Double Dare entertaining and moving. And Epper and Bell are real badasses, besides--watching them try to live and work is interesting enough, but watching them actually at work is amazing. ERIK HENRIKSEN
The Girl From Monday
Opens Sat April 30
Clinton St. Theater
These days, sci-fi is almost exclusively associated with special effects, spaceships, and action heroes--classics like Stanley Kubrick's 2001 look like slow-paced, philosophical dramas when compared with, say, The Chronicles of Riddick. In that sense, writer/director Hal Hartley's self-proclaimed sci-fi film, The Girl from Monday, is a throwback to when the genre was more about critiquing the present than blowing shit up in the future.
A biting social satire, Monday isn't your standard sci-fi film--nothing explodes, there are no flying saucers, and the alien is played by Brazilian supermodel Tatiana Abracos.
While the high-minded plot sputters at times, the film is saved by Hartley's sophisticated sense of humor. This is a world where only rebels have sex for fun--the rest do it to "generate market value"--and it leads to the greatest pick-up line ever: "Let's fuck and increase our buying power." The Girl from Monday echoes 1984, but it's targeted at a new generation--one being drowned by corporate power, political corruption, and personal alienation. RYAN DIRKS
House of D
Opens Fri April 29
Okay, House of D not only stars Téa Leoni (the most annoying actress in the world), but it also features X-Files has-been David Duchovny (who wears a terrible motorcycle jacket and a worse goatee), the horrible overacting of Anton Yelchin, Erykah Badu as an afroed prison inmate (later she shows up in bad makeup, supposedly as an old lady), and--here's the kicker--ROBIN WILLIAMS AS A RETARDED PERSON.
Can you fucking imagine anything worse? Can you possibly think up anything more excruciating than watching the practically retarded Robin Williams play a real retard? No! You can't!
The plot (sloppily written by director/writer Duchovny) is pretty goddamn stupid, too: Duchovny's character has a rough childhood after his dad dies and his mom becomes addicted to painkillers, and the friggin' punchline is that he has to euthanize his own mother and then sob dramatically under her hospital bed. Dear God, a retarded Robin Williams! And euthanasia! Anyway, sorry if you're pissed that I wrecked the movie, but trust me--I'm doing you a favor. KATIE SHIMER