Chemist Kurn Gerstein discovers that the Zyklon B pellets he developed to disinfect soldier's barracks are instead being used to gas Jewish prisoners. After he is recruited to help streamline the death camps, he secretly goes to the Swedish Consulate, German Protestant community, and the Vatican to report the despicable goings on. The only person who wants to listen is a young Jesuit priest who promises to tell the Pope.
The Appallingly Bleak Films Experiment
Four Wall Cinema gathers together some of the bleakest, most depressing educational films ever. Feel lonely, sad, or poor? You'll feel popular, happy, and rich after you witness the life of a friendless factory worker or an ostricized young kid who drops dead.
Better Luck Tomorrow
The story of a pack of overachieving Asian high school students who turn to crime for kicks in suburbia, this film is little more than Goodfellas and Boyz 'N' the Hood spackled together with an Asian cast, directed with overly hyper flare by Lin, and purchased by MTV films. (Bradley Steinbacher)
I shame the growing throng of Ed Burns worshippers for being tricked by his burning baby blues. I have to admit, though, his utter lack of onscreen presence fits in nicely with Confidence, a twisty, generic "big score" movie with Burns as an unflappable (read: expressionless) hustler who (surprise!) gets in over his head. Dustin Hoffman turns in a nauseating performance as an ambiguously sexual crime lord, and Rachel Weisz smokes as usual.
Cowboy Bebop: The Movie: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
See review this issue.
Emma Goldman: The Anarchist Guest
Emma Goldman proudly wore her label as the most dangerous anarchist in America. A behind-the-scenes story about her life, her cause, her lovers.
Ghosts of the Abyss
A 3-D documentary on the Titanic. Sorry, Kate Winslet's boobs will not be featured in 3-D.
The Good Thief
Perhaps because of Nick Nolte's recent rocky past, he fills out the troubled central character of The Good Thief to a tee: a heroin addict and sleight-of-hand thief. (Phil Busse)
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
Amelie's Audrey Tautou plays a rather cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs young Parisian woman in love with a doctor.
Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake, a hellhole in the middle of the desert, for stealing a pair of shoes he didn't steal. There, he is forced by the camp's psychotic director (Sigourney Weaver) to dig large holes in the sand, under the burning sun, as correctional therapy. (Justin Sanders)
If you're versed in the art of cheesy horror flicks, you'll recognize every cinematic element of Identity, the new film from director James Mangold. There are the stereotypical characters (John Cusack plays a cop on leave), there's the rainy night, the motel conveniently located on an Indian burial ground, and the lack of phones and electricity. Thankfully, however, Mangold is a feisty bastard wit a twisted sense of humor and does all he can to make Identity a dark and entertaining film. (Julianne Shepherd)
In the Mirror of Maya Deren
Maya Deren was loved for her experimental films, especially Mehses of the Afternoon. With patched-together interviews from every walk of her life and clips from her own films and travels, this movie tries to bring the young bohemian back to life.
An Injury to One
Part of the Anarchist Film Festival: The harrowing tale about a turn-of-the-century drive for a union in the gritty and mean mines of Montana.
International Labor Film Fest
Films illuminating workers everywhere, from a door(wo)man in New York City, to the Japanese rail worker union's struggle against privitization, to an expose of U.S. tobacco companies and their laborers in Malawi.
A detailed and stirring documentary about the 1939 Spanish Revolution. News reels are patched together with dozens of interviews to provide a comprehensive perspective.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Disney's impeccable live-action legacy continues with a big-screen version of the impossibly saccharine children's television series. It's sort of like watching television--but real big.
Native American Film Fest
Various short films by Native American filmmakers. Located at PCC campuses and PSU Smith Center.
Power And Terror: Noam Chomsky In Our Times
At 74 years old, Chomsky just keeps on ticking, deconstructing American political systems like a man possessed. This documentary splices together a series of interviews and lectures he gave in response to the 9/11 attacks.
Raising Victor Vargas
Victor Vargas is a sexy fucker and he knows it: The opening shot of this movie (in which the lithe, crass, and beguiling 18-year-old begins undressing as he prepares to fuck a fat girl who has promised not to tell anyone) is not unlike those Antonio Sabato Jr. underwear ads from the '90s. Victor lives on the Lower East Side and has no worldly ambitions; all he has to speak of is a crush on Juicy Judy, who wears hoop earrings and too much makeup and thinks all guys are "dogs." Neither one of them has a phone at home, which suggests a rather improbable courtship, though they manage to run into each other enough times on neighborhood rooftops and at public swimming pools, and to the surprise of no one in the audience it all works out--each character (even among the overbearing and richly caricatured families) comes to a sensitive, deeper understanding of one another's longings and insecurities, which is a clean, comforting way to end a movie, but it's never how things turn out in life. (Christopher Frizzelle)
The Real Cancun
The backdrop: 16 college kids are set up with some sweet digs in Cancun for the entirety of Spring Break. Unlike the Real World, in this reality, discovering who you are isn't important--but getting drunk and laid is. (Wm. Steven Humphrey)
Rivers and Tides
Rivers and Tides chronicles the life and work of Andy Goldsworthy, a Scottish sculptor who makes temporary contraptions out of leaves, wood, mud, whatever grub the earth gives him.
It Runs in the Family
A whole mess of Douglases (Kirk, Michael, Groucho, Harpo, etc.) toss together some vanity project (will not poke fun at stroke victims, will not poke fun at stoke victims) about wacky in a prominent New York family.
Andrei Tarkovsky's final film and the end of the Film Center's salute to the Soviet's most imaginative director. As seven friends gather on an island for a birthday party, World War III begins. One man is given a shitty, shitty option: Save his friends by sacrificing himself to God! (At the time, Tarkovsky himself was dying from cancer.) Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.
Two Chinese boys live in disillusionment in the run-down city of Datong. They ride around on one boy's motorcycle, drink booze, smoke hella cigarettes, and barely muster the energy to chase girls. Both boys are always very depressed and fantasize about making something of themselves by robbing a bank. The ills of Americanization are apparent, especially when one man thinks he's hit the jackpot after finding a U.S. dollar. Moments of sweetness and poignancy exist, but on the whole, the film is very, very slow. (Katie Shimer)
As the most feared union agitators, the Wobblies drove the labor drives of the 1930s. This film reaches out to look at the lifestyle, music and art that the mentality inspired.
The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Reifenstal
A documentary about German filmmaker, Leni Reifenstal. She is most famous for making propaganda films for the Nazis, and the film explores not only her time with the Nazis, but her disgrace afterwards.
X2: X-Men United
See review this issue.
Films about diffident men who have trouble with commitment are to post-Sundance American independent cinema what films about existential loners who have trouble with ethics were to the Vietnam era. XX/XY stands above its pack by virtue of a fantastic central performance by Mark Ruffalo and a probing intelligence. (Sean Nelson)