Gory Gory Hallelujah, Local Sightings, and More

Brief Encounters GORY GORY HALLELUJAH 9 and 11:30 p.m. Sat., June 21 at Little Theatre Showing as part of the "Local Sightings" series, Hallelujah tells a very B-movie story while taking potshots at fraternal orders, Christianity, and anything else director Sue Corcoran feels worthy of her contempt. The would-be satire follows four would-be Jesuses (actually actors) who wind up on a quest to star in Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway. Along the way, the Jesuses run into a gang of cocaine-sniffing Elvises; a murder ensues; and the four, now fugitives, take refuge in Jackville, Texas, a puritan good 'ol boy kinda town. After standing trial on trumped-up obscenity charges, they become pawns in a scheme to steal the town's oldest resident's land. The apocalypse is unwittingly unleashed, and we all learn the lesson that organized religion is a crock. If you like The Evil Dead (albeit with home-video-quality production values), despise the church, and read Howard Zinn, then this is the flick for you. Otherwise, give this schlock flop a wide, wide berth. (NR) NOAM REUVENI LOCAL SIGHTINGS: SHORTS 7 p.m. Fri., June 20 at Little Theatre All SIFFed out? Forget the stale boho banter, screw the subtitles, and stumble into some narrative shorts that communicate eloquently, joyously, or just plain weirdly in four- to 30-minute bursts. Among the highlights, Carboy, Marcus Gauteson's story of a young boy's hunter-gatherer lifestyle, absolutely begs to be continued, and luckily those three little words appear at the close (along with a tantalizing preview of Part II). Equally playful but light-years stranger are Bob Peyton's eerie sketch, Franklin (a cautionary tale about obsession and, um, canned pineapple), and Herbert Bergel's insanely exuberant gem, See You in Spokane, a five-minute rock opera that showcases just the sort of atonal song-and-dance cinema Eastern Washington is so well known for. Collectively, these mini-flicks remind us that there are only so many leaden, three-hour Icelandic elegies a human being can sit through. (NR) NEAL SCHINDLER THE NAKED PROOF 5 p.m. Sun., June 22 at Little Theatre Fresh from its SIFF debut, this first feature by Northwest Film Forum co-founder Jamie Hook bears all the sunny goodwill of its director. In its tale of a grad student (Michael Chick) being visited by a possible figment of his imagination, Proof is impossible to dislike. That said, its genial screwball-comic conceit would've benefited from a few more drafts on the computer before facing the camera. The best thing about the film is Arlette Del Toro as the mercurial pregnant woman whose mysterious arrival coincides with the student's writer's block on his long-gestating philosophy dissertation. Is she real or a symbol of his epistemological disgruntlement? I don't carejust give that woman more scenes! Proof drags whenever she's off camera; supporting characters don't register (or do register simply for their quirks); and the academic satire feels flat and thirdhand, like Descartes for Dummies. Chick has some nice moments of comic exasperation; but again, the script fails to develop such potential. (NR) BRIAN MILLER RESPIRO Opens Fri., June 20 at Seven Gables Writer-director Emanuele Crialese wants it all, and you'll be amazed how much of it she manages to cram into just 95 minutes: Italian neorealism (the male lead's a dead ringer for Raf Vallone); travelogue (transparent sea, white cliffs, blazing sun); pan-sexual soft-core porn (Valeria Golina's lovely breasts, enough seminude darkly tanned pubescent boys to satisfy the most avid chicken queen); even a message (the heroine's not crazy, she just needs understanding); plus mysticism (first one to figure out the ending gets a free trip to Sicily). There's also a hint of intergenerational incest courtesy of Murmur of the Heart; a comic North- vs. South-Italian romance courtesy of Seduced and Abandoned; and more Vespas than any Italian movie in history. Simultaneously witless and calculating, Respiroit means "I breathe again," if that's any helpis this year's shoo-in for the Beau Travail Beautiful but Dumb award. (NR) ROGER DOWNEY WHALE RIDER Opens Fri., June 20 at Neptune and Uptown Rabbit-Proof Fence, Bend It Like Beckham . . . now this. Will our preteen daughters grow up to be the most empowered women in history? I don't doubt it based on Rider, which offers a familiar girl-power message in a beautiful coastal New Zealand setting, where the Maori people are fighting an outmanned battle to preserve their indigenous culture. (When a posse of Maori thugz appears in a low-rider blasting hip-hopyo, it's like West West Coast rappers are in the house!) Twelveish-year-old Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is the granddaughter of the chief, but girls aren't allowed in Maori boot camp to learn how to make scary faces and fight with sticksisn't that like stupid boys to make such stupid rules? Yes, and clever, determined Pai soon bends those rules, Beckham-style, to her own advantage. Although rather too saccharine-sweet and Hallmarky for parents, Rider will have girls pasting whale posters over their unicorns for the next 18 months. Or until the hormones hit. (PG-13) B.R.M. WINGED MIGRATION Opens Fri., June 20 at Egyptian Jacques Perrin's visually mesmerizing 2001 documentary gives meaning to the phrase "free as a bird." He and his crew track the seasonal migratory paths of these most habitual of creatures from New Zealand to the Falkland Islands, Iceland to Normandy, and pole to pole. Flying in perfect formation, dozens of species soar for thousands of miles over water, land, and ice with dogged, predestined punctuality. Every year, they ply the same routes, guided by an innate sense of purpose and direction. This natural wonder is gorgeously filmed and accompanied without narration (but for an introductory voice-over), with occasional titles indicating species and location. Still, as captivating as the 85-minute Migration is, its profundity would work better in small doses (like channel surfing on Animal Planet), and its soul-lifting New Age soundtrack is 85 minutes too long. (G) KATIE MILLBAUER info@seattleweekly.com

 
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