The Films: T-Z

  • Monday, October 9, 2006 12:00am
  • Film

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*recommended

*THE TARANTINO TUTORIAL

PART I. STRANGER AT MY DOOR AND EYES

OF TEXAS

Wed., June 13, 4 p.m., Egyptian

PART II. THE OUTCAST AND THE GOLDEN STALLION

Thur., June 14, 4 p.m., Egyptian

PART III. THE BONNIE PARKER STORY AND PARATROOP COMMAND

Fri., June 15, 4 p.m., Egyptian

PART IV. JUVENILE JUNGLE AND SANTA FE PASSAGE (followed by discussion)

Sat., June 16, 10 a.m.-2:45 p.m., Egyptian

Do not ask Mr. Tarantino when Kill Bill is coming out—or he might have to shoot you. Instead, sit back and enjoy his enthusiastic discourse upon the merits of forgotten 86-year-old B-movie director William Witney. Last fall The New York Times had Quentin gushing over The Golden Stallion, a 1949 western with Roy Rogers and Trigger (“the greatest animal actor who ever was”). Now he’s here to present Stallion and seven other favorites from the five-decade Witney canon of 100-plus films. The final Saturday show will conclude with former Seattle Weekly film critic Richard T. Jameson interviewing QT on stage. Who knows—he might just convert you to the cause.

TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER

Thailand, 2000. Director: Wisit Sasanatieng

Thur., June 14, 5:00 p.m., Cinerama

Sat., June 16, 6:30 p.m., Egyptian

SIFF SEZ Winner of the Vancouver Film Festival’s Dragons & Tigers Asian competition, Tears was a huge hit in its native Thailand. The story centers around a handsome bandit in love with a high-born lady. This crowd-pleasing shoot-’em-up affectionately spoofs the Western and soap genres, with lots of chopsocky mayhem thrown in for good measure. U.S. premiere.

TEETH (DENTI)

Italy, 2000. Director: Gabriele Salvatores

Tues., May 29, 7:15 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

Sat., June 2, 11:30 a.m., Harvard Exit

Gabriele Salvatores’ piercingly masochistic Denti trains the same fetishistic glare upon the human mouth as Crash did the automobile accident. Every problem in paranoid philosophy professor Antonio’s life involves teeth, from the lifelong affliction of his own gruesome choppers to an unhealthy suspicion that his girlfriend is banging her dentist. Antonio confronts such issues impetuously; as an adolescent, he slams his gaping mouth into a rock (the most uncomfortable of many graphic scenes). While a bitter, middle-aged adult, he subjects himself to the incompetence of a string of colorful dentists. As trippy as Pi, Denti likewise propels itself with occasionally overwrought, noirish voice-overs. Giant teeth growing from small roots provide a cornucopia of great metaphors. There’s a fortitude in Antonio that’s frequently undermined by whatever’s absent: solitude, lust, acceptance of his Oedipal relationship with his deceased mother. The compelling Denti is repair disguised as immolation—not unlike an afternoon at the dentist’s. A.B.

THE TESTIMONY OF TALIESIN JONES

Wales/Great Britain, 2000. Director: Martin Duffy

Cast: John Paul MacLeod, Jonathan Pryce, Ian Bannen, Matthew Rhys

Sat., May 26, 11:30 a.m., Pacific Place

SIFF SEZ In this unusually sweet coming-of-age comedy, 12-year-old Taliesin, abandoned by his mother and ignored by his father, becomes fascinated by religious faith after witnessing his piano teacher (the last role of Waking Ned Devine‘s Bannen) heal a neighbor by the laying-on of hands. When the young believer tries his own hand at healing the results are less than miraculous.

THAT THE WOMEN LIVE

France, 2001. Director: Laurent B飵e-Renard

Sun., June 10, 4:00 p.m., Harvard Exit

Wed., June 13, 12:00 p.m., Pacific Place

After the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia robbed them of their husbands and homes, Sedina, Jasmina, and Senada resided in refugee camps until 1998, when they participated in a year-long therapy program in the safe haven of Tuzla. That Women documents their healing process as they cope with—or cling to—the horrors of their past. Highly appreciative of this halfway house for emotionally wounded women, Senada looks toward the future with optimism. Jasmina, a buxom blonde with a wry yet cathartic sense of humor, recalls the shooting of her husband and the bits of her brother’s blown-apart body she found in her house. Sad-eyed Sedina, only 27 but appearing years older, refuses to acknowledge her husband’s death until she receives official notice. Though deeply affecting, this documentary is also unsettlingly intrusive: Our watching these women grieve in supposed privacy doesn’t further discourse on the Bosnian conflict—or even on war in general. U.S. premiere. D.M.

*THINGS BEHIND THE SUN

U.S.A., 2001. Director: Allison Anders

Cast: Kim Dickens, Gabriel Mann, Don Cheadle, Eric Stoltz, Elizabeth Pe�Rosanna Arquette, Patsy Kensit, C.C.H. Pounder

Sat., May 26, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

Sun., May 27, 4:00 p.m., Harvard Exit

The third straight film from writer-director Anders to concern the music industry, Sun is a more substantive work than its predecessors, a personal film dealing with rape—drawing upon her own acknowledged adolescent victimization—that works more as cinematic therapy. Adroitly using the soundtrack to create a broken-down atmosphere steeped in traumatized paralysis, Anders focuses on talented but self-destructive Sherry (Kim Dickens), whose emotionally raw music attracts the attention of childhood friend Owen (Gabriel Mann), now a music journalist. Despite a clich餠script (which often detours into TV-land melodrama and sudden, unconvincing psychobabble), the whole of Sun is a brutal exploration of suppressed, scarring memories. That Anders looks at the after-effects of rape on the men involved also marks this as an especially insightful work. The cast she’s assembled is solid, for the most part sustaining the intensity throughout, which redeems the screenplay’s more simplistic moments. L.T.

*THIS IS MY MOON

Sri Lanka, 2000. Director: Asoka Handagama

Mon., June 4, 7:15 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

Wed., June 6, 5:00 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

Remember the stationary, locked-off camera of Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise? That’s the technique used to render this weirdly, wonderfully simple tale—one of the first films you’re ever likely to see from Sri Lanka. Be warned, Moon is so sparse as to seem like an ethnodocumentary; supporting characters and subplots can also be hard to follow. The main story, however, is charmingly rudimentary, yet echoes Sri Lanka’s endless ethnic warfare. A cowardly Sinhalese soldier encounters a Tamil woman on the front lines; afraid he’ll shoot her, she raises her skirt—offering sex in exchange for life. He accepts, then deserts the army to return home. What he doesn’t expect, and what his small village isn’t prepared for, is that this initially mute woman should follow. She becomes an implacable catalyst and observer, the still center of deadpan comic disruption. “Those eyes could burn a village,” we’re told, but she has other plans. B.R.M.

THOMAS IN LOVE

Belgium/France, 2000. Director: Pierre-Paul Renders

Sat., June 9, 9:30 p.m., Egyptian

Tues., June 12, 5:00 p.m., Pacific Place

SIFF SEZ A social satire set in the not-so-distant future: Thomas’ only contact with the world for the last eight years has been via a two-way videophonic computer. Despite his growing boredom with cybersex, the 32-year-old agoraphobic (heard, but never seen) is happy enough until his shrink rocks his world by signing him up for an Internet dating service and his insurance agent informs him that his disorder makes him eligible to receive the services of prostitutes.

*TOGETHER

Sweden/Italy, 2000. Director: Lukas Moodysson

Wed., June 13, 7:15 p.m., Egyptian

Sun., June 17, 6:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

If nothing else, this skillfully performed ’70s ensemble drama will rekindle your nostalgia for ABBA. But there’s more to it than a perfectly timed insertion of “S.O.S.” Elisabeth moves into a socialist collective with her two kids after her alcoholic husband hits her, thanks to G�, her pacifist brother who resides in the commune. “Together” is the place’s name, which—as Elisabeth and her children soon discover—is quite a misnomer. A couple with a young child splits up, then each adult seeks solace with a same-sex partner while still living under the same roof. A more rigid pair talks of sharing responsibility but doesn’t. Meanwhile, G�’s open relationship with his girlfriend is tested when she actually seduces another housemate. Despite the fractured society, there are nights of red wine and dancing, football games, and the not-forgotten ideal that their group arrangement can create something warm and accepting, something bigger than themselves. E.B.R.

TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN

Canada, 1999. Director: John Paizs

Fri., June 1, 10:00 p.m., Valley Drive-In Theatres

Sat., June 9, 11:30 a.m., Egyptian

The town of Exceptional Vista isn’t exceptional in any way, except that it’s broken down and abandoned, located in a region with other place names like Fetus and New Imbroglio. In classic cult-movie style, all hell breaks loose when a fisherman gets propositioned by a Jane Russell clone in the middle of nowhere: “Would you like to perform the copulatory act with me?” After she gets a “Huh?” in response, the poor guy is covered in blue slime and mauled to death. After the discovery of another mangled body by a visiting atomic scientist (Campbell Scott, deadpanning through his painfully silly role), the search leads to—gasp!–aliens and a possible connection to “cool fusion.” Also faced with motel proprietress and avid reader Sandy Fawkes, an ex-loony bin inmate turned cop, and a vacuum salesman, the alien invasion might not stand a chance. Note to director: This would be more fun at two-thirds the length, eh? E.B.R.

TORTILLA SOUP

U.S.A., 2001. Director: Maripoll

Cast: Hector Elizondo, Elizabeth Pe� Raquel Welch

Sat., June 9, 6:30 p.m., Pacific Place

If you skipped last Novembers Whats Cooking?, or missed Ang Lees 1994 Eat Drink Man Woman, heres a lukewarm reheating of the latter restaged in loving Latino L.A., with equal emphasis on food and family. Endless close-ups of Hector Elizondo preparing endless gourmet meals alternate with endless melodrama. This widowed master chef has three unmarried daughters living with himprim, yuppie, and sassywho give him predictable headaches; naturally all ends well with hugs and tears. Somehow the recipe seemed less cloyingly sentimental in Eat Drink; Soup comes off like a sitcom by comparison. Raquel Welch mocks her former sexpot image as an overbearing, marriage-minded grandmother with her sights on Elizondo; at least she gets to play her thin character for laughs. The rest of Soups writing is broad, clich餬 and stereotypical, better suited to the Lifetime Network ghetto of womens movies than the big screen. B.R.M.

TREADING WATER

U.S.A., 2001. Director: Lauren Himmel

Thur., June 14, 7:15 p.m., Egyptian

Sun., June 17, 4:00 p.m., Pacific Place

SIFF SEZ A social worker and a fisherwoman live and love happily on their boat; problem is, Casey is forbidden to bring her lover home to meet her dysfunctional New England family. Full of gentle humor, Water features a remarkably authentic and sharply observed lesbian relationship as well as an original take on family life falling apart under the pressure of too many secrets and too much repression. World premiere.

THE TURANDOT PROJECT

U.S.A./Germany, 2000. Director: Allan Miller

Sat., June 2, 4:00 p.m., Egyptian

Opera is 10 percent art and 90 percent ego. Allan Miller’s documentary shows what happens when you add international politics and a superstar film director to the usual volatile mix of divas, maestros, and union stewards. In 1997 Miller got permission to film an Italian staging of Puccini’s flossy musical chinoiserie Turandot, the production to be directed by Zhang Yimou (The Road Home, see above). Conductor Zubin Mehta, no slouch in the flash-‘n’-trash department himself, got the bright idea of remounting the show in the gigantic courtyard of Beijing’s Forbidden City. One year, three casts, 500 extras, two monsoons, and $15 million later, the show they said couldn’t be done and probably shouldn’t have been done in the first place opened for a nine-performance run. Considering the catastrophic events on view, it’s surprising that Miller’s film runs only 84 minutes, but enough out-of-control egos are on parade to satisfy even the most ample appetite for backstage dish. R.D.

*UNDER THE SAND

France, 2000. Director: Fran篩s Ozon

Cast: Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot

Wed., June 6, 7:15 p.m., Pacific Place

Fri., June 8, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

Young, talented, prolific Fran篩s Ozon was represented at SIFF last year by Criminal Lovers and Water Drops on Burning Rocks. By comparison to such mannered perversity, his Sand is a surprisingly mild (and mildly supernatural) tale about love and death—as well as a valentine to Charlotte Rampling, who appears in almost every shot. A good bet for those who liked Anthony Minghella’s underappreciated 1991 Truly Madly Deeply but despised Ghost. J.H.

VANAPRASTHAM: LAST DANCE

India, 2000. Director: Shaji Karun

Tues., June 12, 9:30 p.m., Cinerama

Sun., June 17, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

Imagine Luciano Pavarotti as a sex symbol capable of attracting a beautiful princess with his artistry, and you’ll have some idea how this doomed love story works. Rotund Kunhikuttan is a master of the Indian performance art of Kathakali, wordlessly pantomiming mythic texts like the Mahabharata to musical accompaniment. He’s both dancer and sign-language interpreter, wearing garish makeup that makes him look like a cross between a Kabuki actor and a Christmas tree. However ridiculous he may appear to Western eyes, he inspires the ardor of beautiful married Subhadra—when in costume. (Offstage, he’s a low-caste vassal to a feudal lord, unhappily married and fond of drink.) Their off-and-on romance spans the 1950s and ’60s, while flashbacks show Kunhikuttan’s youth. A bastard himself, it’s his inevitable fate to be separated from his own son. Beautiful photography and some great locations—like foggy Benares—lend grandeur to our hero’s sad air of resignation and loss. B.R.M.

VENGO

France/Spain, 2001. Director: Tony Gatlif

Mon., May 28, 6:30 p.m., Pacific Place

Fri., May 25, 5:00 p.m., Pacific Place

Latcho Drom director Gatlif’s story of blood feuds begins with a magically beautiful sequence that seems to conflate the present and the past. We travel across a lake with a group of people in a rowboat, listening to musicians play and sing until arriving at a Moorish castle. Just as it seems that the film will continue, suspended in this mystical place, we shift to a cemetery where a man mourns at the grave of his daughter. He is Caco, the head of a gypsy clan, who’s trying to protect his disabled nephew from the vengeance of another family. For the rest of the film we watch as Caco gradually unravels, grief and frustration *ing him apart. His death is inevitable, but the scenery on his fateful path—including austere views of Andalusia—makes us wish for his reprieve. The real point to Vengo isn’t so much Caco’s doom but a celebration of flamenco culture, music, and dance. Sandra Kurtz

*VERTICAL RAY OF THE SUN

Vietnam/France, 2000. Director: Tran Anh Hung

Wed., May 30, 7:15 p.m., Egyptian

Sat., June 2, 1:45 p.m., Harvard Exit

The most outrageously aestheticized movie at last fall’s Toronto film fest was Tran Anh Hung’s follow-up to Cyclo. (That 1995 film played here most recently in November; Tran’s 1993 Scent of Green Papaya earned an Oscar nomination.) Vertical Ray is a sensually meandering Chekhov-like story set in present-day Hanoi, where a surreally beautiful brother and sister combo wake each morning in adjoining beds and do their tai chi exercises to early Lou Reed. Commemorating the anniversary of their mother’s death, three sisters and one brother gradually discover various family secrets. J.H.

*VIRGIL BLISS

U.S.A., 2001. Director: Joe Maggio

Thur., May 31, 7:15 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

Sun., June 3, 11:30 a.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

Following a 12-year prison sentence for armed robbery, Virgil Bliss—a kindhearted, somewhat naive Southern fella genuinely remorseful for his past—moves into a New York halfway house, encountering a roommate who could send them both back to the slammer. Disobeying all house rules, Manny brandishes a switchblade, swigs booze, flips through porn rags, and introduces his new pal to Ruby, the throaty-voiced, tough-shelled hooker whom Virgil falls for—hard. Aiming for documentary-style realism with mundane, everyday scenes in a harsh, industrial setting, Virgil transcends its story’s basic familiarity thanks to its two formidably talented lead actors. Clint Jordon deftly portrays Virgil’s brittle wholesomeness, while Kirsten Russell—reminiscent of Catherine Keener—can take Ruby from a lonely, scar-bearing mother of a four-year-old to a sharp-tongued, castrating streetwalker in a matter of moments. This low-budget DV drama will probably never receive a commercial release; thank SIFF we can see such pure filmmaking at all. D.M.

VIRGIN STRIPPED BARE BY HER BACHELORS

South Korea, 2000. Director: Hong Sangsoo

Mon., June 11, 7:15 p.m., Egyptian

Tues., June 12, 2:30 p.m., Pacific Place

Needlessly punning on Duchamp’s painted glass artwork, Virgin interestingly complicates a straightforward boy-meets-girl courtship tale by breaking it into five non-linear segments told from two conflicting perspectives. The he said/she said structure isn’t treated for obvious laughs (although there are a few), and you’re never quite sure whose flawed recollection to believe (if either). “But we don’t know each other,” our heroine protests to her would-be suitor, and it’s never clear if such knowledge is attained. Once it’s revealed that Su-jeong is a virgin, older Jae-hoon’s pursuit of her assumes greater urgency; there’s nothing the movies love more than a good deflowering. In fact, it’s that final, overdetermined moment that ultimately sandbags Virgin‘s engagingly wry, playful tone. The film carries its nicely deadpan style right through to a conclusion that may not seem romantic to Western sensibilities, but getting there proves far more worthwhile than your standard easy-to-follow love story. B.R.M.

VIVA LAS NOWHERE

U.S.A., 2001. Director: Jason Bloom

Cast: Daniel Stern, James Caan, Patricia Richardson, Sherry Stringfield

Fri., June 15, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

Sat., June 16, 11:30 a.m., Harvard Exit

X marks the spot at the center of the U.S.A., a desolate patch of Kansas prairie turned motel and petting zoo by idealistic songwriter/entrepreneur Frank and his nagging wife. Frank comes across some tough customers at an amateurs’ night at his saloon, then ends up with a beautiful blonde in his arms and his wife buried in the garden. And now his wife’s twin is on her way to celebrate her joint birthday with her sister, while his blonde’s husband is coming to muscle in on Frank’s newest scheme. As bumbling Frank, Stern finds a solid comic rhythm, complete with bewildered staggering and goo-goo-eyed lust. In her role(s), Richardson gets to ham it up as both the tacky widow with a Caddie and the tawdry, Jesus-loving trailer-park wife. Even Caan is having a ball crooning country songs and beating the crap out of Frank. Here’s middle America, literally, in all its dark, ridiculous glory. Enjoy. World premiere. E.B.R.

WAY OUT WEST

U.S.A., 1930. Director: Fred Niblo

Wed., June 13, 9:30 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

Thur., June 14, 5:00 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

SIFF SEZ An old western, double-billed with Out of the Closet, Off Screen: The William Haines Story, starring Haines.

WEBCAM BOYS

U.S.A., 2001. Director: RADD

Sat., June 2, 9:30 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

What begins as a light-hearted documentary on gay guys who broadcast their private lives—and parts—via the Internet ends as a depressing, death- and drug-laden segue into one Webcam boy’s personal tragedy. Those interviewed vary between two emotional extremes. There’s the wisecracking comedian who realized he could supplement his paltry stand-up earnings with Buddycam.com and Real-men.com. Enthusiastic, exhibitionistic Kip talks about how he found a boyfriend through his site, Kipcam.com. On the sketchier side of things, the self-described “Dad” of the creepily titled Spyondad.com remembers being molested as a child; while the half-brothers/full-time boyfriends(!) of 2studbrothers.com discuss their battle with addiction. Noting that he spends much of his on-camera time fully clothed, one Webcam boy wonders about his Internet experience: “Is it a sexcam or a charactercam with sex?” This leads to an even more intriguing question: What drives more hits to a site—pornography or voyeurism? U.S. premiere. D.M.

THE WEDDING

Russia/France, 2000. Director: Pavel Lungin

Sun., June 3, 6:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

Thur., June 7, 5:00 p.m., Pacific Place

SIFF SEZ The bridegroom’s in jail, the bride’s Mafia ex-boyfriend is a party-crasher, and the entire town is on the guest list. Those are only a few of the complications bedeviling a young couple’s wedding plans in this alcohol-fueled comedy—a major hit at Cannes—set in a modern-day Russian mining village.

A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF A MAN

Poland, 1999. Director: Jerzy Stuhr

Fri., May 25, 7:15 p.m., Pacific Place

Sun., May 27, 1:45 p.m., Harvard Exit

Self-satisfied Adam swims laps each morning, prosecutes cases in court all day, visits his dying mom in the hospital every evening, and rehearses nightly with his men’s choir. He and his wife, the head of a charitable foundation, are trying to buy their dream house while also donating a large sum of money to an orphanage. Things seem pretty average for this successful, double-income-no-kids couple. Using an often tedious day-by-day format, director and star Stuhr shows the (literal) trials and tribulations of a particular week in the life of a particular man—who doesn’t quite grasp how his life is unraveling. The story drags along at what seems like real time, the plot building from each previous day, but there are seven days to get through! “What a piece of work is man!” Adam sings in a Schubert choral. Yes, but this profundity is lost as we’re waiting to get to Saturday already. E.B.R.

THE WEIGHT OF WATER

U.S.A./France, 2000. Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Cast: Catherine McCormack, Sarah Polley, Sean Penn, Elisabeth Hurley

Sun., June 10, 9:30 p.m., Cinerama

Tues., June 12, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

SIFF SEZ In this psychological, time-traveling thriller, photojournalist Jean Janes (McCormack) is researching the 1873 ax-murder of two women on New Hampshire’s Smuttynose Island. Along for the boat ride are her poet-husband (Penn), his hunky brother, and the brother’s bersexy girlfriend (Hurley, whose treatment of an ice cube is, in a word, titillating). As she learns more about the unhappy marriage of the historical protagonist she’s studying, Janes becomes increasingly suspicious about her husband’s fidelity, and history threatens to repeat itself.

WENDIGO

U.S.A., 2001. Director: Larry Fessenden

Sun., May 27, 9:30 p.m., Harvard Exit

Mon., May 28, 1:45 p.m., Pacific Place

SIFF SEZ From the director of the urban vampire horror flick Habit comes a scary, smart familial fable in the style of The Shining. A stressed-out Manhattan photographer and his wife and son head off for a quiet weekend in snowbound upstate New York. After their Volvo tangles with a buck and its hunters, a vengeful Native American spirit is apparently conjured up by their troubled young son and a community long out of tune with nature—human and otherwise.

WILD HORSES

Argentina, 1995. Director: Marcelo Pi�o

Sat., June 16, 1:45 p.m., Harvard Exit

SIFF SEZ An unexpected alliance is forged between Jose, a communist bank robber, and Pedro, a businessman who becomes his willing hostage in this road movie driven by a highly satirical imagination. Unconventional and moving, Wild Horses investigates friendship and the politics that govern it.

*WILD ZERO

Japan, 2000. Director: Tetsuro Takeuchi

Fri., June 1, 12:00 a.m., Egyptian

In This Is Spinal Tap, the most sublime of ridiculous rock spoof movies, David St. Hubbins famously declares, “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” Never were truer words spoken, especially in reference to this film. Zero rides the line between smart and silly and stays—just barely—to the right for 98 minutes. The movie stars the band Guitar Wolf (an actual Japanese rock group with a bunch of records and a legion of fans), following its members as they encounter lovely young cross dressers, evil club owners, and zombies. Naturally there are lots of pyrotechnics and screeching guitar solos, plus bad lyrics galore. Like Tarantino rounding out a remake of Night of the Living Dead with some mean garage rock, Zero is both horrible and great—in other words, a true cult classic in the making. L.L.

WILLFULL

Australia, 2001. Director: Rebel Penfold-Russell

Sat., June 2, 6:30 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

Tues., June 5, 5:00 p.m., Pacific Place

SIFF SEZ Rebel Penfold-Russell, producer of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, directed this delightfully dark comedy about a complicated relationship between a mother—who just happens to be dead—and a New Age daughter. Featuring a spirited ghost with an Auntie Mame sense of style, WillFull explores the timeless themes of forgiveness, love and compassion. World premiere.

A WOMAN IS A HELLUVA THING

U.S.A., 2001. Director: Karen Leigh Hopkins

Cast: Angus MacFadyen, Penelope Ann Miller, Kathryn Harrold, Paul Dooley

Thur., June 14, 7:15 p.m., Pacific Place

Sat., June 16, 1:45 p.m., Broadway Perf. Hall

One helluva bad movie. In that rare must-to-avoid category at SIFF, Woman plays like a botched 90-minute sitcom pilot episode boasting a wacky (!) premise. After playing Orson Welles in Cradle Will Rock, MacFadyen is here thanklessly assigned the paper-thin role of an ultra-macho mens magazine publisher—a rake who must naturally be reformed. That task falls to Biloxi Blues Miller, whose character had an, ahem, special relationship with our heros late mother. Bringing out the scoundrels sensitive side requires relentlessly overscored music and endlessly flimsy plot turns—plus the gratuitous use of animals. (In what movie universe do people run toward a grizzly bear?) Writer-director Hopkins is tone deaf when it comes to the way men speak (those gruff-but-lovable galoots), but equally maladroit with female characters lines. (Do you wanna talk? is supposed to be the height of feminine wisdom.) At last we have a film that makes T.J. Hooker look subtle. World premiere. B.R.M.

THE YOUNG AND THE DEAD

U.S.A., 2001. Directors: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman

Sun., June 3, 9:30 p.m., Pacific Place

Wed., June 6, 5:00 p.m., Egyptian

SIFF SEZ In a documentary that proves truth is stranger than fiction, young entrepreneur Tyler Cassity buys the historic but crumbling Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery, restoring its magnificent grounds under the name Hollywood Forever. Bringing memorials into the digital age, Cassity’s company produces video biographies and other creative ways to commemorate the lives of stars and Everyman alike. Both moving and uplifting, the film commemorates death and aging in a town obsessed with youth and immortality.

A-E | F-MI | MO-S | T-Z

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