Picks, Pans, All That – Day (Ulp!) Seven: Wednesday, April 9

April 9, 2008 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

The Good
One of two all-so-timely election-themed docs in the festival (the other being Holler Back, playing Saturday), Electile Dysfunction (7pm, Prince Music Theater) comes to us from locals Mary Patel, of the Philadelphia City Paper, and Joe Barber. (An awkward apology, by the way, for a bizarre mistake in the print edition of PW where I claimed they were, er, married. You got me.) Though it’s more breadth than depth, Dysfunction is quite verily filled with breadth, hitting most conceivable notes on election-related woes: how politicking has ruined the democratic ideal; how ads are even more manipulative than you thought possible; how the media and public have grown to have the attention span of a goldfish, et al. The extremely impressive array of interviewees sometimes leads to questionable appearances – why Bruce Vilanch? But this may become the definitive 101 on the election process and its countless ills.

Also: A mixed-but-kinda-positive response to Mister Foe (2:15pm, The Bridge) here, a solid cap for The Other Boy (5pm, Ritz 5) here and a foaming-at-the-mouth rave for Phoebe in Wonderland (7pm, Bryn Mawr Film Institute) here, which is strong enough to warrant a trip up to Bryn Mawr for Center City-ites. Also mostly worth your while is Eye in the Sky (7:15pm, Ritz 5), a Hong Kong surveillance saga that does a fumbling but earnest imitation of Paul Greengrass’ shaky-cam/quicksilver editing style.

The Not So Good
The Swiss That Day (5pm, Ritz East) strands Bruno Todeschini and Natacha Régnier in a by-the-books fractured look at a family torn apart three-ways. Epitaph (7:15pm, Ritz East), from South Korea, offers up another fractured narrative, this time with vengeful ghosts and roughly ten thousand big plot twists. John Woo produced the Chinese Blood Brothers (9:45pm, The Bridge), which pays back the favor by doing a so-so homage to classic Woo, if way short on both the bloodletting and especially the over-the-top melodrama.

And those I haven’t seen (yet) but which possess buzz and/or look promising
The French In the Arms of My Enemy (2:30pm, Ritz East) is a “thinking person’s action film” about two sets of brothers crossing paths in the early 19th century. The metaphysical-minded Dust (7:30pm, Ritz East) – which traces everything on the planet back to dust to show how we’re all connected, man – could either be enlightening or the latest bunch of What the Bleep Do We Know-style hooey. As the name suggests, the shorts program The Liberty Bell Tolls For Thee (7:15pm, International House) is all local, and part of the Festival of Independents. And try as I might, I can’t find anyone who knows what on earth tonight’s Mystery Film (9:30pm, Prince Music Theater) is. But even if I could, my lips would be sealed. Maybe.

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Entry filed under: Picks.

What I Peeped: Day Six What I Peeped: Day Seven

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