Picks, Pans, All That – Day Nine: Friday, April 11

April 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm 1 comment

The Good
One of the PFF’s best, New Jerseyite Greg Kohs’ doc Song Sung Blue spends eight years chronicling the seriously roller-coaster-like life of Milwaukee’s Lightning and Thunder, a couple who bring impersonations of Neil Diamond and Patsy Cline together. Not long after Eddie Vedder brings them on-stage for a Milwaukee Pearl Jam appearance, Thunder loses her leg in one of the freakiest accents I’ve ever heard. And that’s only the beginning. More than just insane drama, it’s a chilling reflection on the balance required to succeed in art and life. (Fri., April 11, 9:30pm. Prince Music Theater.)

Also: Deeply confusing and perversely bizarre, Jiang Wen’s The Sun Also Rises (2:30pm, The Bridge) is amazing stuff, and one can read my elaboration here. Children of Men genius Alfonso Cuarón is linked to two of the day’s directorial debuts: The Year of the Nail (4:45pm, Ritz 5) is from his young son Jonás, and tells the acutely observed bittersweet tale of an impossible romance through still photos à la La Jetée; and Deficit (7:45pm, Ritz East) is his Y Tu Mama Tambien’s Gael Garcia Bernal, who also stars as a rich kid throwing a fateful fête for high school graduation. Soon to be released theatrically, Son of Rambow (7pm, Ritz 5), from the team Hammer & Tongs, wholly atones for their Hithchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Movie, relating the tale of kids in the ‘80s making their proto-Sweded version of First Blood. Carlos Saura’s visually striking and baldly theatrical Portuguese music film Fados (9:30pm, The Bridge) is also well-worth your time.

The Not So Good
The Swiss That Day (3pm, Ritz East) strands Bruno Todeschini and Natacha Régnier in a by-the-books fractured look at a family torn apart three-ways. Directed by Hana Makhmalbaf, the daughter of Iranian legend Mohsen (Gabbeh, Kandahar), Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame follows a button-cute little girl as she’s abused and oppressed by men, boys and teachers; it aims for classic Iranian cinema but succeeds only in crafting one of the least subtle metaphors in the history of the metaphor. Regular and muse to Taiwanese minimalist master Tsai Ming-liang (The River, What Time is it There?), Lee Kang-sheng shows with Help Me Eros (5:30pm, Ritz East) what a really bad Tsai Ming-liang film would look like, if Tsai Ming-liang actually made really bad movies. Which he doesn’t.

Not seen
I have it on good faith that the Estonian Autumn Ball (12pm, The Bridge), while a bit of a rough going portrait of people in a rundown hotel, is quite strong. The Take (12:15pm, Ritz East) has the PFF-fêted John Leguizamo as an armored car guard shot and left for dead. From the acclaimed director of Man Push Cart, Chop Shop (230pm, Ritz 5) focuses on another low-wage American worker, this time a 12-year old Dominican-American who takes up odd jobs. PW music critic Doug Wallen wanted me to tell you about the awesomeness of Kenny (2:45pm, Ritz East), an Australian comedy about a septic tank worker with an accent so thick it requires subtitles. Frank and Cindy (5pm, Ritz East) shares with the above-mentioned Song Sung Blue the roller-coaster life of a married musician. The new doc (deep breath) Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed in the Mountains (4:45pm, International House) is a detailed account of the crashed 1972 Uruguayan rugby team related in the movie Alive. Sure, it’s opening next Friday, but catch the Jet Li-Jackie Chan team-up The Forbidden Kingdom tonight if you want (7pm, Prince Music Theater). His follow-up to the absurdist masterpiece Songs From the Second Floor, Roy Andersson’s You the Living (7:15pm, The Bridge) is no doubt twenty kinds of awesome. And Robert Englund pops up in Jack Brook: Monster Slayer (9:30pm, Ritz East).

Coming soon! An interview with Son of Rambow team Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith.


Entry filed under: Picks.

What I Peeped: Day Eight Interview: Son of Rambow filmmakers Nick Goldsmith and Garth Jennings

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. dougsell  |  April 11, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    thanks for the crib notes on the PFF. whew, i’m tired just reading it.


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