Picks, Pans, All That – Day Ten: Saturday, April 12

April 12, 2008 at 2:47 pm Leave a comment

The Good
First off: a sizable correction for The New Year Parade, the local indie playing tonight (and Monday). Director Tom Quinn’s IMDb page was inexplicably collated with that of another Tom Quinn, a longtime assistant director on fare from David Cronenberg and Sofia Coppola. Even knowing better than to trust the user-based IMDb, I dumbly did just that and claimed the film was the long-in-the-waiting debut from some guy who’s sat patiently in the sidelines. That’s not true, but surely there are worse mistakes than to think that a debut looks like it comes from a seasoned pro. Regardless of my mistake, The New Parade is terrific – an acutely observed Amerindie about a divorce ripping apart a family in South Philly with ties to the South Philadelphia String Band. There are few big moments and many little ones and Quinn’s camerawork, editing and way with non-pro actors (excepting terrific local stage actor Tobias Segal) works beautifully in synch. Already the winner of the Grand Jury Award at Slamdance, it should have a long life besides. (9:30pm, International House)

Also: Hailing from deep within the prolific resume of Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), 1955’s bizarrely structured Violent Saturday (12:15pm, The Bridge) is Douglas Sirk doing Reservoir Dogs; my rave is here. Gael Garcia Bernal directorial debuts with Deficit (2:30pm, Ritz East), in which he also stars as a rich kid throwing a fateful fête for high school graduation. It opens theatrically next month, but there’s no shame in catching the terrific proto-Sweding opus Son of Rambow (2:30pm, The Bridge) early. Benjamin Herold’s First Person (4:30pm, International House) hands cameras to six Philadelphia students and watches the perilous difficulties it takes for them to get into college. The haunting doc James Castle: Portrait of an Artist (5pm, Ritz East) packs a lot into its under-an-hour length, covering a deaf artist who, having refused to learn to read or write, communicated only through his art. And the Italian The Last House in the Woods (10pm, RItz East) reimagines Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a neo-’giallo, one shot for about a euro and a half.

The Not So Good
A rare exported film from Uruguay, The Pope’s Toilet (12:15, Ritz 5) takes a satirical, anticlerical set-up – the impoverished trying to get rich off a visit from John Paul II – and only winds up proving that light and nearly declawed comedies know no borders. Where’s Luis Buñuel when you need him? Directed by Hana Makhmalbaf, the daughter of Iranian legend Mohsen (Gabbeh, Kandahar), Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame (7:45pm, The Bridge) 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.

Chop Shop

And those I haven’t seen (yet) but which possess buzz and/or look promising
Behind Forgotten Eyes (12:30pm, Ritz East) tackles one of the more bizarre and horrifying war crimes of WWII: Japan’s habit of kidnapping Korean women and forcing them into sexual slavery. Young People Fucking (2:15pm, Prince Music Theater) is about young people fucking, I presume. Allegedly reminiscent of OldBoy maven Park Chan-wook’s vengeance trilogy, Soo follows a policeman on a grisly bout of vengeance. What We Do is Secret (7pm, Prince Music Theater) gives L.A. punk greats the Germs – specifically doomed frontman Darby Crash – its own biopic. From the acclaimed director of Man Push Cart, Chop Shop (9:30pm, Ritz 5) (and pictured) focuses on another low-wage American worker, this time a 12-year old Dominican-American who takes up odd jobs. Omnibus films usually sound better than they wind up being, but who can totally resist Triangle (10pm, The Bridge), which combines work from Hong Kong legends Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To. And Film Noir (10pm, Ritz East) is an animated, feature-length homage to the moody, fatalistic genre.


Entry filed under: Picks.

What I Peeped: Day Nine What I Peeped: Day Ten

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