Go See (or Don’t!) These Fest Films: Tuesday, March 31

March 31, 2009 at 3:42 pm 2 comments

Boy Interrupted Considering it’s a documentary about a mentally ill teen who killed himself that’s been made by the kid’s parents, you’d expect Boy Interrupted to be infinitely too personal — moving, yes, but still therapy-made-public and in need of some distance. I’m still not entirely convinced it didn’t need a third party behind the lens, but it’s nowhere near something like Nicole Conn’s unsightly and self-aggrandizing “doc” little man (not the Wayans comedy, though possibly worse), about her and her partner’s struggles with a grossly premature baby. Hart Perry, who lensed Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County, U.S.A., collaborated with his documentarian wife Dana on this evocation of their dead son, who jumped out of a window at 15 after an entire life of suicidal behavior and experiments with various meds. Despite the filial connection, Boy Interrupted often does feel like it’s been made by someone else: when interviewed, the Perrys speak soberly and (mostly) without tears. They seek not pity but explanation and their film’s portrait of trying to medicate the mentally ill manages to balance the personal with the universal. Grade: B 7:15pm, Ritz East.

The Girl From Monaco

The Girl From Monaco Slightly more inventive than your usual wad of French fluff, this breezy number from Anne Fontaine (How I Killed My Father) unites a middle-aged barrister (Fabrice Luchini), his stiff Arab bodyguard (Days of Glory’s Roschdy Zem) and a bubble-brained hotcha weather girl (Louise Bourgoin) in an almost-love triangle in scenic Monaco. Things don’t quite work out the way you’d expect, and the three leads are spirited. But it’s still, you know, fluff. Grade: B- 9:15pm, Ritz East.

Cuttin’ Da Mustard Judging from his IMDb page, Mustard maker Reed R. McCants is going by experience with this fitfully amusing comedy about a troupe of out-of-work actors, led by Tropic Thunder‘s Brandon T. Jackson, who try to mount a production at a Queens theater. There’s a couple decent, if Hollywood Shuffle-derived yuks about black actors doing Menace II Society monologues in Shakespeare class and whatnot, but the jokes are too light and the semi-autobiography too earnest. Grade: C+ 9:30pm, I-House.


Able From Philadelphia-based filmmakers but filmed in Germany with a German cast speaking English, Marc Robert’s apocalyptic horror gets kudos for abstraction. There’s no exposition — it just opens up with a virus of so-far-unknown intent already having decimated Berlin, and with a small group of people filmed in an unclear manner that nearly out-obscures Fernando Meirelles’ busy work on last year’s Blindness. Long as everything is unclear, Able is a creepy-crawly mood piece filled with striking images; soon as anyone speaks, or does anything, it immediately crumbles. Grade: C+ 9:30pm, Ritz East.

Previously Reviewed

Unseen So Far But Of Note (Maybe)

  • From The Syrian Bride‘s Eran Riklis comes Lemon Tree, another look at Israeli-Palestinian relations, this one starring The Visitor‘s great Hiam Abbass. 2:15pm, Ritz 5.
  • The awkwardly titled 4bia is a Thai omnibus of four short horror films, including one from the guy who made the crossdressing sports comedy Iron Ladies. 4:45pm, The Bridge.
  • Speaking of Hollywood Shuffle, Robert Townsend’s latest is Phantom Punch, a Sonny Liston biopic starring Ving Rhames. 7pm, Prince Music Theater.
  • One more screening of The Brothers Bloom, Rian Johnson’s quirky follow-up to Brick that isn’t getting much love but which I stubbornly believe will be secretly awesome. With Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz and much conman shenanigans. 9:15pm, Prince Music Theater.

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Yesterday’s PFF/CF: Advertising, Mystical Sex, Dominican Baseballers and Death by Hubcap Reviews: Both an Iranian Woman and Rachel Weisz Rap and Sonny Liston Gets No Budget

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