Today, Apparently, is Jeremy Renner Day at the PFF/CF: Picks for April Fool’s Day

April 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

Jury Duty

Despite the holiday, I am not kidding about any of these. They all suck or are merely okay.

Jury Duty Jean-Pierre Darroussin, whose subtle work have been highlights of films like Cold Water and Red Lights, lends a whole heaping lot of credibility to Edouard Niermans’ sledgehammer subtle look at race relations in ‘60s France. Darroussin plays a middle aged white guy who, in the opening scene, attempts to rape then kills a young woman in a barn. Not only does her Algerian lover gets the blame but, in a silly turn of events, Darroussin himself winds up on the jury. Does he speak up? No, but he doesn’t want the innocent kid to get the shaft. But Jury Duty – its original title, Le Septième Juré (The Seventh Juror), reworked to sound like a Pauly Shore movie why? – isn’t interested in Camusesque existentialism as much as hoary plot twists, each more risible than the last. Grade: C 4:45pm, Prince Music Theater.


Food, Inc. Fast Food Nation scribe Eric Schlosser is all over this documentary on the food industry — both a sign that filmmaker Robert Kenner is on the right track but also that we’ve done this before. Despite casting a net further than the fast food biz, Kenner comes to most of the same conclusions as Schlosser and offers up little other information. Worthwhile but redundant. Grade: B- 4:45pm, I-House.


Wages of Spin There’s a priceless doc to be made of the original, Philly-based incarnation of American Bandstand, and despite the sometimes distracting amateurism of Shawn Swords’ doc — a cheesy “’50s” score, subpar video, even worse sound work, a crippling minimum of photos — the opening stretch serves as a worthwhile evocation of a time and place. But once villain Dick Clark enters the scene, Spin turns into a haphazard hit piece, and one that barely hits its mark. Just about everyone has nasty things to say about Clark, who the film alleges to have engaged in payola and other nasty business. But all Swords can get is hearsay and he takes his subjects’ claims at their word, with no further research. Clark appears for exactly five seconds at the end to say he won’t discuss the allegations. Case closed, eh? Grade: C 6:45pm, I-House.

Previously Reviewed

Unseen So Far But Of Note (Possibly)

  • Majid Majidi, he of such Iranian kiddie movies as Children of Heaven and The Color of Paradise, returns with The Song of Sparrows, one of those city-bad/country-great movies, this time about an ostrich farmer. 12:15pm, Ritz East.
  • As alluded to in the title, this is the day with two films starring Jeremy Renner, the quite awesome, though so far fairly obscure, budding thesp of Dahmer, North Country, Twelve and Holding and The Assassination of Jesse James Yada Yada. First up is Lightbulb, in which he and Dallas Roberts (Joshua) play schemers out for a get-rich-quick idea. 2:30pm, Ritz East.
  • Renner also headlines The Hurt Locker, the exceedingly well-liked Iraq War bomb squad movie from Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Point Break). Almost no one doesn’t like this film, nor denies that it’s unbelievably tense. I mean, check out that trailer, above. Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce also pop up…briefly. 7pm, Prince Music Theater.
  • Blind Loves is a four-part doc on blind people in Slovakia. Woot. 9:15pm, I-House.
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