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ISSUE
  Thursday
172
  April 15
2004
c o n t e n t s
 
 

Lab Shines with 'Lapin'

Utah Ballet Proves its Strong ‘Focal Pointe’
Ballet West Concludes Season with 'Jubilation!'
 

Tarantino Adds Substance to Style

Simplicity and Poignancy in ‘The Son’
One of Last Year’s Best Films Finally Makes it To SLC

 
 
 

 theReel
 
Opening This Weekend
 
by Jeremy Mathews

“Connie and Carla”
Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13
(Not reviewed)

If you don’t have time to watch “Some Like it Hot” and “Victor/Victoria,” “Connie and Carla” aims to help you kill two cross-dressers with one machine gun. Nia Vardalos and Toni Collette play two singers (sorry, no bow fiddle) who run from Chicago to (here’s where it differs from “Some Like it Hot”) Los Angeles. They then pose as drag queens, creating a whole lot of sexual identity issues. David Duchovny also stars.


“Kill Bill; Vol. 2”
4 reels (out of four)
See review


“Kitchen Stories”
IFC Films
Not rated
(Not reviewed)

Brent Hamer’s Swedish film “Kitchen Stories” looks at a friendship that emerges between an old man and an observer who is supposed to observe his kitchen habits to compare single men’s rituals with that of a housewife.


“The Punisher”
Lions Gate Films
Rated R
(Not reviewed)

“The Punisher” is for those who can’t go two weeks without a film based on a comic book hero. The skilled Thomas Jane plays the man who gets even after his wife and kids are killed. But it’s not vengeance, it’s punishment. Oh, yeah.


“Good Bye, Lenin!”
Sony Pictures Classics
Rated R
(out of four)

Wolfgang Becker’s “Good Bye, Lenin!” transforms the fall of the Berlin Wall into a clever, crowd-pleasing farce. After Alex’s (Daniel Brühl) mom (Katrin Saß) sees him arrested for protesting the communist regime in East Berlin, to which she has been loyal her whole life, she falls into a coma and wakes up years later, after her beloved government falls. Fearful of what a surprise might do to her, Alex does up the house to look like it did before the revolution. He also makes fake newscasts and gets into other antics as he tries to keep the great change a secret. The GDR government begins to look like its idealized version.

The film meanders into silly sentimentality at times, but makes up for it with amusing comedy and impressive imagery, including a party in a building that’s missing one of its walls.


“The Son” (“Le Fils”)
New Yorker Films
Not Rated
4 reels (out of four)

“The Son” punctuates quiet moments of human desperation with unmatched moments of emotional release. Its power comes from observation and restraint that could make you miss one of 2003’s most powerful films if you aren’t paying attention.
Belgian filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne wrote and directed the film with a style that defies conventional narrative expectations. At times we expect a violent machinery accident or homosexual misconduct between a man and his student, but the Dardennes offer nothing so predictable as they follow the life of a good but conflicted man.

Like they did in 1999’s “Rosetta,” the brothers use a hand-held documentary style to follow one character’s life, using no scenes without the main character.

The film demands viewing more than it requires interpretation. The Dardennes manage to make their process look simple, like they’re telling the story. In fact, the film’s unforced insights are some of the most difficult to produce in cinema. Without typical plot concoctions, “The Son” reveals a man who takes a second chance to affect the future generation and to forgive.
jeremy@red-mag.com

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