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ISSUE
  Thursday
167
  March 4
2004
c o n t e n t s
 
Set to Sail on Songwriting Chops: The Decemberists’ Colin Maloy Talks About his Band’s Haunting Pop and its New, 18-Minute Prog-Rock Song
RED Reviews
 
A Dance By Any Other Name?

Lab’s ‘Hard Heart’ Hits Hard

A Tale of Two Johns:
A Review of the books by presidential candidates John Edwards and John Kerry
 
Stiller and Wilson Meet Starsky and Hutch:
The Funnymen Talk About Bringing a ’70s TV Show to the Big Screen

WEB EXCLUSIVE
‘Starsky and Hutch’ Revitalizes the TV Show Remake

Paris in the Springtime:
Bertolucci Returns to Form with ‘The Dreamers’
 
 
 
 

 theReel
 
Opening This Weekend
 
by Jeremy Mathews

“Bus 174”
ThinkFilm
Not rated
(out of four)

In “Bus 174,” documentarian José Padilha engages in suspenseful filmmaking as he explores the political landscape of Rio de Janeiro through a famous bus hijacking in the summer of 2000.

A media circus surrounded the bus during negotiations, and Padilha cuts together the coverage of multiple TV crews and interviews with people who are on the bus. Padilha’s tight and tense editing alone would make for solid entertainment, but he doesn’t stop there. The film reaches a surprising level of understanding with the hijacker and condemns the government in which prisons are overcrowded and barely run while a large number of children live on the street without aid or pity.


“The Dreamers”
4 reels (out of four)
(See review)


“Hidalgo”
Touchstone Pictures
Rated PG-13
(out of four)

“Hidalgo” recalls the melodramatic action of ’40s and ’50s with a…well, without much modern touch. The film is a well-made Middle-Eastern Western about a cowboy and his trusty titular mustang who participate in a 3,000-mile race across the Arabian Desert. Without giving anything away, the result is a very close one for an endurance race.

Hot off his last film’s Oscar sweep, hunk Viggo Mortensen plays Frank T. Hopkins, a part-Indian who hides his cultural identity and becomes an emotionally scarred alcoholic when he unknowingly delivers the orders for the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre. In Buffalo Bill’s show and looking like Tom Cruise in “The Last Samurai,” he finds a new lease on life when he learns about Arab culture.

The film’s main asset is its action sequences, including a dramatic sandstorm and a Spielberg-esque rescue scene from an action director’s dream village. The film balances its elements well, without letting the drama get overly sappy or predictable.


“Starsky and Hutch”
Warner Bros.
Rated PG-13
(out of four)

“Starsky and Hutch” proves that with the proper tone, set of actors, and a willingness to try whatever is necessary for a laugh, it is possible to make a good film based on a “classic” TV show. Despite the recent failed attempts at enlarging old small-screen hits like the feature-length music video “Charlie’s Angels” and the stilted, uninspired “I Spy,” the studios continue to churn them out, and now one has been done right.

Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller bring their own comic chemistry to the hit ’70s buddy cop series. The laid-back Wilson plays an unambitious crooked cop and Stiller plays an uptight law enforcer. It’s all buddy formula, but they bring life to it. Director Todd Phillips gracefully executes some very amusing gags, resulting in something both fans and strangers to the show will find amusing.
(Full review available here.)
jeremy@red-mag.com

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