say your piece

157 13 NOVEMBER 2003
Opening: In this Weekend
By Jeremy Mathews

“Looney Tunes: Back in Action”
Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated PG
(Not reviewed)

In what appears to be a cross between “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Around the World in 80 Days,” the beloved Warner Bros. cartoon characters appear with live actors in “Looney Tunes: Back in Action.” Joe Dante, responsible for such matinee fare as “Gremlins,” “Matinee” and the TV show “Eerie, Indiana,” directs.

Brendan Fraser plays DJ Drake, a Hollywood stuntman who leaves town and travels the world with a disgruntled Daffy Duck (because Bugs Bunny gets all the glory) in search of Drake’s missing father and a blue diamond. Bugs Bunny and a studio executive played by Jenna Elfman, however, are on their tails.

“Mambo Italiano”
IDP Films
Rated R
Opening at the Tower
(out of four)

Emile Gaudreault’s “Mambo Italiano” starts off with energy and good intentions, but its broad character portrayals eventually weigh it down to nothing. The film aims to place insightful views on a homosexual relationship in a cultural environment à la “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” but portrays no convincing relationships and relies on broad stereotypes.

“There’s no fate worse than being gay and Italian,” Angelo (Luke Kirby) says. The Italian-Canadian’s parents (Paul Sorvino and Ginette Reno) live in the Italian neighborhood of Montreal and want their son to live with them until he gets married, but Angelo doesn’t dig the girls and finds his own place, where he shacks up with an old childhood friend, Nino (Peter Miller).

The romance is unconvincing because there’s no real sign of romance between Angelo and Nino. The parents and other Italian-Americans are unconvincing because they have no personalities. But the subplot about Angelo’s efforts to become a TV writer is very convincing—if being able to predict the entire outcome of a story 12 frames (half a second) after the film introduces it makes it convincing.

“Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”
3.5 reels (out of four)
See review

“My Life Without Me”
Sony Pictures Classics
Rated R
Opening at the Broadway
2 reels (out of four)
(See full review here.)

Sarah Polley plays a woman who finds out she only has a few months to live and acts irrationally without much consequence or interest.

“Pieces of April”
United Artists
Rated PG-13
Opening at the Broadway
3 reels (out of four)
(See full review here.)

“Pieces of April” shows that well-written, quirky characters can carry a film a long way. Writer/director Peter Hedges and actors including Katie Holmes and Patricia Clarkson charm their way through the film, causing us to overlook the budget constraints and unnecessary elements for the film’s overall sweet family message.

“Prey for Rock and Roll”
Mac Releasing LLC
Rated R
Opening at Madstone
(Not reviewed)

If seeing Jack Black in “School of Rock” wasn’t enough to satiate your rock-and-roll appetite, watch Gina Gershon try to fulfill her band’s last chance in Alex Stayermark’s “Prey for Rock and Roll.”

“Tupac: Resurrection”
Paramount Pictures
Rated R
(Not reviewed)

Afeni Shakur, mother of the late, acclaimed rapper Tupac Shakur, collaborated on Lauren Lazin’s documentary “Tupac: Resurrection,” the third major release this week with a colon in it. The film contains unseen home movies, photographs, concert footage and poetry to tell the story the fallen star’s life. The film advertises itself to be “in his own words,” and uses only excerpts from Tupac’s poetry and private journals to tell the story.

Someone in the office, however, just informed me that Tupac isn’t dead, so there might be a sequel.

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