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  • Issue of
  • Feb 22-28, 2006
  • Vol. 26, No. 19

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • The Intruder (L'Intrus)

    Those requiring instant gratification may want to avoid films by Claire Denis, including this one. The revered French filmmaker has a cinematic language all of her own, and anyone claiming to fully get this movie's story is lying to look cool. Denis presents The Intruder as a puzzle, and the clues don't come easy. Piece by piece she reveals her characters in a random, meandering fashion, leaving huge gaps in the story and never fully giving a resolution. The enjoyment comes not from a satisfying tale, but rather how writer-director Denis delivers the narrative. The pace can be tedious and the story incoherent, but she keeps the viewer invested with her crisp, picturesque imagery and intriguing and complicated characters.
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  • The Scene
  • Freedomland

    Things open with Brenda Martin's (Julianne Moore) catatonic stumble into a hospital ER. Her hands are cut and bloodied. Disoriented, she tells the doctors and police that she's been carjacked and that her 4-year-old son was asleep in the backseat. Because her son was taken near a black housing project, the police lock down the area, igniting racial tensions between residents and the predominantly white cops. Detective Lorenzo Council (Jackson) is assigned to the case and struggles to get to the truth of what happened before the whole situation goes to hell. Recruiting the help of Karen Collucci (Edie Falco), the leader of a parental group that helps find missing children, Lorenzo discovers that Brenda might not be telling the whole story (though it's not quite what you think).
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  • The Scene
  • Eight Below

    If you're not a dog person, you'll want to avoid this film like the plague. Director Frank Marshall's new family-friendly adventure presents so many loving, adoring shots of its eight Antarctic sled dogs, it's almost nauseating: The adorable purebreds perform acts of impossible bravery; they cock their heads to one side to look curious; they nuzzle together to protect themselves from the elements; and they nudge their snouts at each other to show love. The sequences are generally entertaining: They're not at the quality level of The Black Stallion, but they're much better than Benji. Unfortunately, the bloated human drama knocks the movie off course.
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  • The Scene
  • Why We Fight

    P>Eugene Jarecki's Sundance-winning Why We Fight, is a cynical polemic on how corporate interests increasingly control government policy. Jarecki presents an impassioned case that a perpetual profit-driven war machine has come to pass. Documentaries, even Michael Moore's documentaries, ask questions and seek answers. There is, on some level, an attempt at discovery. Jarecki's film presents its position and works overtime to bolster its thesis; with so little inquiry the film hovers dangerously close to propaganda.
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  • The Scene
  • Date Movie

    This is a movie that doesn't even bother with setups or punchlines, just the long, boring middle parts of jokes. The directors assume that by slapping something - anything - up on the screen - a bad Napoleon Dynamite look-alike, an old lady, a midget - the audience will laugh. Wow, fat people sure are funny. Gay people are even funnier. Fat, gay people are, like, funny-squared. Meanwhile, Hannigan stands there like a bobble-head doll, as if the only way they could coax a reaction shot out of her was by waving a paycheck in front of her face.
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Food & Drink

  • Table and Bar
  • Sweet Harmonie

    There’s plenty more to commend Lola’s, the jazzy, comfortably friendly bright spot just inside the Gratiot gateway to Harmonie Park. Contrasting red, blue and bittersweet chocolate walls are enlivened with huge canvasses by local artist Gigi Bolden. The wings are not to be missed; they are meaty and juicy, carrying a thin coating of just enough spice to show through the ingeniously complementary sweet-hot sauces drizzled on the plate. And there are sturdier entrées — such as char-grilled rib-eye steak with the Argentine green herbal sauce chimichurri; sautéed salmon crusted with cornmeal and green chiles; and Catalan seafood stew, Jones’ interpretation of the Spanish take on bouillabaisse, with saffron-tickled shellfish, squid and fish — that promise a fine dinner.
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Music

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