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  • Issue of
  • May 16-22, 2007
  • Vol. 27, No. 31

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Boy Culture

    Writer-director Q. Allan Brocka's Boy Culture begins with his lead character, X (Derek Magyar), declaring, "If you're smart, you've guessed I'm a hustler. If you haven't, here are two clues: I'm gay, and they've made a movie about me." Brocka's screenplay is littered with similarly clever asides and self-deprecating stabs, but the fact is his gay love triangle never actually rises above the truisms he's criticizing. With its protagonist's narration as an ever-present soundtrack, Boy Culture, sometimes feels like a Bret Easton Ellis novel. An avowed anti-romantic who embraces his alienation and narcissism, the brooding hustler finds himself unexpectedly pining for beautifully black roommate Andrew (Darryl Stevens). When a relationship finally flares up between the two, X struggles to reconcile his profound bitterness with a newfound capacity for love. Didn't see that one coming, did you?
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  • The Scene
  • Delta Farce

    Xenophobic, homophobic and humor-phobic, Delta Farce is so screamingly awful it might also create audience phobia of ever dropping nine bucks at the multiplex again. A witless comedy "vehicle" for the talents of Daniel Whitney (aka Larry the Cable Guy), Farce is more like the rusted old pickup on a neighbor's lawn: a broken down embarrassment that's going nowhere. Larry stars alongside "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" drinking bud Bill Engvall and human toothpick DJ Qualls, as the most bumbling buck privates since Abbott and Costello. Apparently the Army is so desperate for bodies that these beef-jerky-chewing weekend-warriors get hastily shipped off to Iraq, but somehow manage to fall out of the troop carrier somewhere over the Mexican desert. In a certain way, the flick is a throwback, with a style of corny boot-leather comedy not seen since Martin and Lewis were At War with the Army. Indeed, it'd be easy to write Farce off as a harmless bit of piffle, if it weren't so aggressively stupid, offensive and insistent on racial and cultural ignorance.
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  • The Scene
  • Away from Her

    To describe actress Sarah Polley's debut feature makes it sound like a long-lost Twilight Zone episode. In a snowy, remote corner of Canada, a college professor watches his wife slowly turn into a zombie. One day, she's putting pots and pans in the freezer; the next, she's forgotten where she lives. In the rare moments when she's lucid, she exclaims things like, "I think maybe I'm beginning to disappear." Given scenes like those, it may come as a surprise that this film is not, in fact, a sci-fi tale but a drama about a marriage cut short by Alzheimer's disease. Expanding upon a short story by Alice Munro, Polley at first homes in on the devoted but slightly haunted couple in question, the 60-something Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona (Julie Christie). Like many first films, it's rough around the edges, but it gets all the big stuff right.
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  • The Scene
  • Georgia Rule

    Chick-flick aficionados beware: This week, a group of cynical, no doubt cigar-chomping, mustache-twirling Hollywood execs are trying to pull one over on you. They've gathered together three generations of double-X-chromosome icons -- Jane Fonda for the anti-war boomers, Felicity Huffman for the remaining pre-menopausal fans and Lindsay Lohan for the perpetually text-messaging, preteen alcoholic set -- in the hopes that you'll shell out your hard-earned cash, hand over manicured fist. But the problem is that writer Mark Andrus and director Garry Marshall might, in fact, actually hate women. The contempt is right up there on the screen: The movie portrays its grandma-mother-daughter triad as easily duped buffoons lacking anything resembling intuition, backbone or decent eye makeup.
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  • The Scene
  • Fay Grim

    But what separates Fay Grim from Hal Hartley's previous work is that he only seems to be interested in the details of his own labyrinthine plot. It'd be nice to recommend the film to devotees of Posey, who puts a marvelous spin on Hartley's droll, ironic dialogue. But after two long hours of assassinations, covert operations and double- and triple-crosses, the only thing that sticks with you is the director's skill at keeping multiple balls in the air at once.
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  • The Scene
  • The Ex

    Zach Braff plays Tom Reilly, a career slacker who has just lost yet another job. Desperate to support his wife Sofia (Amanda Peet), who wants to trade lawyering for mommydom, he accepts an offer from his adman father-in-law (Charles Grodin) to trade life in the Big Apple for small town Ohio. Working at a new agency as an "assistant associate creative," Tom soon finds himself working with office hotshot and paraplegic Chip (Jason Bateman). A former HS classmate of Sofia's, Chip's modest and munificent facade hides a calculating bastard with a hard-on for Tom's wife. Misunderstanding, manipulation and mayhem ensue.
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