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  • Issue of
  • Nov 28 - Dec 4, 2007
  • Vol. 28, No. 7

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Chopper Show

    If you get your kicks watching static shots of guys popping wheelies in front of the ruins of Tiger Stadium, then this flick’ll sit well with you. For everyone else, the utter lack of voiceover narration, title cards, interviews or the merest bit of context explaining why anyone, anywhere, should give a flying fuck about this shabby assemblage of bad tattoos and frayed denim, it’ll likely be a bit of a bummer.
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  • The Scene
  • Holly

    Patrick (Ron Livingston), an American expat aimlessly drifting from one poker game to the next, sees the child sex trade in Cambodia as an entrenched evil, part of a cycle of poverty and dependence. He explains to his enigmatic boss Freddie (the late great Chris Penn) that he’s learned to avoid making eye contact with the children selling trinkets or themselves. That is, until he encounters Holly (Thuy Nguyen), a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl living in a low-rent brothel. Well-aware of the future that awaits her, she’s resilient and resourceful, always looking for a way out without really understanding just how much the deck is stacked against her. A chaste but charged friendship that develops between Patrick and Holly, and it’s clear that he makes for an unlikely savior. But that’s the leap of faith Holly takes — that this self-centered man would upend his life to change the course of someone else’s. Despite a few clunky plot twists — including some convenient but highly improbable chance encounters — Holly rises above the usual preachy exposé. Much of this is achieved by the way it’s filmed: intimate widescreen images in sweat-soaked color combined with the immediacy of hand-held camerawork.
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  • The Scene
  • 12:08 East of Bucharest

    Writer-director Corneliu Porumboiu uses the off year, as well as the off-the-beaten path locale of his hometown Vaslui, in northeast Romania, to create a mordantly funny exploration of post-revolution malaise. Porumboiu tackles the macrocosm of Romania, and the film takes place from dawn to dusk on December 22, 2005, as three men gather to discuss where they were at 12:08 pm in 1989 when Nicolae Ceausescu and wife Elena fled their palace in Bucharest, abdicating their absolute power. The film’s English title tries to express how far Vaslui residents were from the capital when this happened, but the Romanian title — “A fost sau n-a fost?” which literally means “Was it or wasn’t it?” — better captures Porumboiu’s dual meaning.
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  • The Scene
  • Total recoil

    When Andreas Ramsfjell (Trond Fausa Aurvåg) finds himself dropped off in a lovely, well-ordered city, handed the keys to his apartment and a dossier detailing his new job, he’s befuddled but accepting. He gets along by going along with his cheerful and accommodating co-workers, including his boss Håvard (Johannes Joner), who’s more concerned with his happiness than productivity. Something is off, Andreas can feel it, but he seems to be the only one. Everyone around him seems satisfied to continually decorate their stylish homes, like his girlfriend Anne-Britt (Petronella Barker), and keep their surfaces shiny and immaculate. It isn’t until he hears Hugo (Per Schaanning), who uses the anonymity of a men’s room stall to unleash a tirade about how nothing has a taste anymore, that Andreas can begin to pinpoint his gnawing dissatisfaction. It’s as if his memory of a past life wasn’t sufficiently washed away, and he becomes grimly determined to break out of the suffocating cocoon, even if it means only a short time flying free. Expect the unexpected. Just when you think you know where screenwriter Per Schreiner is heading, the story swerves into uncharted territory.
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  • The Scene
  • August Rush

    The protagonist of this back-door music is August Rush (Freddy Highmore), a ward of the state whose parents — a scruffy Irish rocker (Johnathn Rhys Meyers) and an elegant concert cellist (Keri Russel) — don’t know he exists. The orphan won't give up home he'll be claimed, so, to avoid being placed in yet another home, he runs to the streets of NYC, where he falls in with a flock of runaways led by the tweaked-out hustler Wizard (Robin Williams), who christens the kid August Rush and turns him out on the streets to earn cash with his amazingly advanced guitar skills. As his unbelievably attractive (but dim) parents begin to piece together the puzzle about their lost child, the Wiz tightens his grip on the kid. Not a moment of this exists in a believable universe, but the movie hugs its own fairytale nature and holds on for dear life.
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Food & Drink

  • Table and Bar
  • Roll tops

    Upscale sushi lounge aims to smooth the pace of life with stylish drinks, lush electro-acoustic lounge beats and raw fish artfully prepared. Start with a sake-based cocktail or a 750-milliliter bottle of Oregon-brewed Momokawa. Try the $4.50 salad of seaweed tossed in rice-wine vinegar and sesame oil, cleverly presented in a chic cocktail glass. Sushi ($4-$7) comes two pieces per order, hand-rolled balls of rice capped with oily hunks of mackerel, flaky water eel and rich and fluffy egg. Specialty makis are topped with curious fruits and glazes; for instance, the Woodward is filled with tuna, salmon, yellowtail and cucumber. The six riceless maki come garnished with a spicy sauce that blazes in the mouth. Cool off with green tea, coffee, mango, red bean or strawberry ice cream wrapped in chewy mochi or the self-indulgent tempura-fried ice cream.
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