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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Supple storytelling

Croatian writer weaves tales of Sarajevo

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM

In Sarajevo Marlboro, Miljenko Jergovic delicately orders his collection of 29 short stories into an eloquent composition that recounts the tales of Serbs, Muslims and Croats in Sarajevo during and after the devastating post-communist-era war in their homeland. Jergovic, a Croatian by birth, grew up in Sarajevo and stayed...

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Sex and poop

John Waters sticks to formula

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM

A parody of suburban dysfunction and a tongue-in-cheek rallying cry for sexual freedom and sex fetishists, A Dirty Shame continues John Waters’ infamous revelry of raunch with the underlying message that not only is it OK to be different and perverted, but that, in fact, deviants are better.

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Shaun of the Dead

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Anyone who has watched a zombie movie has probably wondered: Can creatures with the intelligence and speed of a slug really be as intimidating as they’re made out to be? As Shaun of the Dead makes evident, the answer is no. Billed as a “romantic comedy with zombies” this has become a sleeper hit in Britain. The story goes like: “Boy loves girl, boy loses girl, boy fights through hordes of zombies to get girl back and has lots of fun doing it.” Let the homage to chaos and homicidal comedy begin.

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Home of the Brave

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM

There are many questions about the life and brutal murder of Detroiter Viola Luizo. Home of the Brave doesn’t answer them all. But the documentary — a quest for answers by one of Luizo’s grown daughters — sheds a much-deserved light on this remarkable woman and the Civil Rights movement she died for as she drove down a dark highway outside of Selma, Ala., with a young black man in her car.

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Bright Leaves

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Documenary filmmaker and North Carolina native Ross McElwee discovers a 1950 film Bright Leaf that parallels some aspect of his own family’s involvement in the tobacco empire. As McElwee tries to trace the similarities between this fictive film and his real family history, he explores cogent observations about the insidious nature of tobacco addiction and the ambiguity of present-day tobacco growers toward the product.

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Bright Young Things

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM

This sardonic commentary on the good-life propels a hilarious and fantastic journey into the lives of the fortunate. Set in glamorous 1930s London, the story follows a group of socialites whose lives consist of drinking absinthe, snorting drugs and creating slanderous fodder for the gossip columns. You’ll love most of the characters but hate a few, and that’s exactly what makes this film work.

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Playtime

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM

French comic filmmaker Jacques Tati never really caught on in the United States; in order to enjoy Tati’s films you have to abandon your preconceptions about how a comedic film should be presented and how it should unfold. This film unfolds in an imaginary Paris; there’s no plot per se, just a day in the life of the city. Although Tati is not above using some conventional comedic devises, there’s an extra layer of humor here derived from the absurd context of a city that’s trying to pass itself off as a normal place to live.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A square deal

The best of the Ann Arbor film fest hits the road

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2004 at 12:00 AM

This touring version of Ann Arbor's internationally famous and experimental film festival features selections hand-picked by the fest's director. The films are shorts, with most of them running under 15 minutes, and range from the mundane to the truly bizarre. Clocking in at four hours, the festival is worth seeing for anyone interested in experimental film (or just film, period) and it’s seemingly endless possibilities.

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The Five Obstructions

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2004 at 12:00 AM

In 1967, Danish director Jorgen Leth made a short film called The Perfect Human. The film has long been an obsession of another and more famous Danish director, Lars von Trier. In this documentary, von Trier challenges Leth to remake his film five times, each time adhering to a set of "obstructions" that von Trier will devise. Although the stipulations include shooting only in Cuba, and turning the film into a cartoon, Leth still produces clever variations. The whole thing is a curio, neither as deep nor lightweight as it might seem at first, but for von Trier fans the film is a must.

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Silver City

Posted By on Wed, Sep 22, 2004 at 12:00 AM

A lopsided left-wing political farce, this film starts out well enough but slows to a snail’s pace halfway through. When a gubernatorial candidate reels in a corpse while filming a lakeside campaign commercial, scandal ensues. While the all-star cast (Richard Dreyfuss, Tim Roth and Daryl Hannah) is phenomenally good, the dialogue comes off stilted and stiff more often than not. Nonetheless, it’s a good choice anyone who likes their movies passionate and opinionated.

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