Archive for December, 2002

2002

December 18, 2002

Camera 3

USA

English

86 minutes

~~Ellen Kuras–Best Cinematography of 2002–Independent Spirit Award Nomination, Sundance Film Festival Winner

~~Rebecca Miller–Grand Jury Prize 2002–Sundance Film Festival Winner

~~Parker Posey–Best Actress of 2002–Independent Spirit Award Nomination

8.1 Critical Consensus

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2002

December 16, 2002

HBO

USA

English

79 minutes

Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of Nancy Pelosi, was a producer on an NBC newsmagazine when she began traveling with George W. Bush as his campaign began in 1999. She started keeping a video diary and this is the result. The behind-the-scenes stuff from the press corps is fantastic. How exactly does a person listen to the exact same speech, often ten times a day, and find something new to report to the world? Pelosi and Bush begin a joking relationship where she kids him about policy and he kids her about boys she likes. Interesting for a political junkie like me. Even if it was the wrong guy.

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2002

December 10, 2002

HBO

God bless HBO. We get top-flight documentary entertainment about sleazy subjects. As someone who has always been fascinated by the sex worker industry, I thought this would be right up my alley. HBO took those tiny cameras from TAXICAB CONFESSIONS (a guilty pleasure) and put them in the ceiling and walls of rooms at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, the famous brothel outside of Reno, Nevada. I wonder how people can take the emotion completely out of sex and I was hoping for a glimpse of that here. The subjects signed consent forms and no actual action was shown. But the uncomfortable negotiation process was shown again and again. What I learned is that for a normal working girl, it’s about $1000 an hour. If you want the pornstar, it will run you $1500 an hour. You can ‘repeat’ as often as you physically can during that hour. Now, call me a cheapskate, but I can think of many other things I could do with $1000. You know how long it would take to watch $1000 worth of porn, for example? Anyway, enough about this one. What I found was that this documentary turned out to be not much more than an infomercial for the Moonlight Bunny Ranch. We hear a bit too much from the owner guy. We don’t learn much about the women and what transpired for them to end up having sex for money. It was nice to see the inside of a place I’ll never visit, but it was a bit too soft-handed.

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2002

December 11, 2002

Camera 7

USA

English

116 minutes

Very entertaining documentary about The Funk Brothers, who were the group that played the instruments while the famous singers performed their Motown hits. These guys grew to be something of a family of black and white, sober and drunk, violent and peaceful. The documentary is edited with new live footage with current artists performing well-known songs. Chaka Khan, Bootsie Collins, Ben Harper, and there was an incredible performance by Joan Osborne singing “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted” which I am still reeling from. Also added were recreations of things that happened while the old guys remember. There are actors that play the guys when they were younger. At the end, we see a list of the songs that these guys played on and it really is mind-boggling. If you like music of any kind and the creative process behind it, you owe it to yourself to head out and see this most enjoyable movie.

7.7 Critical Consensus

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2002

December 6, 2002

Camera 7

USA

English

99 minutes

There Are Some Places Man Is Not Ready To Go–Solaris.

How Far Will You Go For A Second Chance?–Solaris.

George Clooney is a shrink who is sent up to a space station to investigate something weird that’s going on. Something happens to me while watching quiet space movies. Maybe because the hum of the engine sounds like the wave machine I use to help me sleep. I know that 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY is probably a top ten film of all time, but I have never gotten through it without falling asleep. Doesn’t matter how much coffee I’ve had or what time of day or if it’s on video or on the big screen. I fall asleep. So on a Friday afternoon, for the first time in probably a decade, I fell all the way asleep watching this. The performances were good, the story intriguing and romantic, but I couldn’t help dozing. I am unqualified to say if it was a good film or not. I think it probably was.

7.0 Critical Consensus

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(THE CRIME OF FATHER AMARO)

2002

December 4, 2002

Camera One

Mexico / Spain / Argentina / France

Spanish

Lead Us Not Into Temptation–EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO.

Laughably one-sided story about the Catholic Church’s effect on a small Mexican town. The new, hot priest (Father Amaro) comes to town and Catholic Dream Girl Amelia is immediately smitten with him. She is young Catholic fantasy personified with her long brown hair, conservative headband, big brown eyes, and short sundresses. The priest doesn’t stand a chance.

Everyone connected with the Church is a monster. The Bishop takes bribes, the head of the parish is buddy-buddy with a drug lord, Amaro is bonking a young parishioner, the most religious woman is seen as a nut who feed her wafers to a sick cat. The only good Catholic is Father Natalio who lives and builds with peasants up in the mountains. We know he’s a good guy because he looks like Jesus and doesn’t fall for the power trip the rest of the Church seems to crave.

Predictable, slow, and ridiculous. And I am no fan of the Catholic Church. If they had kept their mouth shut, this film would have gotten the little attention it deserved. As it stands now, it’s the highest grossing film in Mexican history, beating such better selections as Amores Perros and a film that really was pioneering, Y Tu Mama Tambien. Interesting that all three of these films starred Gael Garcia Bernal as the sexy young out-of-control boy-man.

The saving grace of this film is that Amelia, who is played by someone named Ana Claudia Talancon, is so incredibly beautiful that you can forget the plot whenever her big brown eyes reflect the light. She’s got a Jennifer Connelly vibe. The sex scenes are pretty hot, what with the guy’s priest collar and Amelia’s perfectly white underwear.

Without the two hotties, we’d have nothing here. Incredibly disappointing.

5.8 Critical Consensus

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2002

November 29, 2002

Century 22

UK / USA

English / Korean

I simply do not have the genetic makeup to enjoy James Bond films anymore. The nearly full-house I saw this with loved every minute of it. They loved the cheesy chases, the sexual innuendo, the bad guy posing, the gadgets. I expect more from film now, I guess. When I was a kid, James Bond films were exciting in all kinds of ways. Nearly naked women, cool guys, stuff blowing up. Now I sort of want my two hours back. The one bright spot was Halle Berry being a self-sufficient hottie who really doesn’t require Bond’s help until the very end. Madonna’s appearance ground the film to a halt. I guess I’m done with Bond. They don’t need my 8 bucks anyway.

5.6 Critical Consensus

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2002

November 27, 2002

Camera 7

USA / Canada

English

Prepare To Be Seduced–Frida.

Should have been titled “Rivera (and Frida too)” as Diego Rivera takes up at least as much screen time as Frida does.

–>Ashley Judd is at the top of my ‘list’ but her attempt at a Mexican accent was terrible. Ditto for Geoffrey Rush’s Russian.

–>Frida needed male feedback to measure her self-worth. Father, Boyfriend, Diego, Russian guy, etc.

–>We don’t see much of her artwork and therefore can’t judge for ourselves if she’s the genius we are told she is.

–>The director, Julie Taymor is a visual stylist with her own vision. She incorporates stop-motion puppets and collage work to move the story along. This is done very well.

–>Salma may be a bit too beautiful to be Frida.

–>Nice bi-sexual nonchalance. No big deal.

–>It was a long two hours.

6.7 Critical Consensus

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Written by Michael W. Cummins