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Archive for June 7th, 2010

howl_franco
James Franco plays Allan Ginsberg in ‘Howl’ screened over the weekend at NYGLBT Festival

by Sam Juliano

    While oppressive heat and humidity has driven many indoors, others have fearlessly engaged in some outdoor passions and short day trips.  Meanwhile,  the world deals with ‘Love Boats’ (or is it ‘Hate Boats?) and a catastrophic oil spill that may well reach the shores of North Carolina, and some locales prefer to discuss umpire’s botched calls and ‘perfect games’ that would have been.  Here at Wonders in the Dark, the 2000’s countdown has reached the low 40’s, and a marathon venture that once seemed endless is now slowly winding down to the finish line.  Waiting in the wings, the horror poll chairpersons are preparing to launch the first of the site’s ‘genre’ polls sometime in late July or early August.

     Over the past week, I managed to see one critically-praised off-Broadway production at the Public Theatre in Manhattan, and five theatrical films in various locations.

     BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON is a raw and irreverent rock musical in ‘Wild West’ mode that in large measure redefines Andrew Jackson America’s 7th President, as an ’emo’ rock star and focuses on populism, the Indian Removal Act, and marital issues.  The red neon “flourescent”  look of the Public Theatre’s Newman Hall was a perfect deesign for the deliciously goofy comedy that went over-the-top in vulgar anti-Indian homor and some obvious caricatures of effeminate men.  The loud and rousing rock music, often delivered in send-up, pays homage to the emo band Dashboard Confessional, and it’s a hoot.  The superlative reviews this production has received have been well-earned.  (review to top Diary tonight)  I saw the musical on Wednesday night with Lucille and Broadway Bob at the Public Theatre.

    I saw the following films:

    Harry Brown  ****  (Friday night) Village East Cinemas

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead *** (Friday night) VEC

    Howl **** (Saturday night; NYGLBT Festival) 23rd St.

    The Adults in the Room * (Saturday night; NY GLBT Festival) 23rd St.

    Ondine *** 1/2  (Sunday afternoon) Landmark Cinemas

    Exit Through the Gift Shop *** 1/2 (Sunday afternoon) Landmark Cinemas (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 2009 150m) DVD1/2

Aka. A Prophet

A little water clears us of this deed

p  Lauranne Bourrachot, Marco Cherqui, Martine Cassinelli  d  Jacques Audiard  w  Thomas Bidegain, Jacques Audiard, Abdel Raouf Dafri, Nicolas Peufaillit  ph  Stéphane Fontaine  ed  Juliette Welfling  m  Alexandre Desplat  art  Michel Barthélemy 

Tahar Rahim (Malik El Djebena), Nils Arestrup (César Luciani), Adel Bencherif (Ryad), Hichem Yacoubi (Reyeb), Reda Kateb (Jordi), Jean-Philippe Ricci (Vettori), Gilles Cohen (Prof), Antoine Basler (Pilicci), Leila Bekhti (Djamila), Pierre Leccia (Sampierro), Foued Nassah (Antaro), Jean-Emmanuel Pagni (Santi),

There’s nothing like a good old prison film to depict male camaraderie, but this isn’t your average prison film.  The French have had their share of prison films, from classic POW dramas by Renoir and Bresson I needn’t name to Jacques Becker’s matchless exercise in understatement Le Trou.  In no film, however, not any of the above, not Losey’s The Criminal, or any one of the dozens of inferior riffs on the subject, quite gets over the very oxymoronic nature of the very term ‘correctional institution’.  Here the correction is not towards going straight, but towards turning petty and incompetent crooks into expert ones. 

            Case in point; take Malik El Djebena, a 19 year old Arab from the projects who is in for six years for assaulting a police officer.  Wanting just a quiet life, he’s coerced into committing a murder inside by the ruling Corsican Mafiosos, who want dead another Arab, Reyeb, who’s inside awaiting the opportunity to testify against the mob.  Malik kills Reyeb as requested and amazingly gets away unscathed, and is then taken under the wing of the chief of the Corsican clan, César Luciani.  Luciani arranges for him to be made porter in the cell block, getting him certain privileges, not least occasional 12 hour leave passes to the outside world, during which time Luciani expects him to work solely for him.  Malik meanwhile sees opportunities to do some work for himself and, finally, to turn double dealer, as his ambitions overcome his loyalties.  (more…)

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