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Take a Chance

Lola is an art film featuring, yes, a wig, and a dollop of lesbianism. It moves at a much slower pace, however, than its musical correlative by the Kinks. Lola (doe-eyed Sabrina Grdevich), endures a loveless marriage rather too stoically, until she pulls Sandra (Joanna Going) out of harm's way at a busy city intersection. Sandra, in a Carol Channing-ish blonde wig, lives life at the edge of lawlessness. When Sandra's unpaid bills catch up with her in the form of an alleyway thug, however, Lola adopts Sandra's wig and identity, leaving her old life far behind. Canadian director Carl Bessai tries to ride this story of the search for identity into introspection, but the audience never really knows what Lola is thinking--and this, since it's her ex-husband's complaint against her, is off-putting. Visually, Lola is often very beautiful, but in the end, the viewer may be left with more sympathy for the wig than the characters. 97 min. --TV
(Feb 22, 9:30pm, AMC; Feb. 23, 2:30pm, AMC; Feb. 24, 5pm, AMC.)

A shot-in--Willow Glen short film, written and produced by Michael Andres and directed by Max Knies (son of Metro editor Corinne Asturias). It's about the comeuppance of Mr. Travail, an unsympathetic boy's vice principal, and Adrian, the student he pushes to the brink. For student work, it's technically very competent, and unlike a lot of student work, it's about something: the tension between father and son, the pressure on students to excel and the way the pat phrase "You could do anything you want if you put your mind to it" is here turned back on the school administrator who uses that platitude the most. The rhythms and acting are sometimes rough, but the downbeat open ending shows this short at the top ranks of its class. --RvB
(Feb. 23, 8:30pm, C3; Feb. 27, 6:45pm, C1.)

A wealthy young man falls for a grifting beauty and finds himself stripped of his money and his manhood in divorce court. He spends the rest of the film seeking retribution, only to learn that revenge is bittersweet at best. The story veers into black-comedy territory, but the tone remains curiously serious--are we supposed to root for this Enron-dumb capitalist and his callow attorney? At least the gold digger knows what she wants out of life. Only a bedside visit from an older-generation hit man gives the film any grace. 80 min. Shows with Kidschool. --MSG
(Feb. 23, 8:30pm, C3; Feb. 27, 6:45pm, C1.)

Get a Way
Didier (Maxine Desmons) is a drifting post-adolescent whose only visible means of support is a pickup job towing thrill-loving rollerbladers from the back of his van. Anne (Agnes Roland) is a kooky, free-spirited girl who has just blown off her final exams and dropped out of school. Together, the two pals fix each other's communication problems with their respective families. Lovely Parisian locations and the likably impetuous Roland, a real find, make up for the tendency toward after-school specialdom in the storytelling and the acting. Like a lot of shot-on-digital films I've seen, Noah Nuer's movie would have to be baked twice as long to officially count as half-baked. 88 min. --RvB
(Feb. 22, 7pm, C1; Feb. 24, 11:15 am, C1; March 1, 4:45pm, C3.)

Proceed With Caution

The Rhino Brothers
A hockey film, but more like Youngblood than Slap Shot. Gabrielle Rose plays the pushy mother of a failed puck-pushing dynasty. The brothers reunite in a beer league when a scout from a Kentucky semipro team gives the talented one, Stefan, a second look. Stefan's heart isn't in it, or is it? The story line about following your heart would make this decent family viewing, but director Dwayne Beaver deferred to hockey's palooka mentality with gratuitous swearing, bloody sticking and copious drinking. Rhino Brothers makes for arduous viewing at best, filled with those eye-rolling, off-the-cob "If you quit now, you'll never be anything!" moments, especially in light of the recent crazy hockey-dad trial. Shows with Papal Cab. 91 min. --TI
(Feb. 22, 6pm, C3; Feb. 24, 3:45, C3.)

Looking Through Lillian
The good news is that Jake Torem's film is technically proficient and scoots along. Sam Bottoms is not only authoritative as a bilious businessman, but also bravely exposes himself to a lot of onscreen kink. The bad news is that this story of a sex worker is none too authentic. Star/co-writer Jade Henham plays Lillian, a woman kept by a regular john she knows as "Gene" (Bottoms). At a bar, she finds a poet named Luke (Robert Glen Keith). Luke is supposed to be a poet in the school of Charles Bukowski, yet he supposedly needs to be protected from Lillian's dire secret: on their dates, she dresses up Gene like a woman and occasionally plays bend-over-boyfriend with him. Not only is this film a bizarre mixture of the cloying and the graphic, but it's also inexplicable: Why does Lillian keep so quiet about being in the "life"? Wasn't it the thing with Bukowski that he didn't mind that his love objects were hookers? 84 min. --RvB
(Feb 28, 7pm, AMC; Mar 1, 3pm, AMC; Mar 2, 9:15pm, AMC.)

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From the February 21-27, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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