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[whitespace] By Richard von Busack

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Plays citywide

It's not just dumbo outrage, it's the spirits of Lenny Bruce and Frank Zappa risen. Directors Trey Parker and Matt Stone couldn't have picked a better time to saber parent pressure groups than now, during the post-Littleton hysteria about negative media influences. As seen in their 1994 picture, Cannibal! The Musical, Parker and Stone honor the classic musical-comedy form. I mean the Rodgers-and-Hammerstein story-telling musical, in which tunes have different tempos and moods and meanings ... not the anemic Lloyd-Webber/Disney brand, in which each song is a squirt of audio Glade. It's a first-rate musical, but South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut is also a timely satire of panicky parents and military adventurism. This film is a brave reminder that America was founded on intellectual liberty, not the hypothetical purity of hypothetical children.

Young and Dangerous: Asian American Cinema on the Edge 1.0
Plays July 23-29 at the Lumiere.

An assortment of films by young first-generation Asian Americans, including Bastards, Loc Do's film, made for $80,000 and shot in Monterey Park, about half-Vietnamese kids coming to America and being pulled down into drugs and crime; Flow, by Quentin Lee, a Gaysian quintet of family tales, fantasy and autobiography; Bao, by William D. Mar and Johnny Joo, about the troubled relationship between a gambling father and his boxing son; and American Dreams, an omnibus set of two films by Spender Nakasako: his breakthrough video A.K.A. Don Bonus, about a Cambodian-born youth living in the Bayview projects, and his newer film, Kelly Loves Tony.

Late August, Early September
Opens July 23 at the Lumiere

An aging writer named Adrien (Francois Cluzet) faces his impending death; his friends handle the tragedy as well as they might. The friends in this French import include Adrien's soon-to-be-ex (Jenny Balibar) and his new lover, Anne (Virginie Ledoyen). Director Olivier Assayas previously directed the unusual Maggie Cheung in Paris film Irma Vep. He discussed the ideals of the best of French cinema, compromised by the same blockbuster mentality that's chimped-down the American movies. (And he satirized fans who like Hong Kong action movies and only Hong Kong action movies.) Despite his pessimism, Assayas is a humorous director, with a wise, darting eye; the intoxicating dinner-party scenes in Irma Vep suggest good possibilities for this new one.

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From the July 19, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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