Film Openings

Week of July 30, 2003

American Wedding. Jesse Dylan. In the third installment of the American Pie series, Jim and Michelle wed and their families and friends gather. Opens Friday, August 1, at multiple locations. NR

Cremaster 3. Gary Gilmore (played by a waifish girl) is rescued from subterranean muck, taken to the lobby of the Chrysler Building and placed in the backseat of a Chrysler Imperial New Yorker, which, for the next hour and a half, is demolished by five other Chryslers. A workman fills an elevator with cement, while a group of men have a meeting...and a bartender breaks things...and a woman with prosthetic legs cuts potato wedges. Cremaster 3 is the final installment of Matthew Barney's five-part Cremaster cycle -- which the New York artist has been filming and releasing out of order for a decade. Like its predecessors, the film has inklings of a story, but they are buried deep within Barney's procession of striking if often incomprehensible images. This may all sound like utter, egregious bullshit, but for reasons that are hard to pin down, it simply... works. In terms of conventional narrative expectations, David Lynch's Eraserhead would represent the midpoint between the Cremaster series and the Lethal Weapon series. Screens Friday-Sunday, August 1-3, and on Thursday, August 7, at the Tivoli. The rest of the Cremaster cycle is also scheduled: Cremaster 1 & 2 screen on Monday-Tuesday, August 4-5; Cremaster 4 & 5 screen on Wednesday, August 6. (Andy Klein)

Gigli. Martin Brest. So how bad, in the final analysis, is Gigli? The best that can be said about it here is that it doesn't beat out The Ladies Man as the most abrasively awful film of the past five years, though whoever chose to greenlight a film about a mobster babysitting a retarded youngster who helps him to "convert" a lesbian really should be fired. For a few minutes, at least, things don't look so bad. Watching Ben Affleck swagger around as the thuggish Larry Gigli is amusing for a bit. Affleck's eminently qualified for the role, actually -- that of a low-level hood pretending to be more important and talented than he actually is. The laughs may not be of the intentional kind, but we'll take what we can get. Then Justin Bartha shows up as the unconvincingly mentally handicapped kid, followed soon thereafter by J. Lo, who's not credible as a tough crook. After a long build up, the worst sex scene ever ensues. Leave before then. Now showing at multiple locations. (Luke Y. Thompson)

I Capture the Castle. Tim Fywell. Opens Friday, August 1, at the Plaza Frontenac. Reviewed this issue.

The Legend of Suriyothai. Chatrichalerm Yukol. Opens Friday, August 1, at the Plaza Frontenac. Reviewed this issue.

Northfork. Michael Polish. There's magic in Northfork -- the movie, by twin brothers Mark and Michael Polish, and the Montana town soon to be drowned by the opening of a dam. It's a beguiling and bittersweet fantasy set in a netherworld where the living and dead meet on their sojourns to the same place -- be it heaven or maybe just California. It's 1955, and what remains of the town of Northfork, Montana, is either holding its ground or heading for higher ground -- or, in the case of four strangers, floating a few inches above it. They're a band of eccentric angels looking for a lost relative, who may be a dying child named Irwin (Duel Farnes, a remarkable newcomer). At a time when children are being force-fed Happy Meals masquerading as movies, here's the antidote: a fairy tale about a brave child trapped in a fragile body who is not at all afraid of what lies ahead -- or above. Opens Friday, August 1, at the Tivoli. (Robert Wilonsky)

 
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