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Week of October 8, 2003

84 Charlie MoPic. Patrick Sheane Duncan. Focusing on the day-to-day experiences of an Army patrol, 84 Charlie MoPic has on its side the novelty of simplicity, especially when compared to the grand ambitions of the Vietnam films of Coppola, Cimino, Stone and Kubrick. Patrick Duncan's script takes pride in the ordinary details of combat duty, looking not for moral or mythic parallels but for simple humanity. Unfortunately, that same sense of modesty pushes the film into moments of anachronistic psychobabble and cliché (there instances when you might think that Duncan's characters speak solely in jargon learned from talking G.I. Joe dolls, and didn't soldiers in Vietnam know any good jokes?) and the film's most notable conceit -- it's shot entirely in verité style by a member of the Army's titular film division -- is more a nuisance than an interesting narrative device. A likable but minor entry into the Vietnam film stakes (and whoever wanted a film about Vietnam to be likable?), 84 Charlie MoPic gives us war in mild, if not entirely bland, homilies (Duncan would go on to write Mr. Holland's Opus) when it badly needs a dose of the roughneck surrealism of a Sam Fuller. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 14, in the Lewis Room of the Fontbonne University Library. (Robert Hunt)

Homecoming. Webster University's second annual alumni film festival features the screening of many works, including film shorts by Aaron Crozier, Mark Errante and Paul Knubley; music videos by Chris Guerrero, Peter Engelsman and Ben Burke; and documentary films by Bill Davis, Lee Ann Nelson and Evan Hahl. Films will screen at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12, in the Moore Auditorium, 470 East Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7483 for ticket prices and more information. NR

 
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