Film Openings

Week of October 2, 2002

Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie. Mike Nawrocki. Jonah is one of the shortest books in the Bible; as such, it takes a fair bit of padding to make it a movie, even one in which the titular prophet is played by an English-accented asparagus with a monocle. On the plus side, the Old Testament's petulant prophet is one of the better scriptural sources for comedy (intentional, unlike some other Christian movies), especially when re-enacted by anthropomorphic legumes, tubers and the like, all of whom curiously lack limbs yet can pick up objects with ease. It's best not to think too hard about the logic of a world in which vegetables eat steak and seafood while whales eat vegetables. God's angels also resemble veggies -- isn't it man who's made in his image? The songs are amusing and catchy (the best one plays over the end of the closing credits), and whereas some anachronisms are off ("ALF is on in half an hour"), others are downright Monty Pythonesque (the sinful Ninevites like to hit each other with fishes). Opens October 4 at multiple locations. (LYT)

Moonlight Mile. Brad Silberling. Opens October 4 at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

Red Dragon. Brett Ratner. Opens October 4 at multiple locations. Reviewed this issue.

Secret Ballot. Babak Payami. In Farsi, with English subtitles, this newest Iranian import takes place on a remote and desolate island where two soldiers spend their days patrolling a barren strip of land, on the lookout for smugglers. Instead of smugglers, an election official arrives one day to give island residents an opportunity to vote in a national election. The soldier assigned to escort the agent is shocked and dismayed to find that the bureaucrat in question is a woman. The woman, on the other hand, is an idealist who believes that change will come if only people exercise their right to vote. Clearly a clash between the old guard and a new, more democratic outlook. Though lacking the emotional resonance and appeal of something like The White Balloon or the overt political criticism of The Circle, this Iranian film has a gentle humor and a sly but unmistakable optimism about what Iran might be like one day. Opens October 4 at the Tivoli. (JO)

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