Super, Thanks for Asking

Jan 23, 2008 at 4:00 am

Confessions of a Superhero (Arts Alliance)
As one of those quoted on the package ("A more beautiful documentary you're unlikely to find"), I can only reiterate my earlier praise: Matt Ogens' doc, about mortals dressed as superheroes trolling Hollywood Boulevard for tourists' loose change, is stunning to look at — the proverbial visual feast, best seen on home video if only for access to the "pause" button, which allows for lingering admiration. But the tale's as terrific as the telling: Ogens finds four folks — dolled up as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Hulk — who moved to L.A., only to discover that beggars can't be choosers on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Less hilarious than heartbreaking, the "heroes" demand your sympathy: The Hulk is occasionally homeless, Wonder Woman's stuck in a bad marriage, Batman's a mess, and Superman . . . well, he just thinks he's the son of Sandy Dennis. — Robert Wilonsky

The Hunting Party (Weinstein)
Sadly overlooked during those best-of-'07 recaps, Richard Shepard's darkly comic feature about war-torn journalists heading back to the killing fields of Bosnia and Serbia was a smart, cynical thriller. Richard Gere, disheveled and disgraced, is the TV-news whore hunting for a war criminal everyone says they want, but aren't actually looking for. Terrence Howard is along for the ride as Gere's cameraman-sidekick on a sabbatical, along with peach-fuzz-faced Jesse Eisenberg as the son of a somebody. Shepard smartly adapts Scott Anderson's Esquire article about war correspondents on summer vacation — it's practically Three Kings set in Eastern Europe. Among the bonuses: Anderson's original story and an interview with the journalist, scant deleted scenes not worth the look-see, and a well-done making-of. — Wilonsky

Adrift in Manhattan (Screen Media)
There are so many problems with New York — overpriced apartments, crowded subways, bum dung — that it seems overkill to burden the characters of this movie with such trifles as the death of a child, blindness, and a disintegrating marriage with a lesser Baldwin. Oh yes, this is one humdinger of a bummer, complete with long takes of urban ugliness inserted between tragedies. Central among the intertwining stories is a grieving Heather Graham, who has lost the son she bore to William Baldwin and is now being stalked by a young photographer. It feels a little cheap to use the boy's death to explain Graham's big blue, mopey eyes or to justify a steamy sex scene that earns Adrift its unrated status. And don't get your hopes up: Even the sex is kinda creepy and sad. — Jordan Harper

Sex and Breakfast (First Look)
Here's a talky sex comedy/drama about three people and a slug-lipped hobgoblin — no wait, that's Macaulay Culkin! — who give group sex a go. It's better acted than it is written and better written than it is directed. And it needs more sex; there are more indie-folk montages here than uglies getting bumped. Eliza Dushku stands out as half of a bored couple. She transmits a lot of emotion in a mere glance, and the film's endless close-ups provide time for plenty of those. Culkin too is a fine actor, but brother, is he strange-looking. There are worthwhile moments (particularly funny is a ménage à trois gone wrong, thanks to some strong weed), though Dushku's boredom is understandable: If these people ever did anything besides focus on themselves, maybe they wouldn't have such trouble in the sack. — Harper