Daily Archives: October 28, 2005

Where The Truth Lies

Though he doesn’t qualify as a minimalist, Atom Egoyan tends to score when his obsessions are most concentrated (Calendar, Exotica) or, failing that, when his source material seems amenable to him (The Sweet Hereafter). Adapting a Rupert Holmes novel about the dirty secrets of an American showbiz team, loosely based on Martin and Lewis and humorlessly played by Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon, Egoyan seems both out of his element and out of control, and the results are unsatisfying and gratuitously unpleasant. Alison Lohman isn’t very convincing as the reporter who’s trying to dredge up some dirt on the entertainers, and the elaborate flashback structure can’t hide the fact that the story never fully comes to life. 107 min. (JR) Read more


This 2002 drama about a hip-hop gangsta (Richard T. Jones) settling in the Hamptons was inspired by The Great Gatsby, though the filmmakers have ignored its style and narrative point-of-view, updated the action by 80 years, made all the major characters black, and drastically changed the ending. Seems like a dopey idea to me, but if you aren’t familiar with the Fitzgerald novel, you may enjoy this; at least Jones and his costars (Blair Underwood, Chenoa Maxwell, Andre Royo) play the story as if they believed in it. Christopher Scott Cherot directed. R, 96 min. (JR) Read more

Unseen Cinema

Writing in the New York Times, Dave Kehr called Bruce Posner’s 19-hour box set, Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941, one of the major monuments of the DVD medium. Yet one peculiarity of this medium is that its monuments are easily overlooked, and this 89-minute program offers a rare chance to sample Posner’s uncommon discoveries and rediscoveries on a big screen. The films in this batch will include Kinetoscopes, mutoscopes, and films by Edison Studios and American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, Fernand Leger and Dudley Murphy’s Ballet Mechanique (in a version including the original music score and some color shots), Case-Sponable Sound Tests by Theodore Case and E.I. Sponable, J.S. Watson Jr. and Alec Wilder’s Tomato Is Another Day, and Ralph Steiner’s H2O. (JR) Read more


David (Bryan Greenberg) is a 23-year-old Jewish painter and Rafi (Uma Thurman) a 37-year-old WASP divorcee, so when these New Yorkers become a couple, everyone’s a bit surprised. But no one’s more confused than Rafi’s therapist (Meryl Streep), who turns out to be David’s mother and whose progressive ideas don’t extend to her son. Writer-director Ben Younger (Boiler Room) handles the actors with a light hand, but the real revelation here is Streep, who spends every moment comically negotiating her conflicted impulses. PG-13, 105 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, City North 14, Crown Village 18, Gardens 7-13, Lake, Norridge, 600 N. Michigan, 3 Penny, Village, Wilmette. Read more