And Now . . . Ladies and Gentleman, and More

Plus Lawless Heart, Stoked, and The Other Side of the Bed.


Opens Fri., Aug. 29, at Seven Gables Have you ever had the delicious experience of waking just enough that your dream's fragile bubble doesn't pop, and for a few seconds you can languidly nudge the oneiric narrative along into semi- logical, altogether pleasant wish- fulfillment fantasy? That's what veteran French director Claude Lelouch does for the utterly self-indulgent two hours of his biggest movie since the 1966 hit A Man and a Woman. Wizened debonair wimp Jeremy Irons plays a champion London yachtsman/master of disguise/ effortless thief of jewels and beauties' hearts, but the man has glamorous problems. So does the Paris jazz singer played by Patricia Kaas (an actual Paris jazz singer who should keep her night job). Both have love trouble, memory loss, and blackouts that cause them to relocate to Morocco, where they share a brain doctor and a wispy, sexless romance. As scenic subplots lazily proliferate like frost tendrils on a windowpane, it becomes clear that the cast and director were more concerned with having fun in exotic climes than in producing pleasure for the audience. But if you let your brain turn to mush along with them, it really is kind of fun to go along for the slow, smooth-jazz ride to everywhere and nowhere. It's sort of like tuning into the dreams of a young Alan Rudolph aimlessly dozing in an opium den: Call it Wooze Me. (PG-13) TIM APPELO LAWLESS HEART

Runs Fri., Aug. 29-Thurs. Sept. 4, at Varsity Every year, you're going to see at least one "one-story-told-from-many-points-of-view" movie, and Heart is the 2003 iteration of same. In this sober look at muddled yearnings, we first meet three related members of one English clan: a vaguely dissatisfied family man; the grief-stricken gay partner of his dead brother-in-law; and the family's returning ne'er-do-well. Then we watch them work their way through petty squabbles and suffer to find meaning in their lives. Each third of the movie is seen through the eyes of one character. While the gimmick is nothing new, Heart isn't going for flash. Not much more than an accomplished BBC offering, its focus on quiet, unsettled heartbreak shows admirable subtlety. The three stories' varied twists also display the kind of compassionate idiosyncrasies lacking in similar American counterpartsas when the bereaved gay partner's frustrated sexual tussle with a female friend passes without overblown comment. (R) STEVE WIECKING THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BED

Runs Fri., Aug. 29Thurs., Sept. 11, at Uptown Frothy, silly, giddy, and ultimately annoying for all those reasons, this scatterbrained Spanish musical begins a four-title fall Sundance Film Series of overlooked and supposedly worthwhile indie cinema. Well, Bed has been overlooked for all the right reasons. Like a broad pastiche of Friends, early Almod�, and Woody's similar flop-musical Everyone Says I Love You, the movie uses its frantic cuteness like a club, bludgeoning the audience with an attractive cast's wacky sexual confusion about who's partnering with whom. Javier starts out with Sonia and Pedro with Paula, and practically everyone subsequently sleeps with everyone elsebut, hey, not in a faggy sort of way! It's a foregone conclusion that this uninspired reworking of La Ronde will circle back to the start, which might've been OK if the farce were faster, the sex hotter, and the music better. Instead, the awful, syrupy Europop is like airport Muzak, and the choreography makes one feel nostalgic for Footloose. Basta, already. (R) BRIAN MILLER STOKED: THE RISE AND FALL OF GATOR

Runs Fri., Aug. 29-Thurs. Sept. 4, at Varsity Like the cheaper, darker flip side of the skateboard doc Dogtown and Z-Boys, this nonfiction account of '80s pool-riding icon Mark "Gator" Rogowski travels back to long-lost, easily ridiculed times. INXS, Vision Street Wear, multiple Swatch watches, and Downtown Julie Brown add up to an overlong MTV-era flashback that will leave some viewers squirming. Alternating between audio interviews with Gator in prison (the reason for which is gradually revealed), some eye-popping period skating footage, and contemporary testimonials, Stoked pads its slim and unsurprising true-crime tale with a lot of Day-Glo filler. Among Gator's skate-world peers, Tony Hawk's comments are unilluminating, Jason Jessee's hilarious (in a Spicoli sort of way), and Dogtown director Stacy Peralta's the smartest of the batch. He compares Gator to a studio actor typecast in one genre (pool or "vert" riding) and unable to make the transition to the '90s street style. As such, Stoked is like an inside- Hollywood expos頯f a C-list wanna-be who never was. (NR) B.R.M. THIRTEEN

Opens Fri., Aug. 29, at Egyptian and others Risky Business would've been my favorite movie ever if I'd seen it at 13, and Thirteen will surely be a great many female teens' lifetime fave. Though plot-impaired, it tells the only story every seventh-grader really cares about: the heart-in-your-throat plunge from childhood into the hormone bonfire of the teenage vanities. Tracy (the magnetic Evan Rachel Wood) starts out as a dewy dweeb with what I'm told are bad clothes, teddy bears, and a bent for sensitive poetry. Single mom Melanie (Holly Hunter) doesn't know how she lucked out: She's an ex-addict with minimal home-and-marriage-making skills. Then Tracy meets evil Evie (co-writer Nikki Reed, now 15), the cutest, coolest, meanest, craziest girl in school. Out with the good heir, in with the bad! On to Melrose shoplifting, ecstasy, piercings, three-ways, and hootchie tops that cunningly double as skirts. It's not a plodding cautionary tale like Rebel Without a Causemore like Natalie Wood's real-life teen orgy during that shoot. The traumas are as familiar as the MTV mise-en-sc讥 provided by Catherine Hardwicke, an art director (Laurel Canyon) making her debut behind the camera (see interview, p. 99). What distinguishes this cinematic adolescence is its paranoid awareness of cruel junior-high hierarchies, the way girls form a circle expressly to exclude someone and cast her into the deepest circle of social hell. Drugs, clothes, and boys are just toysit's the danger of a mindfuck by her fellow girls that a girl really has to worry about. (R) T.A.

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow