Fresh screens and San Antonio film events
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
Dir. Mamoru Oshii; writ. Mamoru Oshii, based on the comic book by Masamune Shirow; feat. (voices) Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Kôichi Yamadera, Tamio Ôki, Yutaka Nakano, Naoto Takenaka (PG-13)
There is a perfect cinematic moment at the end of Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, that gracefully captures the big philosophical questions (about what it means to be human, natch) the director tries to address in this futuristic mob/sex industry mystery: Bateau, our mostly cyborg protagonist cuddles his purely canine Basset Hound and contemplates his
human partner's daughter as she cradles her new doll. The audience can relate to the look of shocked comprehension on Bateau's face because of the spare interaction - set against breathtaking anime backdrops of Japan circa 2032 - between Bateau and his human colleagues. No thanks to the long-winded hack philosophical mono-logues in which everyone from Milton to Confucius is quoted with abandon. The scenes comprised of nothing but music and wildly imaginitive anime are worth the wait, and fans of the series will appreciate Major Motoko's brief return. — Elaine Wolff
| Kyle MacLachlan takes a charming turn as the debonair Cary Grant, imaginary mentor to the closeted Indian Muslim Alim, in Touch of Pink.|
Touch of Pink
Dir. & writ. Ian Iqbal Rashid; feat. Jimi Mistry, Kyle MacLachlan, Kristen Holden-Reid, Sue Mathew (R)
The sumptuous nuptial feast of her nephew, a wealthy dentist, propels Nuru (Mathew), a Canadian-Indian Muslim, to London, to goad her own son into marrying. Though Alim (Mistry) tries to disguise his relationship with Giles (Holden-Reid), Nuru learns not to expect grandchildren. Like Wedding Banquet, Touch of Pink is a comedy of sexual manners in which pretending to be straight is the compliment that homosexuality pays to family hypocrisy. Despite its ethnic stereotypes, the film offers endearing performances and unexpected pleasures, such as Kyle MacLachlan as the ghost of Cary Grant, Alim's imaginary mentor. A festive Indian wedding is disrupted not by a monsoon but a swish of fresh air. — Steven G. Kellman
Dir. Richard Loncraine; writ. Adam Brooks, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin; feat. Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany, Kyle Hyde, Robert Lindsay, Celia Imrie, Penny Ryder, Annabel Leventon, Amanda Walker, James McEvoy (PG-13)
The most overdone sports-movie premise of all time is the one about the overmatched underdog defying all expectations. Off the top of your head, you can summon a long list: Rocky, Hoosiers, Major League, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, Rudy, The Mighty Ducks, The Bad News Bears,The Karate Kid, etc.
Think of Wimbledon as Rocky with rackets and a posh British accent. Aging tennis pro Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) approaches the last Wimbledon of his disappointing career before taking a job as a tennis instructor. There he meets bratty American tennis phenom Lizzie Bradbury, and not only do they fall in love, his moribund game suddenly acquires new life. Just to make sure there's a requisite amount of tension, we're given two major obstacles: Lizzie's disapproving, overprotective dad (Sam Neill) and a crass young racket stud (Austin Nichols) who bears a disconcerting resemblance to Justin Timberlake.
| Tennis superstar Lizzie Bradbury (Dunst) is just the medicine for almost has-been Peter Colt.|
Bettany's a freckled charmer who does the self-deprecating Englishman better than anyone this side of Hugh Grant, and without all that smarmy aftertaste. Dunst manages to make even her self-centered whiner appealing. With this movie's pat resolutions, the result is like watching a climactic match on tape delay: you already know where it's going, but you sort of enjoy getting there. — Gilbert Garcia
Best of '04 San Antonio Underground Film Festival
Featuring audience and critic favorites from the June SAUFF, Best of '04 will screen examples of comedy, animation, drama, 3-D, and documentary shorts. The King and Dick, The Trial of Jack, Highway Amazon, and the Grand Prize Winner Mojados: Through the Night, are among the selections.
Best of '04 San Antonio Underground Film Festival screens at 7:15pm Sunday, September 26 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Westlakes. For admission and additional information, call 977-9004.
Glen or Glenda?
Dir. & writ. Ed Wood Jr; feat. Wood, Bela Lugosi, Lyle Talbot, Timothy Farrell, Dolores Fuller, Tommy Haynes, Charles Crafts, Conrad Brooks (NR)
"He loved women so much, he dared to dress like one," was the official tagline for Ed Wood's most notorious film. A transvestite's suicide prompts a curious cop to learn more about this - at the time very underground - lifestyle.
Glen or Glenda? screens at dusk Thursday, September 23 as part of the series "In the Public Domain" on the Slab across from La Tuna Icehouse, Probandt and Cevallos. Admission is free.
We're taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the claim that, "Movie-oke is ... sure to surpass karaoke as the newest form of fun in San Antonio," but it does sound like an amusing diversion. Choose the dialogue you've reenacted in your mind hundreds of time - scenes from Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, Heathers, and hundreds more - and act them out in front of a live audience for $1/apiece. Prizes will be awarded. Take heart wallflowers: Alamo Drafthouse sells courage by the glass.
Movie-oke takes place 8:30pm Sunday, September 26 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas Westlake. Cost is $1 per reading. For more information, call 645-1373 or visit www.drafthouse.com.
Nomads and No-Zones
On Screen at ArtPace returns with four shorts by Greta Snider and six by Vanessa Renwick representative of the West Coast media underground. "Gritty, romantic, frank, and poetic, the films ... range in subject matter from freight hopping subculture to personal ruminations on loss," writes ArtPace, serving "as eloquent demonstrations of the power of introspection and the authenticity of marginal voices." This screening is part one of the series Just Add Pictures: Collage Essay Films and Videos, curated by San Antonio and Los Angeles-based filmmaker Jim Mendiola.
Nomads and No-Zones screens at 6:30pm Thursday, September 23 at ArtPace, 445 N. Main. Admission is free.
Nosotros los pobres
Dir. Ismael Rodríguez; writ. Rodríguez, Carlos González Dueña; feat. Pedro Infante, Evita Muñoz Chachita, Carmen Montejo, Blanca Estela Pavón (NR)
The misadventures of Pepe "El Toro" continue, as he tries to woo a beautiful woman amidst the sympathetic denizens of a Mexico City barrio but is falsely accused of a crime.
Nosotros los pobres screens at 4pm Sunday, September 26 and 7pm Wednesday, September 29 as part of the Instituto de México's "Mexican Cinema" series, at the Instituto, 600 Hemisfair. Admission is free.
Regal Cinemas "Cans" Film Festival
Bring three non-perishable food items to any participating Regal Entertainment Group theater on Tuesday, September 28 and receive one free admission, plus a free junior popcorn. "No pass" shows are ineligible. Participating theaters include Live Oak 18, Cielo Vista 18, Northwoods 14, Alamo Quarry 14, and Fiesta 16. All donated items will be given to the San Antonio Food Bank. Most needed food items include: peanut butter, cereal, tuna, canned soups and stews, and full meals in a can. For more info, contact the San Antonio Food Bank at 304-7529.