"Ride for Your Life" is the third interactive movie created by Interfilm (now reorganizing and in the midst of a legal spat with Sony Corp.). These so-called movieGames are shown in theatres specially outfitted with three-button pistol grips that allow viewers to make plot choices at key decision points.
"Ride for Your Life" is about a race between two New York bike messengers, one of whom represents another planet that will take control of Earth if its side wins. (How winning the bike race allows the aliens to take over the world couldn't be explained at one screening even by an audience member who had already seen the program several times.) Adam West (TV's "Batman") plays the head of the alien front, a conglomerate called Big Corp.
So poorly done it lends a clunker like "Ghost" the illusion of depth, "Heaven's a Drag" boasts bad dialogue, a cliched story, unimaginative camera work and negligible acting. The script deserves particular bile, being at best an embroidery of platitudes and at worst a mockery of individuals in real pain. The plot follows the relationship of Mark and Simon, a gay couple in London. Mark has HIV and Simon doesn't, so they have an "open" relationship that allows Simon romantic interludes while Mark stays home to watch an AIDS quilt documentary over and over again. Mark dies; Simon lives. Mark returns as a ghost and becomes a pest. It's an allegory about letting a loved one go. There is weeping.Read more
Danis Tanovic's Oscar-winning debut, "No Man's Land," was filled with the political intrigue of two men -- a Bosnian and a Serb -- reluctantly sharing a trench in a time of war. "L'Enfer" is a compelling and complex thriller about women sharing a spiritual trench in a completely different kind of war. Based on Krzysztof Piesiewicz's screenplay (originally conceived for the late Polish director, Krzysztof Kieslowski) that's loosely inspired by the second part of Dante's "Inferno," "L'Enfer" follows the lives of three completely unhappy women. Sophie (Emmanuelle Beart) is a married woman who comes to believe her photographer husband is having an affair with one of his clients.Read more
Is there anything less funny or dramatic than a desperate standup comic tyring to be funny and dramatic? Unlike Rod Serling's trenchant 1957 "The Comedian," actor/writer/director/producer/editor Matt Mitler disastrously fails to perceive the causes and effects of show-business pressures. The so-called tragicomic downfall of an aspiring actor is rendered void in Mitler's hatefully obnoxious lead performance, superficial writing and vacuous direction.
But then everyone here is a moronic clown (except for a few female roles), spewing pathetic jokes and uncreative routines. Even the dangers of coke addiction are breezed over in favor of broad farce and nonexistent personal conflicts.
With "Rebels of the Neon God," his startling 1993 debut film about down and out youth in Taipei, Tsai Ming-liang showed signs of becoming one of the most significant Asian filmmakers of the 1990s. The Taiwanese director's second movie, however, is a classic case of one step forward, two steps back. It offers much evidence of Tsai's talent, but this movie somehow gets away from him.
"Vive L'Amour" focuses on an odd love triangle: May, a desperately lonely real estate saleswoman; Hsaio-kang, a gay man who sells space for people who want their cremated remains stored after their deaths; and Ah-jung, who sells women's clothes on the street. In almost wordless scenes, Tsai evocatively sketches a city that is barren, empty and cold.
Tete (Biel Duran) is a small boy who keeps falling down before he can reach the top of the traditional human pyramids in the Catalonia region of Spain. He feels neglected when his mother breastfeeds his newborn brother and decides to find a mammary for himself. After secretly seeing that body part of a French ballerina ("Becoming Collette's" Mathilda May), he becomes fixated. The ballerina is touring with her husband (Gerard Darmon), whose act involves breaking wind; she's also being followed by a lovesick teenage friend of Tete's.
"The Tit and the Moon" seems like two European movies that don't mesh. As in Luna's "Jamon Jamon," the lusty Spaniards are entertaining.
This peculiar but interesting combination of the bleak and sentimental is an atypical study of the typical elements of coming of age: small betrayals, erotic awakenings and the arrival of vocation. Directed by Aus- tralian filmmaker Ana Kokkinos, "Only the Brave" follows the unhappy days in the life of Alex, an intense-looking high school girl, through a tempestuous and tragic friendship with her friend Vicki; a stillborn lesbian relationship with her English teacher; and constant tormenting by her vicious classmates.
The style wants to be a bit too flashy to qualify as naturalistic, but it's certainly gritty, and "Only the Brave" takes place largely within a one-square-mile dump replete with rusted locomotives, empty warehouses and, almost incidentally, a high school.