That's a Wrap

Oh, man. Remember Nick Nolte? Wow. Seems like the last, best Nolte-centric image I’ve got in my head is that of embattled coach Pete Bell drop-punting a basketball into the stands, and thus offending Bobby Knight, in Blue Chips (an underrated film, and your one-stop ticket to Anfernee Hardaway in “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”). Anyway, he’s back now, as is ever-controversial director Victor Salva (the message boards for any Salva flick `Powder, Jeepers Creepers` will be happy to fill you in — and then some — if you’re curious) with Peaceful Warrior, wherein Nolte plays grizzled mentor Socrates (say it with me … “Soh-craytes!”) to college gymnast Dan Millman (Plano’s own Scott Mechlowicz, who’s recognizable from EuroTrip, but should be known for 2004’s Mean Creek). Apparently, the film sorta sucks, and Nolte’s a nutbag (review/interview, page 23). I still love the guy, though.

Brazilian bit Cidade Baixa (Lower City) concerns two close friends and business partners who meet a stripper (City of God’s Alice Braga, niece of “The Brazilian Bombshell,” Sonia Braga); both fall for her, and suffer the disintegration of their friendship shortly thereafter. Plus, they probably all have crazy sex-in-Portuguese with each other, and I’ll bet one of ’em dies or something. Lesson? You can pick your friends, and you can pick your strippers …

Speakin’ of people bedding their friends while speaking different languages, Les Poupées russes (Russian Dolls) is clever and imaginative in parts, but this multilingual sequel to the equally multilingual and sex-centered L’Auberge Espagnole eventually devolves into a draggy, ultimately inessential offering (review, page 24).

So, Super Troopers became a cult hit, Club Dread can claim a laugh or three but essentially represents the predictable “sophomore” slump (if you exclude Puddle Cruiser), and The Dukes of Hazzard didn’t count. So … Beerfest, anyone? I’ve gotta say, I’ve got some measure of faith. Not sure why, but hey — everyone deserves a thir … uh, four … uh … three-and-a-halfth chance, right?

In How to Eat Fried Worms, a 5th-grader accepts a dare that could unseat a class bully. Might well be the best flick opening this week. (But where’s my The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo?)

When a film advertises itself as being “From the studio `Disney` that brought you Remember the Titans and The Rookie,” I don’t really have to determine its merit for you, do I? You know if you’ll like it. Invincible = Marky-Mark-as-inspirational-football-underdog. Done. Oh, except for one “wild card” (oy): the always-entertaining Elizabeth Banks. Hmm …

Idlewild has got me both interested and terrified. On the one hand, sweet! A genre-bending hip-hop musical, à la Outkast. On the other hand, did you see André in Be Cool? For that matter, did you see Be Cool at all? (Anger.)

Happy Wednesday.

Local premiere dates for limited-release films are tentative and can change at the last minute. Please check your local theater listings to confirm showtimes. Special Screenings

Slab cinema: Son of Monte Cristo
Rowland V. Lee (1940)
This black-and-white swashbuckling sequel was nominated for an art-direction Oscar and stars Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, and (in a supporting role) Clayton “The Lone Ranger” Moore. Outdoor screening at La Tuna Bar and Grill. Thursday, August 24. Pre-show at dusk, feature at 9 p.m. Probandt and Cevallos. 212-9373. Admission by donation. Bring chairs, blankets, no coolers. Call ahead and order food to go from La Tuna Grill, 212-5727.

Films of the Mexican Golden Age
During the Houston Street Fair and Market on August 26, the Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture will screen two classic Mexican films inside the historic Alameda Theater: at 1 p.m., La Escondida (Roberto Gavaldón, 1956), featuring Maria Felix; at 4 p.m., Por Ellas Aunque Mal Paguen (Juan Bustillo Oro, 1952), featuring Silvia Pinal. Films will be presented by special guest Rogelio Agrasanchez Jr., author of Mexican Movies in the United States: A History of the Films, Theaters, and Audiences 1920-1960. Fair runs noon-6 p.m. Free admission. Bring chairs, pillows, blankets. 229-4300 or for more Fair events and information.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Park Chan-Wook (2005)
On Sunday, August 27, the Cinema Asia film club will be showing acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance at the Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes as part of its Asian Cinema Sundays; showings are at 7 and 10 p.m., with free Sapporo beer and giveaways. Cinema Asia hosts an Asian film on the last Sunday of every month at the Drafthouse. $5.50.

When the Levees Broke:
A Requiem in Four Acts
Spike Lee (2006)
One year after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, director Spike Lee presents a four-hour, four-part documentary chronicle recounting, through words and images, one of our country’s most profound natural disasters. All four acts air on the anniversary of Katrina, Tuesday, August 29, starting at 8 p.m. on HBO.
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