New reviews, small screen, and special screenings

Film screenings coming to movie theaters, television, and local film festivals

New reviews

When Will I Be Loved?
Dir. & writ. James Toback; feat. Neve Campbell, Dominic Chianese, Frederick Weller (R)

To echo Two Girls and a Guy, his 1997 study of sexual rivalry as a three-way chess game in which uncourtly queens can outlive kings, James Toback might have called his latest film Two Guys and a Girl. The girl in When Will I Be Loved? is Vera Barrie (Campbell), a pampered predator whose doting father gives her a choice Manhattan apartment. Her guy is Ford Welles (Weller), a scuzzy, restless hustler who eyes a chance to score with Count Tommaso (Chianese), a 69-year-old Italian mogul so smitten by Vera he would part with a fortune to satisfy his passion. In Toback's jagged improvisation on Indecent Proposal - accent on indecent - a guileful girl is marginally more sadistic and narcissistic than everyone else. Toback himself plays the only slightly appealing character - a goofy Columbia professor called Hassan al-Ibrahim ben Rabinowitz who blathers multicultural malarkey. During a chance encounter with Vera, the actress Lori Singer (played by Lori Singer) mentions her part in a new Woody Allen film, but the camera does not, alas, accompany her to that sunnier set. — Steven G. Kellman

Wreaking global corporate havoc, it's the Yes Men!
The Yes Men
Dir. Dan Ollman, Sarah Price, Chris Smith; feat. Michael Bonanno, Andy Bichlbaum (R)

The Yes Men documents the international exploits of two political pranksters who pose as corporate executives and officials of the World Trade Organization in order to expose global roguery. We follow Michael Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum as they pull off several stunts, including a loony presentation in Finland in which, posing as an expert economist, Bichlbaum models a leisure suit with built-in electronic devices that enable bosses to monitor their underpaid overseas workers. In Sydney, he announces that, because of human rights violations and its role in exacerbating misery, the WTO is being disbanded. But the most dramatic moment in the film comes when Bonanno, posing as a McDonald's executive, and Bichlbaum, pretending to represent the WTO, lecture at a college in upstate New York about a plan to feed the hungry by recycling human waste into hamburgers. Their audience is irate, but the audience for The Yes Men is likely to think twice about the responsibilities of corporation, but also about the ethics of identity theft, whether just for a laugh or for a just world. — Steven G. Kellman

Small screen

Lies, lies, and damn lies

Stolen Honor producer is making a career of unsubstantiated allegations

By Elaine Wolff

If the essence of a documentary is fact, then Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal, fails on its own criteria; if the essence of news is timeliness, then Sinclair Broadcasting has failed to make a case for ordering all 62 of its nationwide affiliates to preempt regularly scheduled broadcasting this Thursday and Friday to air the 43-minute allegation that Senator John Kerry is responsible for lengthening the imprisonment and torture of Vietnam prisoners of war.

Narrated by Vietnam vet Carlton Sherwood, who has made a name as an investigative journalist, Stolen Honor musters a baker's dozen of former Marine POWs whose collective emotional firepower is fierce. Their anger, all these decades later, over the stateside protests and stories of U.S. brutality appears sincere. Among the allegations and insinuations leveled at Kerry are that he "was saying things he knew to be false, and knew would harm us," and that the war protests - all of which are laid at Kerry's feet in this film - "encouraged the enemy to hang on." Kerry is even accused of treason, "meeting in Paris in secret with a top enemy diplomat."

Sherwood won a Pulitzer Prize (as a member of a team) in 1980 for investigating a Catholic scandal, so it's not overly optimistic to expect some evidence to back up these inflammatory claims. After all, when Kerry stood on the steps of the Capitol and sat in a Wisconsin conference room in the '70s, he had hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people standing with him. But Sherwood doesn't present one Vietnamese official to back up his arguments - and he could have tried thanks to Kerry and fellow Vietnam POW John McCain's work to normalize relations with the government in Ho Chi Min City. The entire film consists of emotional testimony from Sherwood's select group of POWs about how they feel Kerry impacted the war.

Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal
8pm Thu, Oct 21
KRRT Channel 35 (cable channel 7)
7pm Fri, Oct 22
KABB Channel 29 (cable channel 11)
Sherwood frequently undermines his own theses. Kerry was an opportunist, he tells us, whose late-in-the-game antics were a shrewd bid to launch a political career on the back of a popular movement. Nonetheless, Sherwood blames Kerry personally for the image of the Vietnam soldier popularized in Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, et al. Later we are told that the Winter Soldier Investigations - at which young soldiers testified to acts of brutality against civilians and a general U.S. policy of indiscriminate aggression - and the Washington protests at which thousands of vets threw their medals back at the government were the desperate publicity stunts of a dying cause. That's called wanting to have your cake and eat it, too.

Speaking of eating (crow), the inconsistent arguments pale in comparison to the inconsistent thinking behind Stolen Honor. During one of his many impassioned narratives, Sherwood decries the vets who testified to atrocities in-country as "men who had never set foot on the battlefield, or left the comfort of the states, or even served in uniform except in mock contempt of the military." I'm sorry; I thought this was a "documentary" about the Democratic presidential candidate. If Sherwood and his fellow vets' concern is, as they claim, that the protesters in general and Kerry in particular helped lose the war by siphoning off critical support, shouldn't some of their anger also be directed at able-bodied men who shirked their duty?

But perhaps this is the best we can expect from Sherwood, who also claims to have produced a definitive investigation of the Moonies while working for a paper controlled by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon - a book that Frontline segment producer Rory O'Connor reported was vetted by Moon's organization before it was published. This followed Sherwood's allegations that supporters of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial had misused funds; the television station where Sherwood worked retracted the story after a government audit found no evidence to support his claims. Sherwood may not hold the principles of investigative journalism in high esteem but it seems he takes the nickname of his former Marine regiment to heart: He remains a "Magnificent Bastard."

By Elaine Wolff

Special screenings

Beat the Devil
Dir. John Huston; writ. Truman Capote; feat. Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre (NR)

A Halloween-season movie in which the monsters are all human, this 1954 satire written by Truman Capote in which a batch of con men try to out-do each other in a race for uranium-rich land was directed by John Huston and stars suave bad buy Peter Lorre and that suave grumpy mensch Humphrey Bogart.

Beat the Devil screens at dusk Thursday, October 21 as part of the series "In the Public Domain" on the Slab across from La Tuna Icehouse, Probandt and Cevallos. Admission is free.

SexyWeen 2004

It's a ridiculous name but it sounds like a hot time in the old town. Created by El Mundo productions, who would like America to think of lust rather than lard when it thinks of SA, SexyWeen features a runway show, Mr. and Ms. Sexy 2004 awards, and three dance rooms: a ballroom, the Disco Inferno Room, and the Latin Motion Room. Local up-and-comers AVID, Jazzie Girl, R.G. Dean, and the Sirens will perform. What's more, you can enjoy your 15 minutes of fame - the show is being taped for TV and will air on Stuff TV Channel 50 on Halloween. Tickets are $10 prepaid, $15 at the door, and can be purchased by calling 227-8464.