Saturday, May 14, 2005

Quick Hits: Murderball, Boats, Dying Gaul & the Aristocrats

(Henry-Alex Rubin & Dana Adam Shapiro, US, 2005)


Inspired by Shapiro's Maxim article, Murderball is a lively, surprisingly funny, ultimately quite moving documentary about the burgeoning sport of quad rugby. To play "murderball," mobility-impaired athletes use customized wheelchairs on a basketball court. At 86 minutes, the film seems short, but the directors don't waste any time.

The US team competes in Sweden and then at the Paralympic Games in Greece. Along the way, Rubin and Shapiro introduce Canada's fiery coach Joe Soares (a former US player, considered a traitor by many), most of the US team, and even prospective player Keith. To a man, they're likable, engaging fellows--and three
will be coming to Seattle, along with Rubin and Shapiro, to support the film: Scott Hogsett, Andy Cohn, and team captain Mark Zupan. Don't miss 'em.

Egyptian Theater: Fri., 5/27, 9:15PM and Mon., 5/30, 11:00AM.

(Ahmet Ulussay, Turkey, 2004)


The title of this rambling little picture refers to dreams not grounded in reality.
The action centers around talented, if impoverished teenager Recep, who works
at a watermelon stand, but dreams of running a theater with his pal Mehmet,
while nursing a crush on the beautiful Nihal. I've only seen a few Turkish films in
my time, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Distant being the most recent. Boats isn't at that
lofty level, but it's an entirely different creature. For one thing, it's set in the
country, rather than the bustling city of Istanbul. It's also lighter in tone, but
Ulussay could've tightened things up a bit. Overall, it's entertaining, amusing-
even enlightening, but not as emotionally engaging as I would've liked.

Harvard Exit: Sat., 5/28, 11:00AM and Fri., 6/3, 7:15PM.

(Craig Lucas, US, 2005)


Adapted from his play, Lucas's debut gets off to a promising start and boasts a first-rate cast, but it's pretty chilly going (Steve Reich's score contributes to that effect).
The always-watchable Peter Sarsgaard, who'll be in town for the screening, plays
Robert, a gay screenwriter. While shopping a script based on the death of his
lover, Robert becomes entangled in the lives of studio executive Jeffrey (Campbell Scott), who agrees to buy it--if he'll make one significant change--and his wife,
Elaine (Patricia Clarkson). In short order, Jeffrey and Elaine fall for the screenwriter
...and chaos ensues. Lucas ably captures the day-to-day lives of spoiled Hollywood denizens, but I'd rather hang out with the movie-mad kids from Boats.

Egyptian: Sat., 5/21, 7:00PM (Gala) and Sun., 5/22, 1:30PM.

(Paul Provenza, US, 2005)


With an assist from Penn Jillette, Provenza explores what may be the dirtiest joke
in the world. The punchline goes like this: "What do you call your act?" Answer: "The Aristocrats." The joke? If you don't already know, you'll just have to watch the film
to find out. Several comedians compare it to a jazz standard in that everyone riffs
on it in their own way. Since it's the kind of bit comedians mostly share with other comedians, the approaches are pretty profane--some exceedingly, disgustingly so.
Participants include Drew Carey, George Carlin, Martin Mull, Paul Reiser, and Sarah Silverman. You may be surprised as to who tells the best and/or filthiest version, but potential candidates include Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried, and...Bob Saget.

Neptune Theater: Fri., May 20, MIDNIGHT.

Images from Reeling Reviews, Radford Reviews, The
Woodstock Film Festival
and The Mannheim Film Festival.

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