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Kino Korner November 13, 2004
 
Kino Korner
By Alex Shifrin Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 2
 
The Lowdown: Thunderbirds meets South Park: The Movie.

Best Bit: Hans Blix comes to Pyongyang to inspect for WMDs, and Kim Jong Il (who calls him "Hans Brix") is very unhappy.

Starring: The voices of Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

Rating:: 5/5

Playing: Garbushka.

Team America: World Police

Mars

What They Say: Stranded overnight in a small regional Russian town called Mars (Marks [Marx] in Russian, with the letter "k" having dropped off the sign some time ago -- get it?), Kutsenko must weed through the town's lonely female population, before the next train to Moscow departs.

What We Say: Paint by numbers symbolism cleverly disguised as high-brow French influenced cinema. Brutish male boxer falls for intellectual female librarian, and a host of quirky, contrast laden events ensue. This is the type of film that would have reviewers clamoring to use words like "delightful" and "joyous," as well as "European." The Moscow Times flaccid reviewer was unable to say, with any conviction, whether he did or did not like the film. It was one of those reviews that strove to sound intelligent, yet remained non-committal. Perhaps inadvertently, the quintessential devushka heart of this movie was expressed by lead actress/librarian Kiknadze, who never walked, but seemed to float, fly, be carried or driven. The one time she had to cross a bridge on foot, her ordeal was highlighted by having her count each step.

The Lowdown: Fellini meets Jerry Lewis.

Best Bit: The little racist joke towards the end, in which a very black African man is the punch-line to a joke building up throughout the movie, ensuring that this film will never receive a screening at Cannes, Venice or anywhere in the politically correct world.

Starring: Gosha Kutsenko, Artur Smolyaninov, Nana Kiknadze, Nadia Kamenkovich.

Rating:: 2/5

Playing: Russian cinemas.

Ladder 49

What They Say: John Travolta, Joaquin Phoenix, and a cast of others whose names resemble a prank telephone call (Balthazar Ghetty, Morris Chestnut), team up to depict the Christian family side of firefighters. With Phoenix trapped in a towering inferno, we're left to watch 90 minutes of Phoenix's coming of age flashback under the mentorship of Travolta, all the while asking ourselves, will he be rescued in time?

What We Say: We're surprised it took three years for someone to make a post 9/11 firefighter film. In what appeared to be an effort to draw parallels between the Christian American and Muslim Middle Eastern nature of the 2001 attacks, the producers went out of their way to stress Catholicism as an encompassing way of life for US firefighters. The relentless, non-stop Irish Catholic themes would make a retarded slug stand up and scream "Yes, we get it!" We had no idea that all firefighters sport Ron Jeremy porno moustaches.

The Lowdown: Backdraft meets The Waltons.

Best Bit: Phoenix tears through a brick wall.

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Jacinda Barrett, Robert Patrick, Balthazar Ghetty, Morris Chestnut.

Rating:: 3/5

Playing: American House of Cinema

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