Films Review May


Even though they share the same theme, compared to “Dead Man on Campus,” “The Curve” is a classic. The difference between the dumb-dumb “Dead Man” and the smart and sassy “The Curve” is night and day.

“Dead Man” attempted to derive gallows humor from its setup, whereas “The Curve” tackles the same formula as a suspense-thriller, and that is where the money is. The set up is now a familiar one: Legend has it that if you college roommate commits suicide, you get complimentary straight A’s to help you through your grief. That’s what roommates Chris (Michael Vartan) and Tim (Matthew Lillard) need in order to get into the University of their choice. They decide to test the theory by killing off their abusive roommate Rand (Randall Batinkoff). A little rat poison in a bottle of booze, a steep cliff over looking the ocean, it all comes together so easy. Or does it? It’s not long before Tim is setting Chris up to take the fall, and Chris’ life starts to spin madly out of control. There are lots of twists and turns in this crafty thriller that is smart enough not to cater to just teenagers. You honestly care about the characters and their situations. The video is only available at Blockbuster Video Stores as part of exclusive agreement. (Blockbuster)


Trey Parker, half of the bad team that created “South Park,” stars in and directed this hilarious farce about a young Mormon preacher named Joe, whose mission to Los Angeles is filled with rejection. Joe (Parker) continues his mission, hoping to make enough money so that he can marry his girlfriend back home. When Joe knocks on the door of porn movie director Maxx Orbison (Michael Dean Jacobs), he winds up starring as the super hero in a porn movie. He doesn’t do the nasty (he has a stand-in for that), and Joe hopes that his costume and mask will guard his identity from his family and friends. The laughs come as Joe attempts to follow his conscience while trying to make a quick buck in the porn industry. Rated NC-17 (there’s also an unrated version on the market), “Orgazmo” is filled with every sort of raunchy humor, from verbal gags to sight gags that have to be seen to be believed. All of this would be offensive if it weren’t for the fact that the film is extremely entertaining and funny. Dian Bachar is hilarious as Joe’s sidekick, a pint-sized pervert. (Polygram)


Director Nick Hamm’s romantic drama finds Irish governess Mary Lavelle (Polly Walker) falling for the married son of her employer. Mary desperately loves Francisco (Vincent Perez), but finds that she must keep their romance a secret. It’s a delicate time for all concerned. Set in Spain, 1936, the civil war is ready to break out, turning boys into men, and lovers into soldiers or revolutionaries. Director Hamm does an excellent job of showing us a time and place that is on the brink of chaos. His characters, even though they seem stunted by his grand vision, say and do things that make you care about them. This isn’t a tiresome retread, but a film of beauty that manages to capture your senses and heart. Franco Nero shines as Francisco’s wealthy father, a man who doesn’t understand his son’s political views. This direct-to-video (it sat on a shelf for several years) effort hits its mark. (Miramax)


Director Todd Haynes takes a nostalgic look back at the glittery world of glam rock with this thinly veiled semi-biography of the early career of David Bowie. Of course it’s all just inference, yet there’s a feeling of familiarity that rings through this engaging effort. Christian Bale (so grown up since “Empire of the Sun”) stars as a British newspaper reporter in 1984 investigating the rise and fall of glam rock star Brian Slade (Rhys Meyers) in the 1970’s. There’s a real sense of time and place as the film explores a culture that actually left its imprint on the world. Anyone who lived through the 1970’s will recognize and actually embrace the characters in this film, leaders who took a vision and turned it into a lifestyle. Ewan McGregor co-stars as Curt Wild, an Iggy Pop stand-in who shared a tenuous relationship with Slade. Great soundtrack, believable performances and strong direction distinguish this little seen gem that deserves a much bigger audience on video. (Miramax)

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