Since 2004, I’ve been kicking myself for not going to see TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE (Trey Parker, U.S., 2004) in the cinema when it came out. The attention to detail and the craftsmanship of the art direction in this $30 million marionette film is so very fine with a tremendous sense of humor that it really needs to be seen on a big screen.
And so this Independence Day weekend, I asked Cinema 21 if we could have a late night screening to kick off the holiday weekend and they obliged!
TEAM AMERICA was ranked by the 2004 Film Comment Film Critics’ Poll as one of the best films of 2004 and despite its references to Bush Era politics, the film’s vitriolic attack on Hollywood’s love of military power while their celebrities hypocritically condone real life violence is still timely. TEAM AMERICA’s cast is without sex organs and just like a Hollywood sex scene, they boff away into the rosey dawn, neutered and unthreatening. TEAM AMERICA is a merciless attack on American ignorance, arrogance, self-righteousness and corporate funded imperialism, a buggery of the sophomoric and puerile comic book franchises, all the while theatrically self-aware of the limitations of their marionettes. In other words, TEAM AMERICA is as much a film about film as it is a political satire, which for me makes this a perfect cinema event.
J. Hoberman of Village Voice, “Team America is at once grandiose and tacky, elaborate and deflationary.”
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, “Outrageously, gut-bustingly hilarious.”
John Anderson of Newsday, “Sophomoric, vulgar, obscene and brilliant.”
Desson Thomson of Washington Post, “Wickedly funny and devilishly subversive.”
TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE plays one night only, Friday July 3rd at 11PM at Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave. This is a 21 and over show, Cinema 21 now serves beer and wine.
Another great Independence Day weekend film is THE PARALLAX VIEW (Alan J. Pakula, U.S., 1974) starring Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, Hume Cronyn and gorgeous cinematography by Gordon Willis who shot The Godfather and Annie Hall, which opened Friday at Laurelhurst Theater.
Of the three films that make up director Alan J. Pakula’s “paranoid trilogy” (Klute, All the President’s Men and THE PARALLAX VIEW), the latter most strongly conveys the paranoid atmosphere of the 1960s and ’70s. A stylish suspense-thriller, THE PARALLAX VIEW mirrors the political distrust Americans began to feel during the period following the Kennedy assassination and the Vietnam War, culminating in the Watergate conspiracy. The film stars Warren Beatty as investigative journalist Joe Frady, whose former girlfriend and colleague, Lee Carter (Paula Prentiss), witnesses the assassination of a U.S. senator at the Seattle Space Needle. A government report declares it the work of a lone gunman, but when eyewitnesses begin showing up dead, Carter is convinced that a wider conspiracy is at work. Probing deeper, Frady uncovers the operations of the Parallax Corporation, which recruits social misfits and uses mind control techniques to turn them into assassins. In keeping with classic 1970s film, the story is a suspenseful, well-acted thriller with a surprise ending that will resound with the viewer long after the credits start rolling. Plus the film brilliantly employs the use of montage. Check out this sequence from the testing room. It’s genius.
THE PARALLAX VIEW plays through the rest of the week at The Laurelhurst. Check website for showtimes.
The Hollywood Theatre is showing the most dazzling, confounding, flamboyant and operatic piece of virtuoso filmmaking you’re likely to ever see, IL DIVO (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy, 2008) which won the Prix du Jury at Cannes 2008.
For the life of me, when my best friend and I saw this at PIFF last year, we couldn’t follow it at all and we really didn’t care. It was as if we were being whisked through the history of contemporary Italian politics in a cherry red Ferrari while blaringDanse Macabre, Opus 40 by Camille Saint-Saëns with all the windows down. We had no idea where we were or what was happening, but we were giddy like school children dizzy on lemonade.
Here. Just watch the beginning of the movie. It’s only two minutes long. Watch in full screen.
And the trailer can be viewed on the official IL DIVO website HERE.
For more than 50 years, Giulio Andreotti has been Italy’s most powerful, feared and enigmatic politician. And as he begins his seventh term as Prime Minister, he and his hardliner faction take control of a country reeling from the brazen murders of several high-level bankers, judges and journalists, as well as the kidnapping and assassination of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. But as the Christian Democrat party crumbles in a nationwide bribery scandal, suspicion begins to fall on Andreotti himself as the center of a shocking conspiracy involving the Vatican, the Mafia and the secret neo-Fascist Masonic Lodge P2. In what is called The Trial Of The Century, Italy’s legendary Senator for Life will stand accused of corruption, collusion and murder. That’s the story, a true one, but go for the filmmaking. MUST SEE.
IL DIVO starts Friday at The Hollywood Theatre. Check website for showtimes.
Still playing at The Hollywood, one of the most innovative and existential thrillers you’re likely to ever see, REVANCHE (Götz Spielmann, Austria, 2008) which was nominated for Best Foreign Film last year and won countless European awards.
At once gripping and tragic of nearly Greek proportions, REVANCHE is the stunning international breakthrough debut from Austrian filmmaker Götz Spielmann. In a ragged section of Vienna, hardened ex-con Alex (the mesmerizing Johannes Krisch) works as an assistant in a brothel, where he falls for Ukrainian hooker Tamara (Irina Potapenko). Their desperate plans for escape unexpectedly intersect with the lives of a rural cop (Andreas Lust) and his seemingly content wife (Ursula Strauss). With meticulous, elegant direction, Spielmann creates a tense, surprising portrait of vengeance and redemption, and a journey into the darkest forest of human nature, in which violence and beauty exist side by side. This is one of the best films of the year.
But I hope to see many of you at the TEAM AMERICA screening. Bring lots of friends! The more the merrier! And there’s BEER too!