The 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival will continue through April 20th and this marks Street's second week of extensive coverage. So, again, there are over 300 films playing in theaters across Philadelphia, so get 'em while they're still available. For complete listings, check out www.phillyfests.org.
David Duchovny is Tommy Warshaw, an American artist living in Paris who fled New York City when he turned 13 to escape the tribulations of adolescence and debilitating pain that love, loyalty and loss bring so forcefully. Most of the story is set in the weeks preceding Tommy's 13th birthday, where he and his mentally-challenged pal Pappass (Robin Williams) explore life together despite a substantial age discrepancy; but Pappass' dependency on young Tommy (played by Anton Yelchin) leads to some enormous consequences. Fast forward to the present, where on the eve of his own son's 13th birthday, Tommy is finally looking to reconcile his past with his new life. Written and directed by Duchovny, House of D is sometimes comical, other times heartwarming and still other times downright gut-wrenching, but always emotionally captivating.
-- Michelle Dubert
If you don't have the right car, you'll marry the "ugly women with warts," says Oscar, a happily dense teen in the Colombian film The Car. The comedy follows the life of an old red Chevy and the family who owns it. In the course of the car's ownership, the lives of the members of the Velez family are changed; teenagers fall in and out of love, numerous accidents occur, and a marriage is tested. However, despite their hardships, or rather because of them, the family remains closely-knit.
The film has its share of comic and moving scenes, though some of the dramatic moments seem out of place in the film. However, Orjuela ably conveys the hilarity of the life of a dysfunctional family. As long as you don't mind reading subtitles, The Car is thoroughly entertaining.
-- Jennifer Zuckerman
After winning the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, it is no surprise that Murderball is both awe-inspiring and ridiculously funny. The film depicts the quest of the American and Canadian Paralympic rugby squads on their respective roads to the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. The competitors are quick to clarify that the Paralympics are not the Special Olympics where all competitors get a pat on the back at the end of the day. Like monsters in iron-clad dreadnought wheelchairs, Murderball profiles the courage, tenacity, and will to live of individuals just as tough as any Eagles linebacker.
Cameras efficiently follow the athletes during their most intimate moments, and viewers even have the privilege of learning that yes, quadriplegics can get erections too. Murderball is a documentary you don't want to miss.
-- Stephen Morse
What do Pike's bathroom, Halloween candy and the Four Shades of Brown have in common? All are attractive on the surface but horrific on the inside. Brown follows a number of sensationalized storylines that are so meaninglessly constructed that it's hard to take the film seriously.
One storyline features three hot lesbians at a polygamist's funeral (it's a brothel party and the whores inherit a dancing hologram of their late lover), while another tours a dog crematory where a pyromaniac teenager tries to cremate his father. The film's plight completes itself with the tired third storyline, which follows a self-help group (in total seriousness, though, a giant Penn catalog cameos in the background).
Brown lacks plot, character growth and originality. The movie begs for humor and sex, but director Alfredson fails to do so. On the bright side, the flat, confusing plotlines that lack a beginning or end would be a tolerable warm-up for Fling.
-- Perrin Bailey