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  WINDY CITY TIMES

MovieMaven
by Gregg Shapiro
2004-04-28

This article shared 1447 times since Wed Apr 28, 2004
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Limited runs and special events:

— Adler Planetarium – (312) 322-0548: SonicVision – Open-ended run

— Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W Fullerton, (800) 532-2387: AKA – Described as a 'sensational autobiographical story of class envy and the search for identity,' gay director and writer Duncan Roy's AKA asks and answers the question, 'What does a man own, but his name?' As daring and unapologetic as Dean Page (Matthew Leitch) the man (AKA director Roy) on whom the movie is based. The film's split-screen device used to good affect to convey multiple views of a story, as well as Dean's multiple identities. Raised in a working-class British household by an abusive father and an abused mother, Dean is thrown out as a teen, in 1978, for being different, but is crafty and resourceful enough to land himself a place among the aristocracy he has long admired from a distance. After being picked up by a middle-aged gay man and wined and dined with his flamboyant friends, Dean ingratiates himself to Lady Gryffoyn (Diana Quick), but that relationship is short-lived when her snobby son Alexander (Blake Ritson) demands that his mother abandon the interloper. When it seems that all is lost, Dean meets Benjamin (Peter Youngblood Hills) a young, American hustler, who convinces him to go to Paris. While there, Dean, who has taken on the identity of Alexander Gryffoyn, becomes entangled in a romantic triangle with Benjamin and his wealthy British sponsor David (George Asprey). Dean probably would have been able to maintain his charade had he not been tracked down by credit card company detective Lyttleton (Sean Gilder), who was monitoring Dean's mis-spending habits. AKA is both challenging and rewarding. (A-) – Apr. 30 – May 6

— Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State Street, (312) 846-2800: A Day On The Force – Apr. 30, May 2; Memento Mori – May 15, 20

— Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, (773) 871-6604: Midnight movies: Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Apr. 30, May 1

— Northwestern University Block Cinema, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, (847) 491-4000: Schedule highlights include - To Have and Have Not - May 5; Persona - May 25; Panic - May 28

In theaters:

Mean Girls (Paramount) – Home-schooled by her parents (Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn) until the age of 16, Cady (Lindsay Lohan, in a career-redeeming performance) enrolls at North Shore High School as a junior and is totally unprepared for what lies ahead. Math wiz Cady catches the eye of teacher Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey, who wrote the screenplay based on Rosalind Wiseman's novel Queen Bees and Wannabes), who foresees great things for the new transfer student. Cady also strikes up a friendship with student outcasts Janis (Lizzy Caplan), who is straight, but rumored to be a lesbian, and out Damian (Daniel Franzese), who is 'almost too gay to function.' Cady is also spotted by the 'Plastics,' a trio of evil girls who make everyone's lives a living high school hell. Led by Regina (Rachel McAdams) and including Gretchen (Lacy Chabert) and Karen (Amanda Seyfried), the 'Plastics' snag Cady, declare her a 'regulation hottie' and invite her to join their clique. She does so, but at the same time, reports back to Janis and Damian, who team up with Cady to plot the downfall of the 'Plastics.' In the meantime, Cady falls hopelessly in love with classmate Aaron (Jonathan Bennett). Equal parts Heathers, Clueless, Election and any John Hughes adolescent flick, Mean Girls takes the high school comedy to the next level by balancing multiple levels of humor. Fey's extended SNL family, including Amy Poehler as Regina's mother and Tim Meadows as school Principal Mr. Duvall, also pitch in to give Mean Girls meaning. (B+)

Shade – After being introduced to 'the cooler' in the acclaimed 2003 gambling movie of the same name, we meet 'the steer' and 'the mechanic,' among other shady characters in this drama about card players, high-stakes betting and double crosses. Vernon (Stuart Townsend, last seen in February 2003 on the arm of Oscar-winner Charlize Theron at the Oscars), re-teams with fellow grifters and hustlers Charlie (Gabriel Byrne) and Tiffany (Thandie Newton) to try to pull one over on retiring card legend Dean (Sylvester Stallone). As you might expect, Dean isn't the only one being played. Scenery chewers Byrne and Hal Holbrook (as one-time Vernon mentor The Professor) get some competition from Bo Hopkins (as crooked vice cop Scarne), and Melanie Griffith delivers a surprisingly restrained performance as Dean's former love interest restaurateur Eve. As gambling movies go, this one is a tad sluggish, and had me eager to fold my hand more than a few times. (C-)

On DVD:

Cold Creek Manor (Touchstone Home Entertainment): Longtime friend of the LGBT community Sharon Stone and newly minted friend of the community Dennis Quaid play husband and wife Leah and Cooper Tilson. She's a big-time executive and he's a documentary filmmaker living in NYC with their children Jesse (Ryan Wilson) and Kristen (Kristen Stewart). After Jesses nearly loses his life after being hit by a car, the Tilson's decide to leave the city for the friendlier confines of the country. They select not-quite-abandoned Cold Creek Manor in the town of Bellingham, a foreclosure that they get for a song. Shortly after settling in they are visited by Dale Massie (Stephen Dorff sporting a porn-star body), the just-released-from-prison former owner of the house. The Tilsons hire him to help with the restoration of the house. Not surprisingly, since being 'left' by his wife and two kids, he gets 'involved' with Ruby (a typecast Juliette Lewis), who lives in a trailer and pumps gas, slings hash and pours drinks. Threatened by his sexual energy and his questionable past, Copper fires him and that's when the frightening fun begins. Daughter Kristen's horse ends up floating dead in the swimming pool. Dale's abusive nursing home-bound father (a scenery and chocolate cherry chewing Christopher Plummer) is smothered. As with some movies in this genre, the suspenseful build-up comes to a disappointing end, and sadly, such is the case with Cold Creek Manor. The DVD special features includes deleted scenes, 'Cooper's Documentary,' and a bonus alternate ending, to mention a few. (C)

Duplex (Miramax Home Entertainment)—WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS IMPORTANT PLOT DETAILS. As one of the few people who liked Death To Smoochy, I was looking forward to Danny DeVito's latest directorial effort and was, for the most part, not disappointed. Duplex is a Farrelly Brothers-like comedy starring Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore as husband and wife Alex and Nancy. Real estate agent Kenneth (Harvey Fierstein) sells the Manhattan marrieds a Brooklyn duplex, the only thing within their price range, with a catch. Mrs. Connolly (Eileen Essel), the little old lady who lives upstairs in an $88-a-month rent-controlled apartment is a big old pain in the ass. She is very demanding of them during daylight hours and then keeps them awake with loud TV viewing all night. At wits' end, the couple wracks their brains to come up with a plan to get the old lady out. The resilient senior citizen proves to be too much for them. The big, gay surprise ending comes in the form of Kenneth being Mrs. Connolly's son and a police officer is Kenneth's lover. Funny and fast-paced. The DVD set comes with both widescreen and full-screen discs. (C+)

On TV:

here! Pay-Per-View – showing in Apr.: The Trip; Under One Roof; Coming Out Party

HBO – Elaine Stritch at Liberty – May 29


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