Quickies - Page 3

Frameline 2009: Our short, opinionated takes on several featured Frameline flicks
Training Rules

But when against the odds they're informed a native-born boy is available, a misplaced bit of bureaucratic punctuation means they get not the 18-month-old toddler expected but 15-year-old Patrik (Tom Ljungman). He's a foul-tempered foster home veteran who makes it clear he's no happier cohabiting with two "homos" than they are with him. Nevertheless, they're stuck with each other at least through the weekend, allowing a predictable mutual warming trend to course through Ella Lemhagen's agreeable seriocomedy. While formulaic in concept, the film's low-key charm and conviction earn emotions that might easily have felt sitcomishly pre-programmed. (Harvey) 7 p.m., Castro


Prodigal Sons (Kimberly Reed, USA, 2008) When Kimberly Reed (who studied film at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University) set out to make Prodigal Sons, she was probably pretty certain the doc would be deliberately self-focused. The film's first act takes place in Helena, Mont., at Reed's 20-year high school reunion — amid former classmates who remember Kimberly Reed as Paul McKerrow, a football star who was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" (and, indeed, a success she has been; though she alludes to a difficult period during her transition, she's clearly arrived at a happy and confident place in life). But Prodigal Sons is plural for a reason, and not because of brother Todd (who happens to be gay). Instead, it's adopted brother Marc — who is given to terrifying rages as a result of a personality-altering brain injury; remains eternally resentful of Kimberly's high school-era smarts and popularity; and (as is shockingly discovered) the grandchild of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth — who becomes Prodigal Sons' focus. He is the most heartbreaking figure in an intimately personal (sometimes uncomfortably so) film that's ultimately about identities lost and found. (Eddy) 7:30 p.m., Castro


Off and Running (Nicole Opper, USA, 2009) Teenager Avery, an African American, was adopted as an infant by a single white mom, who soon afterward meets another single white mom who had recently adopted an African American baby boy. Before long, a family (nicknamed "the United Nations," especially after a Korean child joins the mix) was formed. A track star who dreams of running in college, Avery loves her moms, but she's curious about her biological parents. She knows she's from Texas and was originally called Mycole Antwonisha, facts that hint at a cultural experience far removed from her upbringing as a Brooklyn Jew. After a few letters are exchanged with her birth mother, Avery is crushed when the woman mysteriously ends communication. A profound identity crisis ensues. "It's like something really traumatic happened to her, and nothing did," Avery's caring if clueless adoptive mother says. But Off and Running suggests otherwise. The doc may not speak for every adopted child's experience, but it's eye-opening nonetheless, and is blessed with a subject who is sensitive and articulate even in her darkest moments. (Eddy) 2:15 p.m., Roxie

Pop Star on Ice (David Barba and James Pellerito, USA, 2009) Yay, Johnny Weir! If you don't share my sentiments about the sassy, sparkly, outspoken (but not on-the-record out) figure skater, then you might want to skip this documentary, which was filmed over a two-year period and offers an up-close-and-personal (like, you see him in a tanning bed) look at the three-time national champ. Or maybe not, actually — haters might come around after realizing how hard he's worked to achieve his ice-rink dreams, born after watching Oksana Baiul win Olympic gold on TV and learning to skate (at the ancient age of 12) on the frozen-over cornfield in his Pennsylvania backyard.

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