- This Week
10.13.09 - 7:02 pm |
*An Education See "Culture Class." (1:35) Albany, Embarcadero.
The Horse Boy Rupert Isaacson and Kristin Neff are a Texas couple struggling to raise their five-year-old autistic son Rowan. When they discover that the boy's tantrums are soothed by contact with horses, they set out on a journey to Mongolia, where horseback riding is the preferred mode of traveling across the steppe and sacred shamans hold the promise of healing. Michael Orion Scott's documentary is many things lecture on autism, home video collage, family therapy session, and exotic travelogue. Above all, unfortunately, it's a star vehicle for Isaacson, whose affecting concern for his son is constantly eclipsed by his screen-hogging concern for his own paternal image (more than once he declares that he's a better father thanks to Rowan's condition). The contradiction brings to mind doomed activist Timothy Treadwell in Grizzly Man (2005), and indeed the film could have used some of Werner Herzog's inquisitive touch, if only to question the artistic merits of showing your son going "poopie." Twice. (1:33) Embarcadero, Shattuck. (Croce)
Law Abiding Citizen "Spike Lee's Inside Man (2006) as re-imagined by the Saw franchise folks" apparently sounded like a sweet pitch to someone, because here we are, stuck with Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler playing bloody and increasingly ludicrous cat-and-mouse games. Foxx stars as a slick Philadelphia prosecutor whose deal-cutting careerist ways go easy on the scummy criminals responsible for murdering the wife and daughter of a local inventor (Butler). Cut to a decade later, and the doleful widower has become a vengeful mastermind with a yen for Hannibal Lecter-like skills, gruesome contraptions, and lines like "Lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten." Butler metes out punishment to his family's killers as well as to the bureocratic minions who let them off the hook. But the talk of moral consequences is less a critique of a faulty judicial system than mere white noise, vainly used by director F. Gary Gray and writer Kurt Wimmer in hopes of classing up a grinding exploitation drama. (1:48) Presidio. (Croce)
*More Than a Game In the late 1990s, armed with a camera and a certain amount of tenacity, Kristopher Belman set out to capture the glory that was regularly manifesting itself on a certain Akron, Ohio basketball court. The main reason: a future superstar named LeBron James. But James' remarkable teenage career (at least until the age of 18, when the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School grad became the number one NBA draft pick) wasn't completely a solo act; his core group of friends, the team's starting line-up, was so tight they were called "the Fab Five." Despite Belman's determination to equally divide the spotlight, James was clearly a star then as he is now, slam-dunking on hapless opponents even as he grappled with his burgeoning celebrity status. I'll never tire of the tale of how James raised eyebrows when he started driving a brand-new Hummer -- only to quash whispers of misconduct when it was revealed that his mother, Gloria, was able to secure a loan for the gift based solely on the understanding (shared by all) that her son's skills would make him a zillionaire before his next birthday. (1:45) (Eddy)
New York, I Love You A variety of filmmakers (including Fatih Akin, Shekhar Kapur, Mira Nair, and Brett Ratner) directed segments of this stateside answer to 2006's Paris, je t'aime. (1:43) Bridge, Shattuck.
The Providence Effect Located in Chicago's gang-infested West side, the illustrious Providence St. Mel School rises above its surroundings like a flower in a swamp. Or at least it does in Rollin Binzer's documentary, where analysis of the institution's great achievements at times edges into a virtual pamphlet for enrollment.
Most Commented On
- wine bars - December 21, 2013
- "That's how the shuttles came - December 21, 2013
- Amen! - December 21, 2013
- God forbid that people have - December 21, 2013
- You can't seriously be so - December 21, 2013
- Nonsensical statement tying in disparate issues - December 21, 2013
- Excellent idea, since these - December 21, 2013
- The revolution won't be a tea party - December 21, 2013
- Just like you guys all think a few casualties are a small price - December 21, 2013
- Regarding the broken window - December 21, 2013