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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

APRIL 19, 1999: 

DAY WITHOUT A MEXICAN. This mockumentary tells of what happens when all of California's Hispanics vanish at once. People wake up to find that their husbands, gardeners, baby sitters, stevedores, mechanics, doctors and business partners have disappeared without trace. Interviews and newscasts follow the story, from the man who learns that only Mexican mechanics know how to fix Japanese cars, to the woman who winds up paying $100 for a head of lettuce on the black market, to the Egyptian man who is hounded by people asking if he is Mexican. With the Internet blacked out by the loss of communications workers, one nerd notes that we have "underestimated the relation between Mexicans and downloading." By interpolating comedy with actual statistics about the importance of the Hispanic population to the economy and culture of California, Day without a Mexican educates without being didactic. It's part of the Arizona Film Festival, now playing at The Screening Room. --DiGiovanna

GO. Go see Go. No, really. I expected this sophomore effort from Swingers director Doug Liman to suck, what with its MTV-ready cast and trendy feel. But guess what? It completely fails to suck. (I hope that gets quoted on an advertisement.) The film tells the same story from three perspectives, repeatedly going back to the same event to restart itself, and each version is very successful. The first tells of a drug deal gone wrong (just once I'd like to see a movie with a drug deal gone right...I've known of quite a few real drug deals, and most of them worked out A-okay); the second is a crime farce set in Las Vegas, and the third and best is the story of two male lovers who star in a TV cop show, and wind up involved with a creepy Amway-dealing police officer and his libidinous wife (played by Ally McBeal's Jane Krakowski). The three stories intersect and the film is tied up as neatly as a Japanese bow. Featuring hot young things Sarah Polley, Katie Holmes, Jay Mohr and Scott Wolf. --DiGiovanna

THE LAST DAYS. When I saw the publicity on this film, I wondered why it'd been made. There have been more than 100 films about the Holocaust, so making another one, even a documentary, seems a questionable endeavor. Then I read a letter from Bruce A. Friedemann and I realized that there were morons out there who doubted the whole thing. Maybe this painfully affecting movie will help. It follows the stories of several Holocaust survivors, including some chilling interviews with a Nazi doctor who worked at Dachau, and provides enough incontrovertible evidence (and harrowing, effective drama) to turn a few heads. Of course, Holocaust deniers don't operate on standard rules of evidence, so this is probably not for them; but it would be effective both in educating and enlightening those whose hearts and brains are still working. --DiGiovanna

SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY. As an Italian, I'm always glad to see a gangster movie where the mobsters don't hail from my homeland. Thus, I was doubly pleased with 6 Ways To Sunday, the tale of a brutal momma's boy who rises to the top of the Youngstown, Ohio, Mafia, where gefilte fish substitutes for lasagna and the thugs say things like "having money and not flashing it is for gentiles." Norman Reedus turns in a truly weird and yet very natural performance as Harry Odum, who comes of age through killings and shakedowns. Deborah Harry is also boffo as his mom, who bathes him, cooks for him, and controls the night light in his bedroom. Some chillingly sexual mother-son sequences reminiscent of Todd Solondz's Happiness make this not your average gangster film. Also featuring scene-stealing performances by Elina Lowensöhn (best known for her work in Hal Hartley's films) and Isaac Hayes (who, beyond all reason, is now best known as the voice of "Chef" on South Park). --DiGiovanna

TWIN DRAGONS. Boy, that Jackie Chan just seems to keep getting younger, doesn't he? Oops--turns out his latest film, which ads allow you to believe is "new," was originally released in Hong Kong in 1992. Fresh (but still bad) dubbing and a slicker soundtrack can't hide the inherent sloppiness of this kooky twins-separated-at-birth story. There's a Freaky Friday zaniness to the proceedings, which play off of the psychic connection Jackie the ass-whupping mechanic has with Jackie the wimpy concert pianist. (The mechanic's fingers start to wiggle while the musician is performing; the musician lurches uncontrollably while the mechanic goes on a high-speed boat chase, etc.) The obligatory switcheroo scenes, despite involving two extremely beautiful Asian women, are done so poorly that at times they make Dead Ringers seem like a laff riot by comparison. But the real reason for any Jackie Chan movie is the acrobatic fighting, which continues to amaze--this time, the final showdown takes place in a crash-test lab. If we're lucky, someday someone will figure out how to integrate Chan's talents into a story in ways that are more satisfying than they are erratic. --Topo Gigio


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