Film Reviews

World of Film

Page 5 of 7

Wednesday, April 17
BOCA A BOCA (MOUTH TO MOUTH) (Spain, 5 p.m.) The second of WorldFest's quartet of Spanish films, this might be seen as Girl 6 from the other side of the gender tracks. Like Spike Lee's latest, this follows the travails of an aspiring actor who ends up a phone sex operator. Only this actor/operator is male. And this is supposed to be more funny than tragic. (Not Reviewed)

PASSOVER FEVER (Israel, 5 p.m.) A wry, and often hilarious, look at one Israeli family's holiday get-together, Passover Fever has been compared to the better films of Woody Allen in its mixing of comedy and wisdom. (Not Reviewed)

BLACK DAY, BLUE NIGHT (U.S.A., 7 p.m.) Mia Sara, Michelle Forbes and dependable J.T. Walsh co-star in a neo-noir thriller about two women drawn to a handsome drifter (Gil Bellows), who may be a killer. Writer/director J.S. Cardone is no stranger to WorldFest: he earned a gold award for best independent feature film at 1991's festival with another thriller, A Climate for Killing. (Not Reviewed)

HARVEST HOME (Philippines, 7 p.m.) The great thing about film festivals is that people get a chance to see epic-length Philippine movies about family violence, which are a refreshing alternative to epic-length American made-for-TV movies about family violence. In this rich soap opera, the key players are women, and the setting is the old homestead. One sister went to Manila, was educated and married a rich man; the other sister got the farm, and the man the city-sister left behind. The sisters try to make peace with the past, and their melodramatic confrontations and confessions are lurid and emotionally satisfying. Harvest Home was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar in this year's Academy Awards. (Edith Sorenson)

ANIMIA DE CARINO (TENDERNESS ANEMIA) (Spain, 9:30 p.m.) Writer/director Carmelo Espinosa has already earned reams of good press and quite a few awards for this film. A young boy, Turkin, makes an effort to come of age and to find love and happiness, despite a rather odd upbringing. His father has odd ideas about sex education. He tells his son, "We, by heredity, have lost the sense of touch. It's because of this that it's better for you to get involved with women when you are an adult, when you begin to get wrinkles. Perhaps I seem old-fashioned, but that's how I feel about it." Raised by this rule, Turkin turns to a company, Anemia of Affection, that delivers friendship for cash. (Not Reviewed)

KILLER: A JOURNAL OF MURDER (U.S.A., 9:30 p.m.) It's tempting to re-title this one Dead Man Ranting, but that really wouldn't be fair. James Woods is surprisingly subdued, and terrifyingly effective, as Carl Panzram, a career criminal (and self-proclaimed serial killer) who's condemned to death for murdering a sadistic prison guard. This fact-based drama, set in 1929, focuses on the relationship between Panzram and a more enlightened guard, Henry Lesser (Robert Sean Leonard), who spent decades seeking a publisher for Panzram's harrowing autobiography. But Leonard is unbelievably callow as the killer's compassionate confidant, and the movie as a whole is blandly prosaic. The main reason to see Killer is Woods' fearless performance as a man who declared war on the society that shaped him, and lost. (Joe Leydon)

Thursday, April 18
ANIMIA DE CARINO (TENDERNESS ANEMIA) (Spain, 5 p.m.) See listing for Wednesday, April 17, 9:30 p.m.

THE MICHELLE APARTMENTS (Canada, 5 p.m.) Henry Czerny plays a government tax auditor who's drawn into financial and sexual intrigue while investigating improprieties at a chemical company headquarters. The company, Turnbull Chemicals, has an interesting slogan: "We make the food you eat look better." (Not Reviewed)

NUEBA YOL (Dominican Republic, 7 p.m.) A recently widowed man decides to follow his somewhat shady buddy from Santo Domingo to Nueba Yol (Dominican slang for New York). The newly arrived immigrant (Luisito Marti) runs into a gaudy Dominican drug dealer and learns the hard way that the streets of New York aren't necessarily paved with gold. (Not Reviewed)

MUSULMANIN (Russia, 7 p.m.) A solemn film about a young soldier's religious conversion -- while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, he becomes a Muslim -- and how this affects his life when he returns to his Russian home. The disparity between spirituality and ugly reality is explored. (Not Reviewed)

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Joe Leydon