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Movie Reviews: Beautiful Losers, Death Note 

Also, Another Gay Sequel, Red and more

Wednesday, Aug 27 2008
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ANOTHER GAY SEQUEL: GAYS GONE WILD Previously on Another Gay Movie, Todd Stephens’ racist and pandering but almost canny response to American Pie, Nico thankfully lost his shit before almost getting it from Richard Hatch, Superman-ish Jarod gave in to Griff’s big nerd cock, and Andy sacrificed his ass cherry to two dicks at once. Flash-forward to the equally desperate Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild, which begins with a nightmare that doesn’t let up even after Nico (Jonah Blechman) wakes up. Virgins no more, the motley crew of fags (all played by different actors except for Blechman’s nelly queen) travel to Fort Lauderdale — think Fire Island as reimagined by Rainbow Brite — for a fucktastic spring break that ends with trite lessons learned about monogamy, ostracism and the sparring ways of the heart and hole. Having blown his satirical load on the first film, Stephens settles for grand-scale minstrelsy this time around, giving scant screen time to Lady Bunny and Whitney Houston — er, RuPaul — and way too much to Amanda Lepore’s tits and our community’s own Stepin Fetchit, Perez Hilton. Bigger, longer, and uncut — but only in the phallic sense — this mincing bad time is built entirely around shrill pop-culture references. But how queer am I that I knew its only funny line was taken wholesale from the great Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion? (Sunset 5) (Ed Gonzalez)

 

GO BEAUTIFUL LOSERS The ongoing trouble with docs about artists is that too few are very artfully made themselves, or else they fail to demonstrate any insight into their subjects’ impulses/goals/creative processes. Displaying artwork onscreen and interpreting it via talking-head sound bites has become the new dancing-about-architecture. Alleged gallery curator turned filmmaker Aaron Rose’s celebratory portrait of the early-’90s L.E.S. fringe artists who took part in his traveling exhibition — success stories like propaganda parodist Shepard Fairey, Thumbsucker director and visual artist Mike Mills and skateboarding prodigy turned photographer and painter Ed Templeton — makes all the aforementioned missteps. “Look how cool my dispossessed friends are!” the filmmaker seems to boast when fellow DIY-er Harmony Korine amusingly tells playground kids that his friend’s decapitated head was found where they’re playing. Rose superficially confronts the tenuously connected (or, in this case, thinly spread) group on the mainstream’s co-opting of their outsider sensibilities and the personal expressions that define their work. He, like the artists, seems uninterested in reflecting on society or culture writ large. Yet regardless of Rose’s intentions, his underachieving airiness is both entertaining and perfectly fitting for the slacker ennui of his clique’s rising years — when comic books were for nerds, skateboarding and graffiti for rebels, and none of these cats could’ve predicted the Pepsi and Marc Jacobs campaigns coming their way. (Nuart) (Aaron Hillis)

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BABYLON A.D. Hardly the utter fiasco promised by its lengthy delay and no-press dumping on Labor Day weekend, Mathieu Kassovitz’s Babylon A.D. arrives shorn of 10 minutes of its European running time, and God knows what else cut before the film ever made it into any theater. In a vague post-apocalyptic future, mercenary Toorop (Vin Diesel) hides out in Russia until mobster Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu!) hires him to smuggle Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) into the U.S. Unsurprisingly, two factions led by cult actors — Lambert Wilson as Aurora's father on one side, and the ever-freaky Charlotte Rampling as mom, a.k.a. High Priestess, the CEO of the Neolite sect, on the other — attempt to kill them along every step of their journey. What's missing here are the seeds that would explain what Kassovitz increasingly seems to be angling for in the back half: a dystopian vision of a society in which organized religion is the exclusive pretext for global corporate dominance. Without whatever strident critique Kassovitz intends, it's a typical B action movie — the inevitable pseudo-warm bonding scenes deadly, the fights largely incoherent — with the occasional pleasing set-piece. If nothing else, it's nice to see an action movie that takes Europe, not America, as its grounding point. And depicting Russia as the world's future dominant power suddenly seems oddly prescient. (Citywide) (Vadim Rizov)

 
COLLEGE Film critics never come home stinking of their honest labor, but the nearest equivalent is reviewing something like College, which leaves its stain on one’s very humanity. Three high-school bros on a college visit — a dork, a gelatinous loudmouth and a faintly sympathetic straight man with anime-character hair — run afoul of a frat marshaled by a smug Van Wilder/that-Sugar-Ray-guy amalgam who subjects the boys to Sadean hazing. (He also has the one funny line: “What the fuck do you know about welfare reform?”) And so begins a morally numbing gantlet run through mechanical decadence, surpassing even the straight-to-DVD, soul-gangbanging American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile. “Queef,” “tossed salad,” Verne Troyer, and the ol’ fist-pump, open-mouth, tongue-in-cheek blowjob pantomime are utilized just as though they were jokes (what, kids — no “donkey punch”?). The overall mood is limply obligatory, as if everyone involved had been court-ordered to make a raunchfest party flick (director Deb Hagen only tunes in during her one tracking shot). One can’t imagine there’s an actual screenplay behind this — somebody seems to think Fatty is so good you can just let him riff. Nearly justifies traveling back in time to pre-emptively kill Edison, Muybridge, and the Lumière brothers. (Selected theaters) (Nick Pinkerton)
 

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