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Some intriguing flicks for the weekend

Posted at 3:01 PM on May 18, 2007 by Euan Kerr

If you can't stand the prospect of Mike Meyers squishing his way through his bad Scots accent in "Shrek the III" (how much money has he made over the years from mocking my people?) some other possibilities for Twin Cities film heads.

The Great Match You don't have to be a soccer fan to enjoy the silliness of "The Great Match" which chronicles the fanaticism of people in Mongolia, Niger, and the Amazonian jungle as they desperately find a way to watch the World Cup final. There's a gentle humor that runs through the film which also hints at the larger problems in each part of the world (the conflict between Russian and China, rainforest destruction, and tribal conflict in Africa.) It's well worth a look.

Jindabyne An Australian take on a Raymond Carver short story "Jindabyne" portrays what happens when a group of anglers fishing a remote river find the body of a woman floating in the water. Rather than hike out immediately to get the police, they stay and fish, reasoning she's beyond help.

They are stunned at the fury of the people of their hometown, Jindabyne, when they learn what they did. To make things worse the woman, who has been murdered, is an Aborigine, which unleashes racial tensions which the community has endeavored to ignore. The conflict roils through the community and through the families of the anglers themselves.

Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney turn in great performances as Stewart and Claire Kane who end up at the center of the turmoil.

It's Stewart who finds the body and who suggests the men stay and fish.

It's Claire who desperately tries to discover why the man she loves could do such a thing, and what it means to her own family. She also sees what it's doing to Jindabyne, and tries desperately to patch things up, only to be rebuffed on all sides.

The "Jindabyne" screenwriters have added a great deal to the original Carver story, perhaps too much. However by matching Linney and Byrne they create compelling characters who carry a tragic and thought-provoking story well.

Fay Grim This is a real head-scratcher of a film.

About 30 minutes from the end my beloved turned to me and said, "I don't want to watch this any more, but I want to know how it ends."

"Fay Grim" is director Hal Hartley's follow-up to his 1997 film "Henry Fool" That was a film about how a down-and-out failed novelist mentors Simon Grim, a trash-hauler who becomes a nationally lauded poet. Henry marries Simon's sister Fay, but then gets in trouble with the law. Simon helps him escape to Europe.

"Fay Grim" picks up 10 years later with Fay (Parker Posey) living as a single mom in New York, and Simon still serving a prison sentence for his part in Henry's departure. Fay doesn't know where Henry is hiding, nor does she want to find out.

The story takes off in a bizarre direction when it becomes clear that several international spy agencies are trying to find the notebooks containing Henry's unpublished novel. It was unpublished because everyone thought it was terrible, but clearly the notebooks contain something very valuable. Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows pop in an out of the story and it all gets quite silly and confusing.

I was more engaged than my beloved, but as the film progressed, I found myself more wanting to see "Henry Fool" than find out what happens to Fay Grim. It wasn't because I wanted to see how the story had started, but more how director Hal Hartley could draw the "Faye Grim" spy spoof from the trashman turned poet scenario. It's was a wierd sensation.

May 2007
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